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

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Sun Dec 28 13:20:27 UTC 2008

On Sat, 2008-12-27 at 13:27 -0800, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> 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 ;-)


Not all oral handwriting is cursive, there are two main systems in use. 

One is cursive, which is what I was taught in school. The idea behind
cursive is to avoid lifting the pen by making loops to join everything
up, even if these loops and joins distort the letters.

The other is italic, which only joins letters that can be joined without
distorting anything, and lifts the pen otherwise. So italic is closer to
printing and so should be more readable.

So in my handwriting at school, every word was written without lifting
the pen, except sometimes for words with capital letters or with the
letter "x".

When I was 16 I realised that this was hard to read and changed my
handwriting to italic. You can see examples in the attached PNG.

So cursive avoids lifting the pen at the expense of readability, but it
has been falling out of favour as it's no longer believed that loops and
not lifting the pen makes handwriting quicker or easier, and italic is
being taught more and more.

So cursive writing isn't necessarily something to be aimed at. There's a
lot to be said for keeping handwriting as close to printing as possible,
while smoothing the strokes a bit to make them easier to write and
making the most of any natural joins that don't cause too much
distortion from the printed form. This was pretty much the idea behind
my horseshoe writing. Even with horseshoe writing there does seem to me
to be a lot of clutter in SignWriting that isn't a problem when
computers do it for us, but takes up a lot of time in handwriting.


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: MyHandwriting.png
Type: image/png
Size: 114492 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------


SW-L SignWriting List

Post Message
SW-L at

List Archives and Help

Change Email Settings

More information about the Sw-l mailing list