The Way Rs are Written
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I don't know if this is the right group to discuss this, but I'm puzzled by the way lower-case r are written.
When at school in France in the 1950s, I learned to write them with an upward, slant-rightward stroke followed by a nice loop to continue almost horizontaly to the right, then a downward stroke ending with a curve to accommodate the following letter. (I wonder if all this makes sense; try yourself with a pen.)
Then, under the influence of a German pen-friend when I was a teenager, I changed this in about 50% of the cases to use a script "r".
A few years ago, I noticed a new change in "r writing" in papers collected from my students: instead of using "r", they now very often write something which looks as "R", even in the middle of a word when they should use a lower-case letter.
This habit is now more and more widespread—at least in France—and I now notice it on hand-written menus in restaurants, at the grocer's, at the butcher's, etc. When I enquire why, nobody can give me an explanation.
I tend to think that this "r writing" with a capital R instead of r could come from the USA or from the UK. Any thoughts about it?
It's hardly a scientific sample, but I've almost never seen this in the US.
Never seen this. Kids where I live in the US, in public schools, are still taught the way you describe - upward, slant-rightward stroke followed by a nice loop to continue almost horizontally to the right, then a downward stroke ending with a curve to accommodate the following letter.
Here is Wikipedia's take on (American) cursive writing.
Here is the Palmer method, an older American technique.
Here are some samples for various (fairly similar) choices for (American) home-schoolers.
Sütterlin, which you'll encounter from German documents from the 20th century, has a distinctive lowercase r, but not much as you describe.
Can you (easily) find any Flickr samples?
I'm from the U.S.
When I print my lower case letters are just smaller versions of capital letters.
My cursive lower case r starts out like a lower case n. The first hump is exactly the same but then the line goes straight up slightly higher then the first hump and then horizontal to the next letter. Not sure where I picked that up but I think it was in late grade school.
When I was in gradeschool, I found the lowercase cursive "r" impossible. It made me so angry because if I did it "right" it looked awful.
Now my lowercase r's look a lot like the lowercase Russian cursive "L" (л).
But anyway. No one I know makes the cursive r like a little R, and I was not taught that in a US school in the early 90's.
#5: If I understand correctly, your way to write "r" is what I called "script r". I use it myself in 50% of cases, depending on the context.
#4: Nice links. (I've always found Sütterlin writing terrible!) What do you mean by Flickr samples?
In my first post, I forgot to say that the capital R used by my French students (and now in shops!) is not a large upper-case character. It is aprox. the same height as lower-case characters, though perhaps just slightly larger. A kind of "small capital". Keep your eyes open and tell me if you see this elsewhere in the world!
> 7 What do you mean by Flickr samples?
Sorry for being unclear. I meant is it easy for you to find and link to some online photos of restaurant or greengrocer signs with this odd new form? Perhaps there is a shop nearby that always does it, whose name you could search for. Not as a major undertaking, of course, since your description was clear.
#8: Will explore the possibility. But perhaps easier for me to include one or two photos in this thread, just to prove I'm not "a liar and a false traitor" (Shakespeare, R. II, I, 2).
As a college student in America who does a lot of reading of my peers' work, I've noticed a lot of different handwriting styles. Few of my classmates write in cursive script anymore, it seems; most seem to be at various points on a continuum between printing and scrawling. I've noticed some people who print are very lax about whether they're using lowercase or uppercase letters (perhaps this is due to using computers more, or the fairly widespread use of 'small-caps'). N, R, and T are some of the letters that seem to end up substituted the most often. I don't know why this is, and I don't believe it's a conscious choice in most cases...perhaps it is simply that their uppercase forms are much more distinctive than the lowercase version?
I'm an anglophone who until recently spent a lot of time reading handwritten exam papers by French university students. Yes, I can confirm the change you mention, though in my experience, it still concerns a minority sample.
An unfortunate irony of this development is that in teaching English style and convention to French speakers, I'd spent time reminding students that we use capitalization much more in English than in French...but perversely, now capitalization suddenly appeared in unexpected and unnecessary places, notably with "R".
To people who haven't experienced this first-hand, it probably sounds fussy. Maybe excessively so. But the effect can be jarring. Although I can't reproduce handwriting in this forum, an example would be writing the word "American" as follows:
A ha! I'll keep my eyes peeled (odd expression) when I'm at the butcher and green-grocer shops this morning. I already carry a piece of chalk, eraser and marker pen - for dealing with egregious apostrophes.
I'm English and educated in England. My lowercase R looks like the R in the Victoria/Victorian sample on MMcM's third link.
Here is a link showing the kind of handwriting (called italic) I was taught. However schools in the UK do not all teach handwriting using the same copybooks and many systems are in current use - including print script.
However surveys show that round hand is more popular most places except Wales where looped cursive (although this sample might be clearer) is also popular.
If you look at all three of those the lowercase R are all more similar to each other than the examples shown in the US handwriting systems earlier.
At least, krolik's post proves I haven't dreamed. I was beginning to wonder if this was a peculiarity of my students' handwriting.
the effect can be jarring: Actually I *hate* these R, though I cannot explain why!
I was educated in Australia and my "r" looks exactly like the NSW one in MMcM's third link. Not surprising really seeing as I was educated in NSW (sort of). In fact, all three Australian examples (Victoria, NSW and Queensland) were very similar, and I encountered the same style in England when I lived there. My grandmother's "r" looks like the example in MMcM's first post but that style of writing had gone out of fashion even by the time my parents attended school in the 60s.
As for the use of the upper case R in the middle of words, I have never encountered it. It must be a local variation.
I got the New South Wales script as well (no surprise, given I went through the same education system as dreamlikecheese, I think). I thought I'd be fancy at one stage and used some of the other cursive styles for r, s, f and z, but was told to quit it - my handwriting was messy enough without adding to it. These days I use a mixture of cursives - my r still looks like a print r, but my 'f's and 's's are more traditional. I wouldn't dream of interpolating capital letters. It looks ugly to my eye, and on a university level paper would make me less willing to give a high mark.
My scrawl is a different thing altogether. I have lots of bizarre ligatures and run everything together. Others can't read it.
Here are some examples, from exam papers, correspondence, and a short walk in the streets last Saturday. I had only some 30 exam papers at hand (from the past University year), and scrutinizing them showed that I was wrong in stating that capital-R writing was widespread, because I could find only one clear example (first example below). It seems to me that it was more common in the past years. At the same time, I was amazed to see many examples at the market and in the streets. From this, one could perhaps conclude that my former students have found work in shops or sell vegetables...
Female student paper.
Male student paper: "r"s have a classical shape, but there is an interesting variation here, with upper-case "N"s instead of "n"s.
From a publishing house.
From a 30-year-old female journalist.
From a 30-year-old male engineer.
On the market: Pommes de teRRes
On the market: CaRottes
On the market: PoivRons
At the grocer's: HeRbes fRaiches...
At an art workshop: DécoRation...
At a flower shop: RosieRs gRimpants - RosieRs aRbustifs
In a shop window. This last example shows that this way of writing "R"s lately subrepticiously crept into the design of fonts used in advertisements...
I wonder if it's got something to do with distinguishing from other letters... since my handwriting's half cursive and half print, I worry sometimes about my r's and n's being confused.
I have to say that second example looks like the standard way of writing cursive lower-case r's. Maybe they're a little rushed so they come out with only one bump in some cases, but they don't look anything like upper-case R's.
That font is also on their web site in the logo: http://www.cache-cache.fr/
Well Pepys, I'm thrilled with myself that despite it having been 30 years since I last studied French I can actually understand your examples. It also reminded me that I need to go grocery shopping. ;-) My experience in looking at many hand written job applications in the states, is that most of the candidates use an upper case R when printing because of concern over their own poor handwriting. Frequently I see everything written in upper case with the first letter of a sentence slightly larger than the rest.
#19: Of course, jjwilson61, I forgot to say that my second example shows correct "r"s. I only included it to show these interesting "N"s in the middle of words. Perhaps another shift in writing?
At least, if they are indeed capitals, they're small caps, which doesn't have the jarring look I thought it would.
Are you sure it is only because of "concern over their own poor handwriting?" I favor small caps when printing because I like the way it looks. Of course whichever way I start (lowercase or small caps), I'll occasionally (embarrassingly) switch to the other in the middle of a word if I'm not paying attention.
I only know what a few of them have told me by way of explanation. I've been told by many more than one that they wanted to make sure we were able to read it, and that wouldn't have been possible, in their opinion, if they had written in longhand. Though personally being an ex-teacher I can read almost anyone's scrawl. I do think that think you can pick up on some indications of personality, education, etc. by someone's handwriting. I once worked for a man who believed in graphology and who would try to analyze candidates by their handwriting, which for me, was going a little too far.
I always use all-caps on forms, taught by my engineer father to print in caps whenever I really didn't want a single letter misunderstood. Of course, my uppercase letters are still lots messier than his but what can you do.
I found the small-caps "n"s in the example above very striking, ugh!
To over-generalize, gender and profession are often something you can pick out. Younger women are especially fond of big fat letters with extra curlicues. Men most often have the most illegible writing with the exception of accountants and architects. Engineers do tend to print because their longhand is atrocious and usually they can't spell, but that doesn't seem to interfere with their technical ability. Designers and other artsy sorts tend to come up with some unique lettering. Of course, there are always exceptions.
I had an introduction to drafting course in junior high and learned the proper alphabet to use to annotate my drawings, which was an all-caps alphabet. Most of the engineering documents I've seen bring back memories of that class. I believe the clarity of that method is what attracts me to it these days for filling out shorter forms.
Upon leafing through my notebook where I jot down the things I need to do for clients & record notes of conversations, I see that I mix all 3 styles of writing. All caps printing, lower caps printing & script. It's all legible though.
De-lurking for a moment to comment on All-Caps writing. As the daughter of an architect, I grew up admiring his beautiful all-caps writing. As trollsdotter said, drafters and architects were taught that way in school. My native handwriting, both print and script/cursive, were so messy (I once had a teacher tell me that it looked like 9 chickens had had diarrhea on my paper) that I eventually adopted my father's all-caps (actually, more of a 'small-caps') style.
Then, of course, my dad told me that they had stopped having architect's print in all-caps because people read it slower than they do normal print. Though perhaps it would be better if people read things slower as they might skim less and fully take in the instructions on the page? In either case, I don't have to write by hand nearly as much as I used to (writing checks and jotting down notes, mostly). If it is for someone else and needs to be legible, I mostly go for small-caps. If it is for myself it ends up being a random mixed scrawl of print/caps/cursive. I have never been very good at script/cursive writing, though. I went on a trip in 3rd grade and missed learning the end of the cursive alphabet and apparently a lot of the capital letters because I can never remember how to write them properly.
I come back to my initial suspicion that "r" written as "R" could have an anglo-saxon origin (see my first post), with a new example of mixing small-caps and lower-case letters discovered at the top and bottom of
this page. Puzzling?
That font is named Oxford. From Adobe (hope that link works):
Oxford was designed by Arthur Baker for Agfa Compugraphic in 1989. A calligraphic typeface with a slight incline, fine lines, and delicate serifs, Oxford is easily identified by its quirky lowercase b.
OK, it's been a decade since I retired and better than two decades since I was teaching English, where I saw lots of writing, but I don't recall ever seeing something like that. (German students didn't do as much extensive cursive writing for me and sometimes they half-printed, possibly because they were often filling in part of a sentence).
What I have noticed has been that my German correspondents generally use a different cursive r than I learned.
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