Cursive, also known as script, joined-up writing, joint writing, running writing, or handwriting is any style of penmanship in which the symbols of the language are written in a conjoined and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster. However, not all cursive copybooks join all letters. Formal cursive is generally joined, but casual cursive is a combination of joins and pen lifts. In the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic alphabets, many or all letters in a word are connected, sometimes making a word one single complex stroke.
While the terms cursive or script are popular in the United States for describing this style of writing the Latin script, this term is rarely used elsewhere. Joined-up writing is more popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. The term handwriting is common in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Cursive is considered distinct from printscript, in which the letters of a word are unconnected and in Roman/Gothic letterform rather than joined-up script. Printscript is also commonly called "manuscript", "block letter", "print writing", "block writing" (and sometimes simply "print" which confusingly also refers to mechanical printing).
A distinction is also made between cursive and "italic" penmanship, in which some ascenders and descenders of cursive have loops which provide for joins and italic which is derived from chancery cursive, which mostly uses non-looped joins or no joins. There are no joins from g, j, q or y, and a few other joins are discouraged. Italic penmanship became popular in the 15th century Italian Renaissance. The term "italic" as it relates to handwriting is not to be confused with typed letters that slant forward. Many, but not all letters in the handwriting of the Renaissance were joined, as they are today in italic.
In Hebrew cursive and Roman cursive, the letters are not connected. In the research domain of handwriting recognition, this writing style is called connected cursive, to indicate the difference between the phenomenon of italic and sloppy appearance of individual letters (cursive) and the phenomenon of connecting strokes between letters, i. e., a letter-to-letter transition without a pen lift (connected cursive).
The origin of the cursive method is associated with practical advantages of writing speed and infrequent pen lifting to accommodate the limitations of the quill. Quills are fragile, easily broken, and will spatter unless used properly. Steel dip pens followed quills; they were sturdier, but still had some limitations. The individuality of the provenance of a document was a factor also, as opposed to machine font.
In the following exercise, students write their first or middle names in cursive across a folded 8 1/2 x 11inch, white piece of typing paper. They may use a pencil to start with and then trace over their name with a black marker. Then allow them to turn their paper over and trace their cursive name on the back side of the folded paper in order to shape an "alien" outline. They will need to do this tracing either on a light table or a window. Students may then spin their names around and decide which vertical application will look best as an alien.
|The names, Natalie and Hannah written in cursive.|
|The finished aliens found in the girls' names. Add fins, tails, teeth, antenna, and giant eyeballs to decorate your cursive alien names.|