Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Cursive writing—follow-up on reading

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Following the comments on [1]e, I have just encountered the whopper of a weak argument:

If children do not learn how to write cursive, they will not learn how to read cursive, and they will be unable to read important documents of old…

  1. Documents worth reading will exist in transcriptions using printed letters. Can there be any doubt that understanding the contents of an important document is more important than being able to read the original version? Indeed, the vast majority of older texts worth reading were originally published in printed letters…

  2. It is possible to read a script that one does not know how to write. Indeed, most of the trouble with learning how to write a particular script is mastering the movements—not learning the shapes. If reading is the main benefit, then reading should be taught.

  3. Most of the documents of old are not written in a cursive that is particularly close to today’s versions—and over the centuries of modern English there have been too many scripts for this to be a valid argument. Further, the same argument applies even to printed documents.

  4. Similarly, language changes through the years make any document sufficient old hard to read, even unreadable, to the untrained. In addition, it should be remembered that there are numerous valuable documents in other languages and that access to these would be blocked anyway.

(See the previous post for context.)

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Written by michaeleriksson

July 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

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