The Direction Of Writing

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Yvonne Smith, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I was listening to an interview tonight and he was talking about how some languages are read from right to left, some from left to right, and he explained what could be the reason for that.
    He said that at one time, people wrote in any direction because the letters were pictures that were symbols.
    He said that if the writer was using a pen or brush (and was right handed) then he would usually write from left to right so as not to smear the ink.
    But if the person was chiseling into rock, then he would have the chisel in the left hand and the hammer in his right hand; so then he would chisel from right to left.
    I had never thought about that before, and it might not have stayed that way always, because more places strted writing with ink and not chiseling on rocks.
     
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  2. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Being left-handed, it always struck me that it would be a lot easier for us lefties if we could write from right to left. When I was at school, we had to use fountain pens and for a left-hander, going from left to right on a page without making a complete mess of things was quite a tricky business.
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I am left-handed when I write as well; and I also used a fountain pen in school, and often managed to smear the ink on both the paper and on my hand or arm, no matter how careful I tried to be.
    Since I am ambidextrous; I tried writing on the blackboard with my right hand, and discovered that even though I could not write on paper that way, I was able to do it when writing on the blackboard.
    Many things I can do with either hand, and others only right-handed; so when learning something new, I just try it out and see which hand works best.
     
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  4. Hannah Davis

    Hannah Davis Active Member
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    Yes, one of the hang ups of being left handed we smear the ink when we write. I have dealt with this for a long time myself because I am also left handed. Although, I can't actually imagine writing anything from right to left. I guess that's because I was taught to write from left to right, even if my writing in general wasn't the most attractive thing to look at. Oh who am I fooling I had terrible cursive writing, but I was told that tthis was also because of me being left handed. I guess cursive writing was designed for right handed people in mind.
     
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  5. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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  6. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Of course, those of us who are left-handed make great use of the right side of our brains, therefore it can be said with absolute certainty that left-handed people are in their right minds...
     
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  7. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Sometimes I wonder why some people are left-handed and most are right-handed. Is it the design of the world that's why children are taught to be right-handed or it's just simply part of human nature to be right-handed? I have met people who are ambidextrous - they can write with either hand with ease. Our former housemaid is left-handed but she eats using her right hand. I know of a person who is right-handed but is so adept with the left hand when texting on the phone. That use of a particular hand sometimes is a mystery to me.
     
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  8. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    That does make sense when you consider that most of the languages which go from right to left derive from ancient times in the Middle East when words would have been cut into stone tablets before paper came into use or was widely available. Paper requires water to process the wood pulp so it would obviously not have been available in a desert region where there were more rocks.

    I have an Egyptian friend who writes perfectly well in English, but when he writes in his own language it looks odd to me. Also his books and magazines start at what we would think of as the end page or back cover.
     
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  9. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Of course, it is not so long ago that people were forced into being right-handed. My father, born in 1910, was naturally left-handed, but was made to write right-handed at school. I know that when I worked in Ethiopia and Eritrea, I had to eat food with my right hand if I was having a shared meal with other people. There was no evidence that anyone was forced to write right-handed, but it gave a glimpse into the dominance of the right-handed world!
     
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  10. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    really? I knew other cultures wrote right to left, but I had no idea they started at the back of the book. Or what we consider the back, anyway.

    I could get used to reading right to left, but never starting at the back of the book.
     
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  11. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    Hmmm... interesting. Maybe Moses was right-handed :)-- chisel on left, hammer on right. He wrote the Torah. Hebrew writing reads from right to left. Or, maybe every 'yod and tittle' has a meaning and direction writing and reading them from right to left significantly? Interesting.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
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  12. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    That Moses thing gave me a laugh, hahahaaa. But you have used logic and I agree because how can you write with the chisel when you are right-handed? Whatever. But I know of several sculptors who are left-handed when they write and eat and more likely they use the left hand when sculpting. With visual artists I know, the ratio is about 4 in 10 that the artist is left-handed. And they say (those left-handed artists) that you are a good painter if you are left-handed.
     
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  13. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    The difference between being left or right handed and it effects on art, never occurred to me. Its something to think about. I wonder if it has anything to do with which side of the brain a left handed person is being controlled by.
     
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