The Art of Penmenship

Language has existed for at least 80,000 years. It originated because people talked. Writing came along much later. And as history has gone by there has been a bleed between reading and writing.

Back in the past people used to speak as they wrote. If you can speak as you write then logically you might want to write as you speak. In the past, the sheer material mechanics of writing imposed a limitation on what you could communicate and how fast. With the invention of typewriters, you could now type as fast as you spoke, but you still needed someone who could receive your message just as quickly. Now that technology is in your pocket, we have the perfect conditions to write like we speak.

Recap from John McWhorter’s Ted Talk

If we look at the timeline of language it has gone from: Spoken > Written > Digital. Writing or penmanship isn’t paramount for idea sharing- it is one medium of sharing language.*

I enjoy physically writing letters. And even though I understand penmanship will slowly but surely become a lost art, I take solace in that fact that change takes time — and as always: it will be ok.


*Quote from Freakonomics: Who Needs Handwriting? 

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