Why is cursive used so much to write in Russian? I mean Russian words in print can be hard enough to read with all lowercase letters looking the same size and shape. But just look at these pictures of it!:

And then sometimes I can read it like this:

November 5, 2015


The last one was not written by a native speaker, apparently.

The handwritten shapes are used because they are faster and unlikely to cause much confusion in general. Words in Russian are a tad longer, by the way.

Print shapes would be very hard to read when written by hand. Some of them are not that easy to write, so they get extremely distorted when you write them fast (try ДОМ and then gом). If you are intersted, I might scan some of my "word clouds" I made while planning the skills. I usually wrote in a mix of print and block shapes there, and the lists are not as esilt decipherable as you might expect.

Unlikely to cause much confusion? Did I read that right? I'm thoroughly confused! :-D

I am probably just weird, but I find Russian cursive beautiful. I sort of wish I'd been taught such an attractive form of handwriting in English from an early age.

Maybe we should have a thread for us non natives to practise reading/writing it?

As for me I like Latin cursive much more than Cyrillic, even in my lame performance :-D


Well see, your Latin cursive is really nice. My handwriting was taught as a system that was supposed to be easy but wasn't at all attractive, then it got corrupted by year's of note taking.

If my cursive looked as nice as yours, in either language...

My Russian cursive started quite attractive, and slowly degraded into almost as bad a scrawl as the Latin.

So I guess I am weird too!

It's beautiful, but I can't read it!

I'm pretty sure Latin handwriting doesn't look better if you're not used to it. It's just a matter of practice. You know the words. You know the letters. You know how they can change when writing fast... You intuitively recognize the correct letters even when some of them almost look the same. Well, excluding my French teacher who struggled with my habit to write r and s at the end of a word in a very similar manner.

If you'd had read Cyrillic cursive for so many years and grew up speaking the language, it'd be a breeze for you to read it but you'd probably struggle a bit with Latin handwriting. Same for any other writing system. It takes patience and lots of exposure until it comes to you naturally.

I'm a native Russian speaker, and I always use cursive when writing in Russian but printed letters when writing in English. Can't imagine it otherwise. Russian block letters take too much time to write.

That's how they taught us (and keep teaching the younger generation) at school ))) Cursive Cyrillic and block Latin letters)))

I tried the opposites, and they seemed not as effective when writing fast.

Cursive Latin is fine if you get used to it. Printed Cyrillic, on the other hand...

Can't agree more. Imagine writing all those Д's and Щ's...

While you can get away with writing Д as Δ, Ц and Щ are certainly the most awkward letters. There is simply no way I can make the bottom right corner look nice.

I would write triangles for the D's and cursive shsh's. It wouldn't be THAT slow...

Ha, nice pictures, thanks for sharing! I agree, it would be nice if everyone used written printed format, its easier to understand. Even joined up printed would be better than cursive in my opinion :D but it is what it is and we need to eventually learn cursive sometime if we want to learn Russian properly. At least it should be quicker to write, I don't know how easy it is to read, especially other peoples hand writing.

I can't even read my own handwriting in English :D

You seriously tell me that you can read the second one without any problems!?

I am Bulgarian and we are taught basically the same cursive letters in elementary school, but for me this is just bad handwriting. лилии, милиция and the last one are at least readable, but I find the other two words (лишили and слышишь?) almost as bad as the whole text on the second picture.

Sorry about the rant, but I would expect such handwriting only on medical prescriptions. :D

Actually, having taken a look at it, I can read it, too. It is atrocious but if you know the language, it is easy to decipher. There are only so many words that can look approximately like what you see, which becomes even more of a constraint when you realise that the passage is about society and economy (so you have many words like "state", "regulatory", "rights", "function", "distribution", "citizens" and so on)

I think it works like that for doctors, too: if you know what is likely to be written, the text is rather predictable and does not require a good handwriting to be understood by a professional.

I understand what you mean, but I needed too long to understand the beginning, so I simply gave up on the rest. I guess I just have to become more fluent in Russian... :)

It's infinitely better than what you can receive from the doctors. There are relatively few points where strokes from different words intersect, there are no extra hooks, which greatly improves readability, and the writing is consistent. It gets pretty cryptographic in the last few lines though.

I wouldn't call this handwriting good either, but it could be way way worse.

Почерк всегда может быть более непонятный. :)

Why do you consider лилии better written and easier to read than лишили in that first image?

It is difficult, you are right. But a lot of that is because you are not yet used to it. Just keep plugging along with it, and you'll improve. English handwriting would be very difficult, too, if you were just seeing it for the first time. We make jokes about doctors' handwriting, and so do the Russians. Besides, there is no alternative, really. It's the way Russians write.

For me, small or smeary print can be difficult, too, actually. в н и ц к х л п and combinations of some other letters in print are tough to make out. It sure would be nice if there were more ascenders above the line and descenders below! One thing that will help is that you will soon be getting used to Russian, and lots of letters are ruled out in particular instances, as they just wouldn't make a real Russian word.

It is very beautiful though. Even If you didn't know how to read it, you would be entertained just by staring at it! :)

Wow! Thanks for bringing this up. As for me, I realized that I find it difficult to read Spanish cursive, I was taught it when I was in elementary school, though I never really used it, not even my teachers did.

I wonder what is the difference between "Spanish cursive" and general Latin cursive (used in English, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, etc). Spanish only has one extra letter (ñ).

The Russian series on YouTube from the Dallas ISD teaches the cursive alphabet right from the start. What I found helpful is that the teacher writes out letters and words both. There are a few good videos on YouTube that do this, but this series definitely starts from square one.

Thanks for the link Angie, those videos look very interesting. I found this website from which you can download practice sheets for Cyrillic cursive, to train your hands to make the appropriate moves: If I had started with similar exercises when learning Latin cursive, it might be legible now!

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