Cursive script for the Roman alphabet can vary from country to country and can reveal much about where and how you were taught, writes Adrienne Bernhard.
Cursive eulogies are everywhere these days, but the fact is, everyone still writes. Grocery lists, medical prescriptions, even love letters are penned by hand – we just tend to use scribbly, un-joined print rather than the fancy longforms of the past. Script, which once dominated daily affairs and correspondence, is today reserved for the solemn formality of diplomas and wedding invitations. On those rare occasions when we do trade the keyboard for the quill, there’s the nagging worry readers will find our scrawl totally illegible, or at the very least unconventional.
In fact, variations between individual letterform styles shouldn’t be written off (pardon the pun) as mere personality quirks: there are, it turns out, recognisable and consistent differences in handwriting among nationalities – cultural fingerprints that tell a story between the lines. Just as Italic (a slightly sloped cursive) varied across cultures and over centuries, modern handwriting features regional idiosyncrasies that persist in our digital landscape. At a time when cultural differences seem to be diminishing, letterforms often still distinguish a country and its borders, much like regional cuisine or local currency once did.