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Rarely There

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Friday, April 20, 2007


Image source: c|net news

Sort of like radiocarbon-dating, this news item was right up my alley, addressing one of my areas of interest: Handwriting samples in a text message era.

Now, graphology is not an exact science and I am not quite interested in armchair-psychoanalysis. But, I have always been a little curious about handwritings of people I know - to glean bits and pieces about their personalities reflected in their penmanship.

Do people even practice handwriting any more?

Until about twelve years ago, I was writing a lot every day - equations, term papers, letters - writing by hand and not thinking twice about it. Then, once I started using the computer for my school and personal work I preferred typing as much as I can, only adding a personal note in a greeting card or letter, and maybe grading my students' papers.

Sargur Srihari, a professor of computer science and engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, has determined that there are significant differences in handwriting between those under 24 and those over 45.

Srihari collected three distinct writing samples from more than 1,000 people representative of the U.S. population. The samples were scanned into a computer and analyzed for characteristics like the degree of slant, the presents of loops, comparative height to other letters, presence of corners, size of strokes, and distance between characters and connectedness.

Of course, I am not under-24 and certainly nowhere near over-45. And, I did not learn handwriting in the US. The first time I had to practice cursive was around second grade at St.Mary's Convent (Vellore, India), where if Mother Superior made an imperceptible frown at my sample I knew I had an imposition coming...

D is not sure if he was taught the Palmer, D'Nealian, Zaner-Bloser, or Anything Goes As Long As It Is Legible method. On the rare occasion when he uses the pen, his writing is barely decipherable:)

Now, I don't claim to have a to-die-for handwriting. I admire my dad's and my grandma-in-law's - both of them write beautifully, and it is not just the handwriting I am talking about.

But, now that my wee one is getting close to recognizing alphabets and trying to "write" with her markers and crayons, I am beginning to wonder if handwriting will still be emphasized when she is in grade school... and isn't it ironic that I am not exactly handwriting my thoughts on handwriting?!



Blogger DEEPA said...

Hey Sheela

Very well said and written .U Know wht i have actually stopped writing .And today even if i have to write it takes me hours to come up with a good handwriting in one single page ..Good Note

12:15 PM  

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