Handwriting: Val's Shorthand Suggestions

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Wed Dec 24 10:58:30 UTC 2008

On Mon, 2008-12-22 at 19:31 -0800, Valerie Sutton wrote:
> Hi Andre - and everyone -
> Well, maybe in time, with the right instruction materials, the  
> Shorthand will not have to be only for professional jobs but could be  
> changed or adjusted to be usable on a daily basis by children who are  
> at an advanced writing level...I think the idea of using it for  
> professional court stenography may be more unrealistic....I think it  
> may be better as a daily handwriting for advanced writers, and if you  
> have a curriculum for children learning at different levels, then the  
> more advanced children might enjoy the Shorthand...so I wouldn't  
> assume that kids can't learn it too...


There seems to be a direct analogy between this and modern Chinese.

Professor Reinhard Hahn who runs the Lowlands-L mailing list was
explaining recently that traditional written Chinese has so many strokes
that a simplified form is now used. This simplified form is similar to
the older forms but has fewer strokes.

Reinhard was explaining that the older forms are more informative and
thus easier to understand, though harder to write. This means that
students find the simplified form harder to learn, so that there's
something to be said for the older form.

The older characters with many strokes are still used decoratively and
so on.

I'm not a great fan of having to learn everything twice, but perhaps
with writing there is a justification for this: computers or printing
presses should produce stuff that would be hard to write but are easy to
type and read, while we still need an easily written form (even if it is
harder to learn) for when we're writing on paper.

Just as in learning an alphabet-based system, we could teach children to
read and print first, and then teach cursive writing at a certain age.

Sandy Fleming


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