cursiveA short while ago, Ellen Jovin, who writes the fantastic blog “Words and Worlds of New York”, posted on Facebook that she was taught cursive when she was a girl in school, but doesn’t use it much any more, and she was wondering if others have found the same thing to be true.

For those who don’t know, cursive writing is when the letters of a word are written in one continuous stroke, with the all of them leaning either left or right. This gives the writing a more formal and fancy appearance while also being a faster way to write. The most common time we write this way is when signing our signature on a document.

I was also taught how to write in cursive, but have found that in the modern age of computers, in which most people use keyboards and send electronic mail rather than handwritten letters, cursive writing is generally no longer used, except as was mentioned in signing documents or creating fancy communications like wedding invitations.

This isn’t a huge loss. I can still write in “print”, which is just my normal messy writing using non-linked, straight-up letters. However, for some writing systems, this can be a bigger problem.

The Chinese writing system involves precise strokes in creating complex characters, and writing this calligraphy is considered an art form in itself.

BBC news has a complete article and video on how children in China are forgetting how to write, and what is being done to reverse this trend.

When Chinese children forget how to write
Celia Hatton By Celia Hatton BBC News, Beijing

How important is maintaining a certain writing style in your language, either your native one or one you have learned or are learning? Do you consider this of importance, or just something that happens and can’t be helped?