Sunday, August 31, 2008

Confessions of a cursive dunce

I can't read cursive. Never learned it. Can't write it either.

Instead of cursive, my school district taught something called duvall. Duvall is a system of connecting letters together, similar to cursive ... but different. Don't ask me why they thought it would be a good idea to leave us students ignorant of the type of handwriting implemented by the rest of the English-writing world. Apparently, someone caught the reformist bug.

According to this letter to the editor of Northwest News, my district stopped teaching cursive in favor of duvall around 1985—which would have been about the time I went through the district. Duvall is the sort of useless junk that you don't use outside of the learning environment. It's difficult and time-consuming. So, once I finished grade school, I completely forgot it.

Occasionally, this little educational quirk causes some confusion for me. Sometimes at work I'll have to ask someone to interpret a note they left for me. I've received quite a few cards from grandma, the contents of which have left me guessing. But usually, it's not a big deal.

When I signed in to take the GREs, the proctor gave me some forms to read and sign. Part of the official process is to copy down a statement in "your best cursive handwriting" ... of which I have none. So, I had to sit there and fake what I imagined to be cursive handwriting from what I've seen other people do.

I'm sure it won't have any consequences for my test scores, but it was an odd experience, nonetheless.

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