What your handwriting says about you

What your handwriting says about you


The odes to handwriting, which supposedly died at the hands of keyboards and phones, abound, but the truth is that everyone continues to write.

There are shopping lists, cooking recipes or love letters that are still written by hand.

When we put aside the keyboard and take the pen, we can invade the worry about whether others will understand our scribbles.

It’s not just about the differences between our writing and those of other people. Also the manual writing varies depending on the country where we learned it. And in this sense, your writing can be revealing.

Nationality of the letter

There are certain cultural traces in our writing that tell the story of our nationality.

The shape of the letters reveals what country comes n and what are its borders, as does the kitchen or currency.

A letter from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
Copyright of the WIKIPEDIA image
Image caption The letters of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn have been analyzed in detail.

The cursive style comes from the Latin currere (running), and refers to writing by joining the letters of each word.

And depending on the country in which you learned to write, there are features that differentiate your handwriting.

For example, if you grew up in the United Kingdom in the middle of the 20th century, you may have learned cursive in a loop .

In the United States , the Spencerian style was adopted as the standard model for commercial correspondence, before the use of typewriters became massive. This is an ornate style, which uses round letters leaning to the right.

If you are a millennial and live in Western Australia, your words may tip 80 degrees to the right , while in most of Europe young people write vertically.

Subtle signs

Subtle differences in writing can also be identified.

A calligraphy flat
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image captionCalligraphy plans are no longer common in schools in some countries of the world.

In France , the number seven is always written with a line that crosses it, in order to differentiate it from the one.

But in Canada , the seven appears naked , without any adornment.

In Germany they still teach Schreibschrift , a style of calligraphy in which the lowercase “q” has a decorative touch on the part that descends, so that it is not confused with a nine.

Why learn all these differences?

According to Bob Hurford, historian and member of the International Association of Experts in Writing, Transcribers and Calligraphy Teachers, perhaps everything obeys the eternal search for a formula that allows writing faster .

Since the Middle Ages

The manuscripts of the Middle Ages tell that many styles of writing were developed in monasteries . They were called Texture , which technically was not cursive calligraphy, because the letters were separated from each other.

The Gothic letter, with thick stroke and small letters, was also quite popular at that time. Gutenberg’s Bible was written in Gothic script.

Then they arose hybrid styles like An glycan , which became the most widely used throughout Britain and northern France.

Declaration of Independence of the United States
Copyright of the WIKIPEDIA image
Image John  Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence of the United States, as president of the Second Continental Congress.

In the thirteenth century, the humanist renaissance in Italy invented a new style based on the Carolingian Empire, called tiny Carolingian , with its beautiful arched points and slightly rounded edges.

Almost 200 years later, the printing press allowed masters of calligraphy to massively expand their influence, through books, so that certain styles began to be standardized .

That made the Italic alphabet popular from western Europe, through the Alps to the Iberian Peninsula, France and finally England.

With this influence of the printing press, how could regional patterns be developed in manual writing?

What the letter expresses

Evidently, some manual styles flourished accidentally or arbitrarily .

Others were the result of efforts to imitate the artistic model of the books.

The hand-copied books preserved these differences and soon became part of our national consciousness .

The calligraphy was for a moment a sign of social status , a personal means of expression and a tool of work , particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Calligraphy of money

On the other side of the Atlantic, the changes in calligraphy that took place in the United States responded to the speed of trade .

Spirals in cursive
Copyright of the WIKIPEDIA image
Image captionWill you understand my scribbles? A common question in this era of many text messages and few writings.

For example, the employees of the docks had to write, in a clear and fast way, the invoices of the loads of the ships and the manifests of each ship.

Italic writing was very slow, so it evolved into a simpler style, such as the Copperplate , whose name arose from the technique of the masters of printing to carve the text on a copper plate, and then reproduce it.

We see this style reflected in the Declaration of Independence.

And while the Gothic style lost its rage in England, its use was disappearing from ordinary writing, giving way to new styles driven by industrialization and migration in both Europe and the United States.

Pens vs pens

The pens have a lot to do with calligraphy .

The pens and inkwells were replaced by fountain pens, which were naturally transformed into pens with their internal ink tank.

In 1960, the mass production of ball point pens began, leaving the fountain pens as tools of the past; except in France , where students n ask them to write notes with blue fountain pens .

This may explain why French calligraphy retains its characteristic elegance.

A boy doodling on a paper with a red crayon
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES 
Image caption Handwriting transmits much more than the simple content of the message.

The classic instrument of writing requires greater skill when holding the pen, resulting in an inclined cursive with the letters in the form of a bow.

In contrast, the shape of pens allows for a bolder, more vertical writing , such as has been typified in the American calligraphy.

Back to school

In Australia, young students must write in pencil until they are issued the ” license for pens “: diploma that certifies the mastery of “linked letters that are clearly formed and consistent in size”.

But cursive calligraphy is being displaced from schools . His teaching is no longer needed in most public schools in the United States.

Something similar happens in Finland, where they have also migrated from handwriting courses to typing ones.

But in England they have shown a completely different attitude towards calligraphy. The government of the United Kingdom does not oblige this teaching, so the education system is free to teach its own methods, which include a wide range of styles.


From sculpted stone and manuscripts to electronic mail, handwriting is a phenomenon in constant evolution , leaving many regional shades in danger of extinction.

In that sense, text messages have contributed to the increasing homogeneity of writing.

However, while the printing is opaque, the writing is sincere: word processors can not reveal corrections, squiggles at the margins or the intimacy of handwritten phrases .

The writing is a footprint of oneself on the page “

Rosemary Sassoon, handwriting researcher

“Writing is a footprint of oneself on the page,” says Dr. Rosemary Sassoon, a handwriting researcher.

In fact, handwriting conveys feeling, originality and expressiveness that text messages or emoticons can not match.

In the age of the iPhone, cursive utility may seem doubtful, particularly to younger generations.

A “proportion of adolescents,” says Sassoon, “seems to ignore any trace of the writing model they learned, and develops a personal wording that is almost impossible to distinguish from their peers.”

” It seems that soon it will not be so easy to say the nationality of a writer .”

For now, at least, the differences are easy to detect.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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