Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On the Brink: Cursive

The last time I had to write in cursive per teachers request was in 8th grade, when my social studies teacher made us write a complete essay in those graceful loops and letters. I remember groaning at this assignment along with many of my peers.

Since then, I thought I escaped the writers cramp of writing an essay by hand in perfectly flowing letters, until I was applying for a job in the Sherwood school district and they required applicants to write a paragraph in cursive explaining why they want the job. After not writing in such a fashion for over six years, I gave my pathetic attempt. My writing looked awful!

But apparently I am not alone, writes the Oregonian. Cursive is on the brink of extinction. It is an endangered form of writing that is reserved for calligraphy specialists and crafty people. Handwriting as a whole is being replaced with typing and texting.

I'm not complaining with this shift. Typing is much easier on my fingers, and is much more legible.

But of course, there is a cost. Because I mainly type, my handwriting is horrible. And I'm not alone. Only 15% of handwritten SAT essays in 2006 were written in cursive. The rest printed. As you can guess, I was among the masses who printed.

Officials are concerned:

"What most concerns.. is the loss of the aesthetic qualities of handwriting with its descent into cold print. Cursive writing in its flourishes and graceful strokes expresses an artistic beauty that goes beyond its utility and gives artistic experience to those who use it, he says. Students today "are not doing this kind of craftsmanship activity that they used to do on a daily basis."

Apparently we are losing something when we aren't writing in cursive. But technology is give and take. You gain some, you lose some.

What do you think - how much of a problem do you think it is that not many people are writing in cursive? Should we try to preserve cursive? Do you write in cursive? Why or why not?

1 comment:

Anna said...

I am completely ok with not preserving cursive. I'm not sure I really buy the "it's more beautiful" line of thinking; there's some computer fonts that I like the look of a good bit better than cursive, for example. But maybe I'm just a utilitarian at heart; I find even neatly-written cursive to be less legible than reasonably-neat print. And legibility is important, since the whole point of writing words is to convey the thoughts, and you can't do that if someone can't read your writing.

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