“Should We Just Get Rid of Handwriting?”


An article by Anne Trubek, an associate professor at Oberlin College supposes that handwriting is on the way out.

" It will take a long time for handwriting to die, for us to have the interview with the "last handwriter" as we do today with the last living speakers of some languages. By 1600 B.C., all Sumerian speakers had died, but the writing system that replaced Sumerian, Akkadian, kept aspects of Sumerian alive. It would take another 1,000 years — until 600 B.C. — for Sumerian writing to disappear completely. Even the revolutionary Greeks took a long time to change habits. After they created the Greek alphabet, they spent 400 years doing nothing with it, preferring their extant oral culture. Handwriting is not going anywhere soon. But it is going…"

Read the full article.

(via Neatorama)

12 thoughts on ““Should We Just Get Rid of Handwriting?”

  1. When my power went out for almost 12 hours here in Toronto, I had no computer because my battery was drained and no access to any of my electronics or cable tv.

    So, with these events I learned that sitting down and writing allowed me to spend time to think, postulate, and figure ideas and things out in my life and put it all down by candlelight in my Moleskine. I also wrote a few snail mail letters to my friends and family!

    If the black out taught me anything it’s that writing will always exist and so will handwriting in whatever form! Hell, if the electric grid dies all over the world we’ll have to revert back to handwriting…and God help those around us who can’t write with their own hands!

  2. Handwriting is certainly not on the way out. It may longer be the primary form of communication, but this professor at Oberlin seems to assume that everyone has a computer, that everyone texts and there isn’t an aesthetic appeal to handwritten text. In effect this professor is saying that moleskines are on there way out. How very pretencious and short sighted of you professor!

  3. There will always be a place for beautifully handwritten notes, letters, grocery lists, journal entries, etc. People both derive pleasure from writing them and from reading them. The problem lies in the fact that the more texting and typing there is, the less people have incentive to develop beautiful handwriting. Decrease it will, disappear it won’t.

  4. Fascinating article, I must admit, and some good points. I am intrigued by this idea that typing, texting, etc. enables the thoughts to flow more freely than manual writing. I am sure that we’re not far off from a day when we’ll be able to put some sort of metal contacts on our heads, simply think the words, and they’ll appear on screen. But back to this idea that the slowness of handwriting impairs the free flow of thought. Really? I personally have always experienced just the opposite. Oh certainly, I can move my fingers quickly across a keyboard, and what comes out on the page is lucid enough. But I’m not sure at all that composing on a keyboard produces my best thoughts. If I am writing something that is very important to me, I take out a journal and write by hand. The act of forming letters by hand forces me to slow down and not think in a haphazard fashion. My reflections are deeper, I think, and I am able to see more connections between the subject at hand and other issues in life. Thus I am not sure I’m comfortable with handwriting becoming a “dying art.”

  5. I have to say, I love writing thoughts, ideas, goals, to do lists etc in my Moleskine note books. My hand writing is not as legible as it could be so I am joining a local calligraphy course to bring about an improvement and also to gain a deeper appreciation of type.

  6. I notice that a lot more highschool and college age students print their notes instead of using cursive writing. I also see a surge in Moleskine use in my town. They are everywhere. They are very easy to find. I see people everywhere using them in spite of the proliferation of laptops and phone texting.

  7. Try searching amazon for “improving your handwriting.”
    And see if your local library has “Script and Scribble.”

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  8. I know few fellow students that use cursive writing… most that do are not North American. There is something to be said for beautiful cursive… I know many are embarrassed at the juvenile-look of their printing (myself included), but at the same time one should always be most concerned with the content of the writing.

  9. For me personally I can’t see a time when we would stop writing by hand, even if its only use would be scribbling a quick note to the other half to say you’ve popped out to get milk. I must admit I’m continually amazed by the number of people who print rather than write cursively. For me, the ability to quickly write a letter when a computer hasn’t been available has been invaluable. The fact that it is aesthetically pleasing has often also brought the advantage that the reader has be pre-disposed to agree with the request.
    On a more personal note, can you imagine a world with only text messages and emails instead of carefully crafted love letters…. shudder!

  10. Being at my laptop so much has had a bad effect on my handwriting; I’ll admit that. But I still love the feel of writing with a good pen, and I love the look of good script. There’s too much aesthetic pleasure in actually writing a letter to give it up.

  11. It’s not so important how people write or even what they write, the really important thing is that people do write. Why not take the opportunity now to sit down and write letters to people you care for, just to let them know how you feel. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, perhaps just to say how you enjoyed their company at a recent night out or send letters instead of cards at Birthdays. It doesn’t seem much but you will be pleasantly surprised at the joy you can bring to peoples lives as can be seen at http://www.handwrittenletters.com

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