Question for left-handed Hebrew/Arabic speaking Dopers

I’m left-handed, and my whole life I’ve had to be careful not to make a huge mess when I write or paint with any kind of medium that smears. Pencils? Complete disaster. Fountain pens? Even worse. Felt-tip pens are marginally better, and even ballpoints leave me with ink all over the side of my hand. Just imagine being an English-speaking left-handed calligrapher; it’s very frustrating.

So it occurred to me that it would be so much neater to deal with a language that is written right-to-left, like Hebrew or Arabic. Does this mean that the right-handed majority in the Middle East are the ones who end up with ink all over the place? Or have they found some mysterious solution that they have been keeping from the rest of the world?

Me too.



Writing Hebrew left-handed is GREAT! Cleanest homework I’ve ever handed in!

Try traditional japanese. Written top to bottom; everyone’s happy. Except that poor guy who writes with his mouth.

I’m not sure if there’s any factual basis for this, but I remember hearing from someone that older written languages, which were originally written on stone, are written from right-to-left, because its easier for the majority right-handers to hammer-and-chisel stone from right-to-left.

Newer languages, which originated on paper-ink mediums, are written from left-to-right.

But what happens when you get to the end of a column? Is the next column to the right or left of the previous one?

Chronos–Japanese, Chinese and Korean are written traditionally from top-to-bottom, left-to-right. So lefties, while not as badly off as with Roman, Greek, Cyrillic and a number of other left-to-right scripts, are still at a slight disadvantage.

I’m a rightie who doodles in Arabic script all the time, and I’ve never smeared a drop of ink. It must be because my pen is almost vertical (about a 75-degree angle towards my head) and my hand is fairly kinked, so that it doesn’t make any contact with the paper until several lines later, when the ink is presumably dry. I’ve written with my left before, and it’s similarly kinked. Oddly enough, I haven’t gotten a case of writer’s cramp in at least a year.

i’m a lefty too, but i don’t use expensive pens… just the BIC or CVS ones. and as for pencil, that washes off.

i heard somewhere that some left-handed woman in history put powder on her hand to prevent the ink problem. i guess baby powder might work.

I’m right-handed and I’ve taken a LOT of Hebrew and some Arabic. I can’t remember ever fretting about getting ink on my hands. How big a deal is that going to be anyway?

Is the percentage of lefties higher in Arabic-speaking coutries? I guess you would only want to count literate people in those countries.

Never had a problem myself, actually my handwriting is much better in Arabic than English. Regretably Arabic script influences have come to creep into my English/Roman character writing.

As to the quesiton in re lefties, there is no reason to presume higher rates of left handedness than globally extent, but even so, given left handedness is disfavored, many switch or are forced to switch to right handed usage.

Erm… no. They were (and in the case of Japanese, still is) written top-to-bottom, right-to-left. Lefties are somewhat at an advantage, if it wasn’t for the fact that traditionally, people used brushes to write those languages and you don’t rest your hand on the paper when properly writing with a brush. (Japanese books, like Hebrew and Arabic ones open the opposite way from English books.)

Note that this is traditionally. Simplified Chinese, used in mainland China is written left-to-right. While Japanese novels, newspapers, manga, and some magazines are written top-to-bottom, more technical texts are usually written left-to-right, horizontally. When handwriting, nowadays, people also tend to write left-to-right. (More convenient when writing with a pen or pencil.) Top-to-bottom is almost reserved for “formal” handwriting, i.e. letters and school compositions.

Japanese can also be written horizontally, right-to-left. The use for this writing order is limited and the rule is that there cannot be more than one line.

In my experience writing right-to-left is only marginally messier than the other way around (I’m a rightie).

Yestarday I had to write something in a tiny (long but thin) gap on a whiteboard, with an ultrasmear pen (you so much as breath on it and it smears) so I had to contort my hand and ‘rest’ it in mid air (usually it is rested on something to stabilize it) I wrote what I needed to write, and it looked *better?! than my normal handwriting :eek: