What is cursive?

Intrigued by this article:

I asked myself: what is it that Americans cannot read or write? Do they mean any fluently handwritten text that is not in AllCaps (which I see in Wikipedia is rather called block letters when handwritten)?
It may be terminological confusion on my part, because the word cursive (or kursiv or cursiva) means italics in Spanish and German, while in Italian there are even chinese characters described as cursive. Then French distinguishes between cursive and scripte handwritten texts in a way I think is similar to what the USA mean by cursive, if I get the implications of the Atlantic’s article right.
Therefore I ask you: what is cursive for you? If you are older: do you write in a way the young generation cannot read? If you are younger: can you read the notes your grandparents took?
I myself have very little contact to the younger generations and am 57 years old. But I would have supposed prior to tht article that young people who are thaught to read and write at school would have to learn to write by hand to start with before switching to keyboards. I would understand it if somebody, not just a young person, was unable to read a particular person’s handwriting. There is the proverbial doctor’s handwriting not even the doctor who wrote it can decipher. But not being able to read a text as a matter of principle? At all? Is the article right?

This is cursive, or “script”, as far as this American is concerned:

ETA: We used a letter that looks more like a 2 for a Q, like in dirtball’s example.

In the midsixties, I recall being taught cursive with a Zaner-Bloser chart posted at the front of the classroom:

Cursive and script are the same for you? For the French (see link in first post) they are different, cursive being ligated, scripte being separate letters.

In my school in Queens, the words cursive and script were interchangeable for this purpose.

It’s not cursive vs AllCaps. It’s more like learning a new alphabet that allows for words to be written without lifting the pen. I’m old enough to have learned it in 2nd grade (age 7-8), but it’s less commonly taught in schools now.

The terminology I was taught was “cursive,” and then “printed” for non-cursive. I’ll occasionally see forms that ask for a signature and also provide a second line to “print” your name, presumably to ensure they get at least one version that’s legible.

We learned Palmer method in the 80s. Not too all dissimilar from Zaner-Bloser. The main differences I see at a quick glance are the capital “P”, “R”, and “T.” Actually, I think the capital “B” was a bit more “baloon-y” (like the Palmer “P” and “R,”)

I was a bit surprised to find a handwriting worksheet my 8-year-old brought back from school last week. So some places are still teaching it, I guess. It wouldn’t bother me none if they didn’t, so I guess I do like a little bit of effort being given in showing them the lettershapes for historical purposes, as long as they don’t spend too much time on it.

You think it is a waste of time? But OK, if it is not too much time?

No, the statement was that it would be no great loss, not that it was a complete waste of time.

When we were younger, quite a lot of time was spent teaching it to children (I recall lessons extending over several months). I believe the prevailing opinion these days is that there may still have some value in teaching elements of it but much less value in spending as much time teaching it as they did in decades past.

You’d get better info from somebody else but I know that Hebrew also has ‘cursive’. IIRC while looking very different, the letters are still not connected.

I do believe it is a waste of time to teach it as I was taught it in the 80s. I would prefer them to do something else with their time other than teach cursive. However, since the world isn’t black and white, I can find a middle ground where I can understand why spending some time on it is useful. If forced to pick one or the other, I’d opt for “skip cursive.”

I don’t know how handwriting is taught everywhere in the USA, let alone in other countries, but my big issue with cursive in schools is that when I was taught cursive, it was the second time I had to learn to write (more like second and a half if you count the special letter forms we had to learn in preparation to waste time on cursive). We learned what I see as normal handwriting (“printing”) first, then we had to go all the way back to zero and start over with long, tedious lessons on how to write all the letters we already had been writing, but with useless florid curlicues attached. And then, as soon as we had crushed our souls and hands doing that for a year or two, it was suddenly “oh, I don’t care how you write so long as it’s legible” from the next teacher, as if it was the silliest thing in the world that anyone would care if you could write in cursive (and she was right).

Due to truly sub par manual dexterity, my cursive writing is all but illegible. When I need to write these days, I do it in block all capitals. This makes my writing somewhat easier to read.

I agree with others that in my educational experience, “cursive” and “script” were the same. Writing in non-cursive, block letters, was always called “printing.”

It’s only in retrospect that I realized that’s kind of weird, since “printing” more often refers to producing text by pressing pre-inked typefaces onto paper, and in other contexts we make a distinction between “printed” and “written by hand.” Nevertheless, “printing” is what the U.S. mostly calls hand-writing in block letters.

I too don’t use cursive much anymore, since nobody (including me, most of the time) can read my cursive writing. I use it for my signature, and that’s about it. Any time I have to write anything else by hand, I will “print” it.

I don’t completely object to schools teaching it, but it is becoming a less and less valuable skill to have.

Of course what counts is that you can write something in a way that other peole can read it, that is the point of writing. But what the article writes is that people today can no longer read what other people write. I wonder if that is right or hyperbole.

Im 41 but was mostly honeschooled so probably am not a good example. I’ve been writing in cursive as long as I’ve been writing.

I teach high-school age kids in a boarding school and most of them do not write in cursive – indeed, most have handwriting so atrocious you’d think a physician wrote it. Few of them can read cursive.

My own kids, 17 and 15, do not write in cursive other than their signature but both can read cursive just fine.

Whether or not its taught in schools today most certainly depends on the school district and the teacher, but I’m not aware of any local schools that teach cursive. Which is a shame but there it is.

Could you explain what you are asking? Cursive is when you write fast, so such script will tend to have features designed to facilitate that, like joined-up letters. However, each country has its own, possibly multiple, models for schoolchildren to copy.

As for switching to keyboards, that sounds like typing, not writing (obviously students are taught to read printed forms of letters, which again come in multiple fonts, regular vs. italic, etc)

As for not being able to read a doctor’s handwriting, well, some people have bad handwriting :slight_smile: As for reading it at all, you have to get used to the shapes of handwritten letters, and variations of those shapes, which, again, may not look precisely and uniformly like printed text; that goes for Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Ancient Egyptian, you name it as well.

Re. school, personally I find it easier to take written notes during a lecture; are kids really expected to type them? Of course, when it comes to preparing and handing in a paper you are going to format it on a computer and print it out, not hand in an illegible mess. Exams are probably going to be written by hand, though.

I thought what I ask was clear:

Therefore I ask you: what is cursive for you? If you are older: do you write in a way the young generation cannot read? If you are younger: can you read the notes your grandparents took?

The article seems to refer to a kind of handwriting that is refered to as cursive that seems to be held in high estime by the writer, but that the younger generation no longer cares so much about. I have never heard of such a thing in Europe, where I live, so I am asking. What is this article talking about? Explain it to me from your perspective. And please tell me if you think the author is right: do young people really not know how to read other people’s handwriting, not just the proverbial physician’s handwriting?