Cursive: Is it really that important?

thick pencil lettering

NPR recently did a report about the value of cursive in child’s brain development. By their best calculations, all fine motor skill activities are valuable to brain development, be it printing, cursive or keyboarding. But the best option is for kids to be doing all sorts of fine motor activities.

This story, however,  does not address the issue of legibility, speed of writing or not writing like a 6-year-old when you’re forty.

Opinions?

(via NPR.org)

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  1. I guess I am part of a generation that will soon be gone, but cursive writing was part of my school curriculum every day for 5 years. It was emphasized that handwriting, legible handwriting, had other intrinsic meanings besides being a way to communicate. It indicated that you were educated, and that you had the ability to express ideas and feelings not only with your words, but with the expressiveness of your unique writing style. Looking at a letter handwritten in cursive, I knew immediately whose hand had written it. By examining the letter more closely I could tell whether it was written at leisure, in a hurry, contained the mundane or the tragic, just by how the letters and words were formed. What a horrible loss to the human race if we lose this ability in our communications. We will have no real legacy to pass on to future generations other than staid, typed letter forms that say nothing about our uniqueness as people.
    The reality of this inability to not only write in cursive but to read it, struck me when the young woman on the witness stand in court looked at a note, written in cursive, and admitted that she could not read it, as if it were in a foreign language. How sad.

  2. I write in cursive whenever I need to write something quickly, and it’s my preferred method of handwriting. That said, when it needs to be read by someone else I only ever print, because I know my cursive is not the most legible, and I have difficulty slowing down enough to make it so.

  3. Cursive is also my preferred method of handwriting. I find all forms of handwriting important in brain development, as well as, a growth of imagination and identity.

  4. As a volunteer in our local elementary school I developed several contests to get the children excited in a classroom environment. In one, I believe fourth grade class I asked the students to write their answers in cursive. Even the printed answers were almost illegible. This is in a well run school that emphasizes computer skills. We are raising a generation that will have limited small motor skills, which translates to a lack of skilled craftspeople. How will we “build” a nation with people who have pathetic eye hand co-ordination? Simply put we are eliminating one of the needed educational building blocks.

  5. I resent the idea that only six-year-olds print. Designers and engineers print, because cursive looks just as silly to us as printing looks to you. There are entire classes on how to print well.

    1. I did not mean to suggest that all printing looks like 6-year-old penmanship. Architects are taught a beautiful hand. I simply meant that if schools stop teaching penmanship at the stage students would learn cursive and then go to typing only, all penmanship will suffer.

  6. I would bet other nations are not considering this,but I don’t know for sure. Who is deciding this? I think cursive should be taught, we were taught how though the beauty in it was not worried about. My own is not that great, even when I try to write slower, my brain speed almost always takes over. Are parents saying this is OK to teachers & administrators? I have no children so I am off the grid on this one.

    1. In the dozen or so articles that I have read there are a few parents who have lodged protests with local and even their state school boards. A few more have made the decision to teach their children the skill themselves. However, the majority of the parents who are in their twenties and maybe early thirties, either are not aware, are aware and don’t care (they were taught that keyboarding was replacing writing regardless) or are aware it is displaced from the core curriculum but do not realize they have a voice in these decisions. Between the lack of handwriting skills, no ability to spell, and maybe worse yet, using text syntax in formal documents and letters, I am afraid our language, both verbal and written, is disappearing.

    2. As a child in the UK in the fifties I was first taught to print. Ant attempt to speed up the writing by joining letters was punished by having to rewrite the whole thing. The next phase was joined up writing. Now any breaks between letters were punished even when the ligatures were unnatural. There were no special cursive letters. At 11 I went to grammar school and handwriting lessons ended. Bad spelling lost marks in whatever subject and teachers assumed illegible meant misspelled. My handwriting then was joined up with unjoined letters when it was uncomfortable to join them. It’s now called modern cursive and it’s what most kids in this country learn as “handwriting”. The problem you seem to be having in the US is that “cursive” has come to mean a special handwriting not as was originally intended a way of making ordinary writing flow (cursive) so that it is possible to write quickly and legibly. Early discipline was meant to forge that habit so that joined letters didn’t degenerate into a wiggly line. I have a feeling that keyboarding won’t last. It will give way to voice recognition software and future generations will be readers without learning to write at all.

    3. Yes, other nations are absolutely considering this. Canada is replacing cursive the same way the US is, and I’m sure many other countries are as well.

      What people fail to see with their condescending attitude toward the younger generation, is that computer skills are FAR more important than nice handwriting is for their generation. Even for those of us old enough to write in cursive, it is not imperative. For someone going into the job market 15 years from now (even today, really) if you are not completely computer literate, you are not going to get a job. Period. How much handwriting do you think will be necessary in 15 years?

      I wish they would make room for cursive in the curriculum, but if it is important to parents they can easily teach their children at home.

  7. I don’t need to buy into the neurological arguments for continuing cursive in schools. I don’t need a scientific study to sway my mind when it comes to this. I see cursive handwriting as a traditional part of education that should not even require defense. It certainly has seen much less use in lots of kids everyday life, but I would like to see it continued to be taught merely for tradition’s sake. I’m good with that.

    1. So with limited time each day and competing priorities, we should teach something for the sake of tradition? I want my child to gain skills that are usable in the real world.

      1. There are many things that are taught for the sake of tradition, and many come to mind- math for instance. Is there really any reason to learn how to add, subtract, multiply or divide when we have devices that can do all of that and more? Is the ability to do math in your head a “real life skill”? I don’t think that there has been deep thinking involved in the ramifications of your children and my grandchildren not learning to use and read handwriting. Take a look around the next time you attend a meeting, whether at work, church or the community and see how many have come prepared to take notes. If they have, what are they carrying? A smart phone, laptop or tablet device? Or more likely, nothing at all, depending upon their “listening skills” to absorb and understand information and possible assignments. If they do take notes are they using cursive because it is faster and they can capture more information, or printing, because that’s all they know how to use.
        If you don’t teach cursive writing how would you expect to read it? In “real life” family histories are recorded on paper and usually in cursive handwriting. If these things are not important to you or your children, then it won’t matter.
        You are absolutely correct in that there is limited time each day and priorities that someone else determines than to teach what many consider antiquated communication modes. However, leaving it to the schools to be the arbitrator of what is considered to be important to the individual is dangerous. My daughter, who is a single parent with limited time, is teaching my granddaughter cursive writing at home. Why? When she realized that 3 generations of her family had daily written journals of their lives (all written in cursive , by the way) it was important that her daughter would be able to read them and know about people she has never met but are part of her heritage. Reasons enough to just be a tradition, whether in school or athome.

  8. Beyond the fine motor skills and the generation that will need to pay a trained historian to read family documents, I feel that this is another example of gentility eroding. Sigh.

  9. The removal of Cursive Handwriting from the U.S. public school curriculum is being pursued with religious-like intensity. I do not understand why this is happening; but it is happening. Maybe it has something to do with separating our society into those who are young and ideologically indoctrinated, and those who are older and critocally independent.

  10. As much as I love and value longhand, if I am to be entirely objective, I have to say it isn’t that big a deal to me whether schools teach cursive. There are too many other things that need fixed first. In my job, I see a lot of college writing. It’s horrible. Too many college students write poorly. Perhaps this is more a regional problem. Either way, worrying about teaching kids cursive is like arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  11. I don’t think anyone is suggesting cursive will be required for future jobs. I think what many are concerned about, as am I, is that it can be a very personal and effective way of communicating or touching other people and we hate to see it go to such a minimal use in our culture. We will all do what we can or what we must. For me, at the next family holiday, I am going to discuss it with my 28, 24, and 14 year old nieces and exchange points of view. Interesting that I have been doing a handwritten journal for my 6 month old grandniece and not concerned that she will not be able to read it. Really do not think she will not know cursive. I really have appreciated the conversation here.

  12. My wife and I have had discussed this many times now that our two sons are coming up to the age where we once learned to write in cursive. We are both very discouraged by the fact that penmanship is not being taught. The focus the school takes is to do well on assessment tests, period. The entire curriculum is focused on these assessments. Our eldest was taught sight words from K-1st grades, now in the second grade the school has gone back to phonics. We had been teaching phonics at home and so he was familiar with the subject and has had no problems but, some of his peers struggle. The schools are more worried about status. The individual is not a thought, it is the reputation. Not much different than the Romans before the Empire fell…though I’m sure neither of my children will be taught the Roman Empire in any detail, just as they won’t learn to write in cursive…unless they learn at home.

  13. For anyone who went to elementary school in the 21st century you’ll realize this is a moot point. Counting myself among that generation, I can tell you that I was taught cursive (at a good school) but no one cared about it. Think about how many young people care about fountain pens. This generation (and previous one if you think about it) have moved on.

    I have to be honest, I don’t think that’s the end of the world. Frankly, 95% of the time, the cursive I encounter, written by people much more versed and practiced in its use than myself, is near illegible. As far as not developing penmanship or fine motor skill, that’s a load of baloney. I thoroughly enjoy reading a well printed page and learn just as much about an individuals style. If you think that learning cursive is essential to kids developing fine motor skills… well, you can have that opinion if you want but it’s baseless and wrong. There are still young people learning and working in all the trades of the past, who would laugh at the idea that their ignorance of cursive was a detriment to their performance.

    I think a more interesting question would be, why spend time on cursive? Is learning cursive more useful than learning about other topics? I think we’d definitely see a greater benefit to devoting a few hours a week to current events, science (Cosmos anyone?), or anything else over a defunct writing style that no longer has a practical relevance.

    Hopefully this is taken as an opinion, by one person, with the intention of adding to the conversation.

    1. I love all the conversation this article has created and I appreciate your addition to the conversation.

      I love how script writing connects me to the past. I also think learning to make lots of different letterforms, be they print or script can be a gateway for other creative activities from poetry to painting.

      But, I also see that it is much more important to teach children to think, engage them in learning about the world and so many other topics.

      I think it would be interesting to ask children if they want to learn to write in cursive. Could it be an after-school activity if it appeals to them?

  14. My question is how will we sign our signature on important documents with out the skill of cursive? Although most things are on computers now there are still instances where we need to write our signature. And then how will we distinguish between people’s handwriting for purposes of fraud without the originality of cursive? I am young and have always been taught computer skills, but I still see that cursive skill to know. I decided to teach my daughter on my own.

  15. the truth is that this should have bean done a long time ago. cursive is 100% pointless nowadays. a case can be made that it was always pointless, but it has lost what little purpose it may have had. before moving along let me make something clear, I think people should be allowed to do pointless things, but ABSOLUTLY NEVER REQUIRED TO. my objection is Soley to mandating cursive instruction, cursive as a 100% voluntary elective is something I have no problem whatsoever with. Cursive has no purpose in modern life; and it is painful, difficult, slow, illegible and ugly; and also seems pompous. let me explain my opinion and the many facts backing this up.

    cursive is no more relevant than Latin (and much less interesting too), and it amounts to the inflection of severe pain on many people. I have had an actual root canal, and it hurt significantly less then writing cursive. just to provide a disclaimer on this, any perceived attack on cursive is meant to hurt mandatory cursive, not cursive per say.

    CURSIVE SHOULD BE AN ELECTIVE ONLY. there are just not enough good reasons for it to be compulsory, but there more then enough for it to be offered, on the understanding and acceptance of the fact that many people will say no, but the interested will say yes. of course, I am a believer in the principle of a society that values freedom, so my default position on everything is that people are allowed to do something if they want to, but under no circumstance should they be mandated to do it; I require significant evidence to sway from that position, indeed if that is not how you are, there is no place for you in a society that values freedom. but anyway, Cursive has no role in modern life, and by the time anyone who is in school now is old enough to be employed, it will have even less of one

    my arguments against cursive include:

    I. cursive takes forever to master, and some never will no matter hard they try

    II. cursive is impossible to write good enough (and I define something as being written ‘good enough’ when it has been written correctly point where the letters are recognizable, though written imperfectly), cursive has to be perfected before it can be written legibly even to those who can read it, bad cursive may as well be doodles, and many people will never get good at cursive

    III. some cursive letters look so different from what people see in books, on the internet, or in handwritten print; that I think that Greek or Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet letters are more obviously some type of letter then cursive is; this is true of even well written cursive; poorly written cursive (I. E. what most people who learn cursive because of education mandates wind up with) is indistinguishable from scribbles

    IV. to many people; myself included, even attempting cursive amounts to the gratuitous inflection of severe physical pain; I have experienced an actual root canal, and it hurt a lot less then trying to write cursive; I am 100% serious when I say that I would rather be waterboarded then write cursive. the possibility of inflicting serious physical pain would be not much of a problem if it was only done voluntarily, but when something is mandated in the education system, you have people who do not want to do it being forced to.

    V. too many cursive letters look like each other, making them hard to distinguish; which is of course harmful to anyone trying to read anything. this is the case even when written “correctly”. what does it say of a writting style when the letter combinations “be” and “li” look almost identical and require several minutes of staring to make out. this is when they are written as they are supposed to be, when written improperly, they are even worse

    VI. cursive only has advantages if your preferred writing instrument is a feather dipped in ink. I doubt the biggest cursive proponent has ever written with a feather and ink, and certainly does not do so regularly. not lifting the pen may be an advantage with feather and ink because those are hard to lift, can break easily, and can splatter ink all over; but no modern writing instrument has those properties. not lifting the pen slows you down because of the friction from the paper, and also having to go the same distances, and sometimes trace it. cursive became obsolete when the ballpoint pen was invented, that was in the late 1880s if you are wondering. you wanna talk about outdated?

    VI. cursive makes it so that you get tiered so much quicker

    VII. even most people who learn cursive abandon it the second it stops being required; which suggests there are a lot of better uses for everyone’s time

    VIX. cursive makes dyslexia far far worse, in part because you can no longer make out the distinct letters. I think cursive set me back months in literacy.

    X. cursive is slower, harder and less legible then print. print letter shapes are undeniably simpler, which makes them faster, easier and more legible, as well as requiring fewer strokes to write.

    XI. handwriting is less necessary in the modern age in general, though to be honest I find this less compelling the above arguments, but why are we teaching 2 forms of something when it is debatable if we even need one? though I would say that if you want to save handwriting you should insist it become all print, but if you want to kill handwriting you should push cursive.

    these are just some of the reasons cursive sucks. cursive proponents have no real arguments, but what passes for the most common ones can be refuted as follows:

    the general benefits argument: its benefits are wholly unproven, no study has even proven benefits of cursive specifically, the closest is demonstrating that handwriting generally has some benefits, but no distinction between cursive and print; I have read dozens of studies about the issue, and none back up cursive when you read what they actually say. most people who claim “brain benefits” will not articulate what they even think those benefits are, and usually will not dive into the question of if any verifiable facts support those benefits. every study cursive proponents quote turns out to be either misquoted, taken out of context, overtly lied about, or cites a source that engages in this behavior. often they do not cite the anything at all. rarely do they articulate what benefits they think cursive has. *Ipse dixit statements just don’t work for convincing me of the benefits of something.
    the speed argument: this one is based on a flat out distortion of fact if not full blown lies, and it doesn’t pass the smell test of truth either; I have found even illegible cursive to be incredibly slow, much more so then print. you want me to believe that adding a bunch of elaborate, frilly, pretentious, ornate, intricate, and gratuitous loops, curls, tails, flourishes, swirls and curlicues to letterforms speeds up writing? how could anyone have so little common sense so as to think that? this one is exceptionally stupid, but to be sure, I checked the research, and there are studies that show that cursive can, for some people, but not others, be faster only if legibility is not a concern at all, but those same studies find that legible cursive is significantly slower then legible print, which shouldn’t be a surprise given all those ornate loops and curls cursive letterforms have; cursive is much slower compared to print of equal legibility. also I happen to find illegible cursive to be significantly slower then legible print, or even illegible print. did I mention that cursive cannot be written “close enough” (or good enough that you can read the letterforms though they are imperfect), whereas print can, cursive has to be perfected before it can be used
    the historical documents argument: this one is especially ridiculous when you think about it, and let me explain why:

    A. it is possible to know how to read something without being able to write it yourself (for example I can read blackletter and Gaelic Script [which is not even typically used for writing English, though it can be used for that, outside of rare decorative inscriptions in Ireland, and a single house decoration my grandma owned; it never is, and never was; Irish Gaelic, by some accounts an endangered language is what is typically written in Gaelic script], but I will never be able to write either of them myself, in both cases my ability to read them is in fact better than I can read cursive; which I was years ago forced to waste excessive amounts of time learning to write, but no one ever bothered teaching us how to read); indeed many courses in dead languages like Latin focus on being able to understand what is already written in the language, not on being able to speak it or write it yourself

    B. there are thousands of places you can find print versions of America’s founding documents, both hard copy and digital; some of the hard copies are from that era, those versions actually being what most people read, not the “originals”; and changing the font in which words are written does not change the meaning of them; if anyone asks I can show you some of those locations

    C. the cursive versions of those documents are not in ‘modern’ (palmer style) cursive; but instead an older form known as “copperplate”, which is very different; also, the spelling is not the same as is typical today (for instance the constitution contains the words “chuse”, “Pensylvania”, “controul” and “defence” [that is how the document actually spells them]; among others); and they documents use the long s (an archaic form of a letter that cursive classes never mention even exists); add to that the fact that I have seen the originals of them for myself, and the writing is faded to the point of being barely legible; I could also add that the original version of the constitution capitalizes the first letters of common nouns, something that has vanished from English today, but should seem familiar if you have learned German as a foreign language like I have, but I think the point is clear even without that

    D. reading the originals requires a trip to a specific room in Washington DC, which only a few people are able to do. and also, even if you can read cursive, you cannot read them in whole, as the displays they are on are permanently exposed to the first page only; so good luck with your impression of Nicholas Cage in the movie “National Treasure”; as that is the only way you will have the chance to read more than the 1st page of the originals; which you will be able to enjoy your new knowledge of them from prison, as stealing the original copies of the constitution or the declaration of independence is one of the most serious forms of theft from the US government possible, so expect to be on the FBI wanted list, for life, even if you somehow avoid jail; anyone dedicated enough to do all that will have certainly studied reading cursive enough to read it even if cursive is not taught in schools

    E. even if this is a skill that is taught, it is so niche that it should be AN ELECTIVE ONLY, some will choose to take it, some will not; if there are still historians, archeologists, and linguistics scholars who can read Hieroglyphics, Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, and Cuneiform, we can be sure a few will take that class

    in short, cursive is both not needed, and not enough to read those documents in the original; and should be consigned to an elective like Latin. there is a distinction between skills vital enough that everyone should have them, and those that a few specialists need (and can learn without forcing the rest of us to spend hours learning it)

    the what if digital devices are unavailable/ fail argument: if that happens, we can use print handwriting, which is easier to read, easier to write, faster to write period in my opinion, and undeniably faster to write legibly, looks like what we see in books and on those digital devices; and which no one is seriously proposing getting rid of; many proponents of cursive seem to be conflating handwriting with cursive, when cursive is a single exceptionally difficult and pompous looking variety of handwriting; don’t confuse a single exceptionally ornate and outdated form of a concept with the whole of the concept. indeed if we just need handwriting and any handwriting will do, in the absence of a particular reason otherwise, it makes sense to use the easiest form of handwriting
    the dyslexia argument: this one is simply false, I am mildly dyslexic myself, and cursive didn’t help me at all with spelling or writing, and in some ways made it worse. Cursive has more letters that look like each other then print does.
    the signature argument: legally signatures do not have to be in cursive; they don’t even have to resemble your name. signatures can be printed, x marks, black letter, letters of the Russian alphabet, Chinese characters, a stick figure drawing of a cartoon character, a form of cursive other then palmer method (such as copperplate, Spenserian or Getty-Dubay) random squiggles, or something else; all that matters is that it is distinctive. most cursive signatures degenerate into squiggles anyway.
    the letters from grandma argument: honestly, I find it unrealistic in several ways; for one I have never seen my grandparents write in cursive, ever. also, someone else can transliterate them. as mentioned previously, learning to read something does not absolutely require being able to write it yourself. also, I think grandma has a problem if she is sending people letters in a form of handwriting they cannot read, surely the burden should be on the person sending the letters to make them legible to the recipient. If they are addressed to someone else, then maybe its not our business to read them
    the beauty argument is ridiculous for several reasons. For one, there is much better out there, if you want beautiful looking letters, try Bengali as a foreign language. The letters of Bengali (especially, but not limited to “kô” the first letter in their equivalent of alphabetical order) blow even the best looking written English out of the water. if you have seen what Bengali looks like, you can’t possibly tell me that ‘b’s that look like ‘l’s, ‘n’s that sometimes look like ‘m’s, ‘q’s that look like 2s or z’s that look like a cut open human heart (or at least that is the closest describable thing they look like to me), or similar forms are better looking than Bengali kô, and you don’t have to be able to read or speak Bengali to think those letters are good looking. I included links to a galleries of bengali letters at the end of this comment in case you have never seen them (the first one is kô, the second is a gallery of the base consonants, the third is a gallery of the vowels in independent form [I. E. the way they are written when they occur at the start of a word], the fourth is what “kô” looks like with the markers to indicate vowel sounds besides ô attached, the fifth is a gallery of the conjunct consonants which are much more complex). if we want everyone’s writing to look pretty, we should learn Bengali, not cursive; but off that tangent. Two, most people’s cursive is truly ugly and awful, only a few people can write cursive in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Three, beauty is a subjective opinion, and mandates that apply to all should not be based on subjective opinions unique to some; I find the form of cursive taught in schools to be very ugly with the sole exception of the letters s and c (the former only when lowercase). Four, there is pretty looking print as well, for instance try Gaelic Type, I find it much prettier and more legible then cursive. Five, aesthetic concerns are not a good reason to mandate that all people put a lot of hard work into something. It would be different if only people who voluntarily chose too put the work in though, but cursive as an elective would meet that criteria, mandatory cursive does not.
    the “creativity” argument: this one is absurd; you want me to believe a highly regimented and standardized process that is extremely difficult improves creativity? creativity is doing things in you own way, not conforming to a standardized model.
    the “individuality” argument: this is the last argument, just phrased in an even more absurd manner. Individuality comes from doing things your own way, as you see fit, without regard to how others do them. A highly regimented and standardized modal that everyone has to conform to (and make no mistake, that is how cursive is taught), is the opposite of that. To argue otherwise is to define the meaning out of the English language and say “up is down”, “large is small”, “black is white”, “life is death”, and “hot is cold”. Individuality can also never be forced, forcing someone to be an individual with mandates is a logical contradiction in terms. Mandates and requirements can only destroy individuality, never create it.
    the “not hard argument”: this one is flat out false, at least for some of us; cursive in fact often takes a long time, some people may get it immediately, but others make take over a year of tedious practice for several hours a day, and still never get the hang of it. Cursive is in fact very hard, and takes forever to master. Print letter shapes are simpler, more constantly reinforced by seeing them in books, etc; and can be written “close enough”. Additionally even 15 minutes a day every weekday adds up to a lot of time, over the course of a month it already amounts to 5 hours.
    the “knowledge” argument: this one could be used to justify a lot of things it is not used for. The language of Irish Gaelic is “knowledge”, should we mandate everyone in America learn that? Not bad mouthing Gaelic, I am doing a self-paced online course for learning it right now, and enjoying it; but that does not mean I think all the schools in America should require everyone to learn it. Reading hieroglyphs is also “knowledge”. So is knowing how to use an abacus, or shoe a horse. This has other applications, for instance it is in fact knowledge to know how to burp exceptionally loudly. All the above forms of knowledge should be available for those who want them to obtain, but we should not spend 5 minutes a century requiring every single person to master them, which is what cursive in the elementary school classroom does. In fact there are so many forms of knowledge that if we required everyone to learn absolutely everything, no one would ever graduate, and the schools would last several times the human life span at least, and there would be no freedom anywhere. You don’t want that do you? When it comes to the knowledge we require everyone to have, we must be choosy. In my view only the essential stuff should be mandatory, the burden must be on proponents of something to prove why it is essential. Cursive supporters have not done that.
    the “abstraction and exposure” argument: the purported benefit, while I have no clue if it is even true (I really don’t) can also be done with any other writing system too. the best way to get that advantage, based on the general logic underlying your idea, is probably to try learning a language with a different writing system. something like Russian, Greek or Hindi or Bengali or Hebrew as just a couple examples. learning to read those languages introduces a much greater degree of abstraction then cursive as there is not even a one-to-one letter correspondence with English, and you can actually use them to communicate with people from other countries, unlike cursive. it will also be easier to retain the knowledge by reading things in the script, as you can actually find written material in languages that use different scripts, unlike in cursive (seriously, there are zero books in cursive as far as I know, it is easier to find books in Latin, a foreign dead language that has not had any native speakers in over 1000 years then it is to find them in cursive.) I have read that Russian and Greek are in particular good first steps for someone who wants to be able to ready anything besides the roman script, because they are still alphabets just with different letters and sounds. but if you wanted to really abstract things and encourage “thinking differently”, maybe using a language written with an abjad, an abugida, a syllabary, or logograms would take it even further. that is in addition to the good look of Bengali as I mentioned above. anyway, those options would also have that advantage, and several additional ones.
    if you have any that are not subsets of those, tell me so I can knock it down.

    I will concede that cursive does have the “advantage” of looking more pompous.

    on the other hand, the case against cursive included among other things, the freedom argument (that the default position is you are not required to, but can if you want to), but also the fact that we cannot teach everything to everyone, so the things we mandate everyone learn should be limited to things with clear benefits. additionally, there are hundred of more relevant things that time could be used for. also, for many people (including myself, but others to an even greater degree) cursive is awful, they just cannot write it, and even trying causes significant pain. to people who struggle with long handwriting anyway, cursive is pure torture. It is an open question whether I would rather be water boarded or write cursive, I would have to think hard. and I know of people who have worse experiences with cursive then I did! I would prioritize peoples freedom from serious physical pain over what nostalgic luddites who don’t know what century they live in think looks good, at least when it comes to what people are required to do, even if you think it looks nice, it is grossly selfish not to in that situation. I am not necessarily calling for an end to cursive, I am calling for an end to compulsory cursive.

    there are things that are and should be desire dependent, those who want them should have them, but no other people should. to disagree with that is to accept the principle underlying totalitarianism. all the actual facts in the modern era place cursive in that category. Cursive should be TAUGHT AS AN ELECTIVE ONLY. it is no more essential then Latin, and in my subjective opinion, less interesting. I am very confident that a substantial minority would take the elective. the people who are specifically interested, and no one else, should learn cursive. LET CURSIVE SURVIVE AS AN ELECTIVE!!!!!

    it is a great thing that many schools are getting rid of cursive; and any backlash is pure nostalgia, not rational argument. being able to speak a dead language has more use then cursive, so why mandate cursive? for that reason, cursive is in fact pointless.

    *Ipse dixit is a phrase that refers to something that is asserted without any proof, or reason the thing is the case, or explanation of how the thing is the case. a statement of that type is dogmatically asserted and then one tries to opt out of logical argument all together. the term from a Latin phrase that translates as “he said it himself”, Cicero used the phrase to describe things simply dogmatically asserted; which is generally what cursive proponents are doing about why it should be taught. please note that most of these individual paragraphs contain far more detailed reasons as to why my opinion is the case then cursive mandate proponents have offered

    links to places to search for more information on things I mentioned above:
    https://omniglot.com/writing/clogaelach.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copperplate_script#/media/File:Bickham-letter-detail.png https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackletter#/media/File:Old_English_typeface.svg https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E0%A6%95#/media/File:Bengali_Letter_Ka.svg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Bengali_letters#/media/File:%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%82%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE_%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%A3%E0%A6%AE%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE.svg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengali_alphabet#/media/File:%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%82%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE_%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%B8%E0%A6%AE%E0%A7%82%E0%A6%B9.svg

    1. Thanks for your detailed analysis. In general, I don’t believe cursive is a necessary skill but I enjoy using it for my own personal writing. I find that a combination of joined-up letters and print is faster for me to write than straight printing which is often the recommended method for people wanting to write by hand but speed up the process a bit. I think efforts should be made to teach cursive in so much as people may, on occasion, need to read something written in script (from a note written by an elder to a logo on a product) but forcing rudimentary standards of penmanship seem unnecessary.

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