Some scripts are read right-to-left rather than the Western left-to-right.

I’m assuming they’re written the same way. In which case, are right-handers in those cultures seen as the exception in the way left-handers have been in Western cultures?

I doubt it. Lefthandedness has pretty much the same percentage of population worldwide. And I don’t think reading right-to-left has any harder to learn than reading left-to-right.

But which way is easier to write depends on your handedness. Lefties writing in English or other left-to-right languages tend to smudge their writing.

As someone who writes right handed, and knows how to write scripts which go left to right and right to left… there is no difference in ease or risk and incidence of smudging.

I will say, this does not mean that you don’t develop differences. Born in 1984, I was of the last generation where penmanship was emphasized, my English writing was and does look like an ECG during a particularly bad heart attack. I got awards for my Urdu writing.

Some people were the opposite.

Arabis is written from right to left. But in Arab culture there are very strong proscriptions against doing certain things with the right or left hand, at which left-handed people are at a significant social disadvantage. Which I always thought was a bit of a dichotomy.

Have you ever written right to left? There is no real difficulty or difference.

A slightly greater tendency to smudging may well have been an issue in the days of liquid ink and quill or nib pens. It certainly was for left-handed English writers back in the day.

With modern tools, as the esteemed **AK84 **says, not so much.

In the US at least, lefties tend to hold their pen/pencil in a very different way from righties. It’s not a simple mirror image of typical right-handed practice. I’ve never seen someone writing a RTL script. Which ignorance of mine raises a question:

When people are writing a RTL script, do lefties & righties hold the pen/pencil differently from each other? Or differently from how they would hold it for writing an LTR script?

Perhaps not in your experience, but there certainly was in mine. A left-hander writing left-to-right can easily smudge what he has written where a right-hander writing the same thing won’t. There are several factors involved, including the material being written on (paper, blackboard, etc.), the substance used for writing (ink, chalk, etc.), and the position of the writing hand. A common image in years past was the left-hander cocking his hand at an unnatural angle so as to not smudge what he wrote.

The rise in popularity of ballpoint pens with their quick-drying smudge-resistant inks made such smudging much less likely, to where nowadays it’s not something most people even know about. Up until the 1960’s in the U.S., however, it was definitely a concern for left-handers.

Remember erasable pens in the 1980s? They smudged incredibly easily and were virtually unusable to this left-hander.

I’m a lefty and have often watched other lefthanded people write. I’ve observed that we don’t all do it the same way. I mean we have a less uniform approach to it than right-handed people do, generally speaking.

I’ve seen some lefthanded people write with their forearm and hand curled around so that they’re sort of dragging the pen behind them with their arm arched over the top of where they’re writing.

Some lefties turn the sheet so that they’re practically writing “downhill” instead of left to right.

I’ve seen some lefties hold the pen so the point is trailing behind their hand and the pen is slanted from right top to left bottom, nearly lying flat on the paper.

Me, I hold the pen very very close to the writing tip and only the bottom joints of my fingers move as I write; my hand doesn’t pass over the stuff I’ve written (try it, you’ll see what I mean), so it doesn’t smudge.

No one taught me how to write specifically as a lefthanded person and I suspect the wide variation may be because no one taught the others either and we just figured out stuff on our own.

Left-handed writer here. I don’t smudge but I write like a mirror image of a right-handed person and the angle of the pen to the paper is different. (Some lefties use the hook-around, which just about guarantees smudging.) Sometimes you are kind of pushing the pen into the paper rather than pulling it along. This isn’t a dramatic disadvantage except for calligraphy, where pen angle becomes critical. I have tried left-handed calligraphy nibs and it still puts the wrist into an awkward position.

As to the OP, there has been speculation that left-to-right societies may have at one time been predominantly left-handed (they’re not today). I have a vague memory of reading studies that have debunked this but I’m afraid I’m not ready with a cite.

I wonder what that says about the ancient Greeks who wrote in an boustrophedon style – alternating lines of left to right and right to left.

I had been told that cultures that wrote right to left developed writing when it was done with a hammer and chisel onto stone, where going from right to left would be easier for a right handed (dexter) person. I am not sure if this is true or if it is just BS. I am fairly confident that left handed (sinister) people have always been a minority.

Yes, the Phonecian script was RtoL, which evolved in to the Greak script used for inscriptions, LR-RL, which eveolved into the Greak script used for handwriting LtoR