SignWriting Cursive...can cursive writing not be joined?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sat Dec 27 21:27:19 UTC 2008

SignWriting List
December 27, 2008

Hello Sandy and everyone!

Thanks for your messages, Sandy, about SW Handwriting and Shorthand...

The description you wrote below, of other Shorthand systems, is  
exactly what we adhered to, when using our SW Shorthand in the 1980's.  
I taught groups of people to never lift their pens off the paper, and  
never use regular plain paper...we used special rolls of paper that I  
ordered..I still have boxes of rolls of paper in my garage from those  
days...we never looked at our hands because we were writing at speed  
while watching someone sign, so if our eyes left the signer, we would  
lose what was we pulled the roll of paper with one hand,  
while writing with the other, and we wrote only pieces or portions of  
what was said and then I taught people how to then transcribe their  
shorthand notes back into formal SW printing afterwards, since most  
people could not read their shorthand notes a few months later because  
it was too shortened for long term understanding...and with the  
shorthand we wrote at speed of was amazing and it  

The point of this discussion is not to teach real Shorthand  
techniques, but to instead try what Dr. Karen van Hoek suggested years  
ago...use the symbols that worked in the Shorthand, for a daily  
cursive writing...and it would take on another name in that

SignWriting Cursive....

or something that...

The only concern I have with the name "SignWriting Cursive" is that it  
is not really cursive! Cursive seems to be defined, in the English  
dictionary, to mean handwritten symbols that "connect" to each  
other...the characters are "joined"....but in SW Cursive they do not  
necessarily connect to each other...will that be a problem? Can anyone  
think of a better name?  Val ;-)


Definition from an English Dictionary:

cursive |ˈkərsiv|
written with the characters joined : cursive script.
writing with such a style.
cursively |ˈkərs1vli| adverb
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from medieval Latin cursivus, from Latin  
curs-‘run,’ from the verb currere.

On Dec 24, 2008, at 2:45 AM, Sandy Fleming wrote:
> The question arises, though, of whether this is actually shorthand or
> whether it's actually cursive writing. I use Teeline shorthand, and  
> some
> of the principles for making it fast are:
>   o    it can't be written on blank paper because the position of the
> words with respect to the line on the paper is significant;
>   o    you only write parts of letters, so that almost every letter is
> just one stroke;
>   o    you don't lift the pen between letters, you just write each
> letter from where the last one ended (hence all the fantastic shapes  
> you
> get that mystify readers who don't know the system);
>   o    if you do lift the pen in the middle of a word then that means
> something different (for example, a pen lift followed by "i" means
> "ing");
>   o    you need context to understand what you've written: for  
> example,
> if you've written the word "tea" by itself, then you might later not
> know whether that was supposed to be "tea" or "Tuesday";
>   o    shorthand needs to be transcribed into longhand, because  
> there's
> no guarantee that you'll still be able to understand what you were
> talking about when you read it over six months later.
> Pitman shorthand follows similar principles, but takes things to  
> further
> extremes for extra speed (so it's much more difficult to learn, and
> harder to read).
> So in deciding whether our writing is shorthand or just cursive  
> writing,
> I'd suggest trying to answer the following question:
> "If I write a single word on a post-it, will I still be able to read  
> it
> correctly next year?"
> For Teeline the answer is "No", because if we wrote, say, "tea", then
> next year we might not be able to remember whether we were reminding
> ourselves to buy tea or to go back to work next Tuesday: so Teeline is
> shorthand.
> I think this test could be a guide to how much we can leave out of
> cursive writing before it turns into shorthand. Cursive writing can be
> written on blank paper and can be read years later even if it's just a
> single word; with shorthand this isn't guaranteed: ruled paper must be
> used and information is sacrificed for speed and must be recreated  
> from
> the context.
> Sandy Fleming
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