Friggin’ European handwriting

A few weeks ago we had to work in pairs in my Italian class. I ended up working with a classmate who, when confronted to my handwritten notes, remarked “friggin’ European handwriting!”.

It’s true. Have you noticed the very consistent handwriting style exhibited by people educated under an anglosaxon system? I first noticed when I first went to England, in my teens, and all the boys and (especially) girls there were writing with that oh-so-English round and neat calligraphy. I remember discussing the issue with my sister, more than 20 years ago.

I’ve continued seeing that here in Australia. I am not completely sure that it is directly related to being educated within an anglosaxon system, although I’ve seen it in England and in Australia only. I also tend to think that it occurs with people of a certain age group, more or less my age, perhaps. For a friggin’ European like me, it is amazing how such a degree of consistency, almost like cloning, can be achieved.

Do leave a comment if you have any ideas why this happens, please.

P.S. This post uses the word “European” to refer to what geographers would refer to as Europe, minus the United Kingdom. EU -= UK. As you do.

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4 Responses to “Friggin’ European handwriting”


  1. 1 john 25 October 2005 at 19:03

    I don’t know what happens in the European style of teaching, but, in the years that I started school (1946 on) great emphasis was placed upon writing correctly. We we even given a card with sloping lines to place under the writing paper to get the correct slope on the letters being written. The individual letters had to be of the correct roundness and readability. I would suggest that recent teaching does not emphasise the importance of good writing given that speed today is of the essence and legibility comes a poor second. From the 1970′s teachers in the NSW system gave no credits for writing, spelling or grammar as long as the intention of the students writings were understandable. It is of little wonder that we have generations of young people who cannot string three words together to make a sentence. Hence a recent decision of the NSW government to go back to the 3R’s (reading, writing & ‘rithmetic). Young peoples writing is also dependant on how they hold the writing implement which sometimes appears that the writer is a contortionist. Us oldies were taught to write correctly and it is a great pity that the tradition has died.
    John

  2. 2 Nick Culjak 27 October 2005 at 21:18

    I was educated with the card using the sloping lines and my writing is extremely uniform. The card should be made mandatory across the western world! We should form a lobby group to push for its re-introduction!I have always found that handwriting varies from individual to individual. I do admire the way Europeans write numbers, especially those who draw a line through the seven. Those who have been eductaed in the former eastern bloc generally have beautiful handwriting. Very uniform. ;)

  3. 3 Writers Anonymous 26 November 2005 at 18:07

    Dear Cesar,
    I have horrible handwriting and have recently taken up calligraphy in an attempt to improve it. However, I soon learned that handwriting and calligraphy are two totally different things. One can have reasonable calligraphy yet still have horrible handwriting (as I have). Calligraphy is more like drawing, an artform in itself, where every letter has to be thought about and care taken to shape, slope and dispense the correct amount of ink from the nib pen. Handwriting is more an “every-day” style of cooking rather than a speacial occasion and therefore (as in my case) is often rushed with no thought given to it.


  1. 1 2010 in review « Nothing Ever Happens 2 Trackback on 2 January 2011 at 20:41

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Cesar Gonzalez-Perez

Cesar Gonzalez-Perez

Semantic Technologies for Cultural Heritage

I am a Staff Scientist at the Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), where I lead a co-research line in software engineering and cultural heritage. The ultimate goal of my work is to develop the necessary theories, methodologies and technologies to help us ascribe meaning to the information that we manage in the cultural heritage realm. Previously I have worked at a number of public and private organisations in Spain and Australia, both in industry and academia, and in the fields of conceptual modelling, metamodelling and method engineering. I have started three technology-based companies, I am an elected member of the steering committee of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) association, and I have written over 50 academic publications and 3 books.


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