https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Another benefit from learning a new language!

I would like to share with you an unexpected skill that happened when I started to learn a second language.

Excellent handwriting!

That’s correct. I noticed when I started writing Spanish words or phrases in my notebook, I had trouble reading what I wrote. Not a problem in my native language (English). Even misspelled words can be figured out quickly. But in a foreign language you have to be precise in your writing to understand and remember the foreign words you are learning. Accuracy and precision improves learning a foreign language.

What to do?

I remembered back to my youth. In grade school and high school I was always proud of my handwriting. Friends, family and teachers noticed it and complimented me. I had forgotten the simple pleasure of handwriting with precision. Now, so many years later, everything is typed on a device or entered from voice. Handwritten notes are almost illegible to anyone but the writer. Mine included. I decided to relearn good handwriting while I learned a new language. I went online to find resources and I started on my dual learning path with a new enthusiasm.

It is now sixteen months from the start of my mission. My Spanish is coming along much better than I ever imagined. I want to travel through South America and be able to speak with the people. I think I could do it now, but as I learn more I can see that I still need more study time. I can figure out what I want to say, but it just takes a little too long to get it out of my mouth. I’m committed to this though, so I don’t fret.

Now about my handwriting. It is absolutely perfect. Within a month of dedicated practice, I was back to the skill I had in school and within six months I was learning calligraphy. I kept the calligraphy a secret from my wife and surprised here with a seven page letter on Valentine’s Day last year. I was able to hide it because I would only practice it in my office. She couldn’t believe it. Instead of emails for remembering important times in our lives, I hand write letters to family and friends now. Almost everyone at first thinks that the letters are typed with a calligraphy font. They are surprised to learn that I hand write them. Each person tells me that they will keep my letter forever. When I visit my three children (all grown and living on their own) I noticed in each of their homes that my letters, some written over a year ago, are out on a bookcase or coffee table. They enjoy the effort, thoughtfulness and beauty of handwritten letters. Emails would have been gone in a minute.

So, that’s what I wanted to share with my Duolingo classmates. I am getting up in my years and if there is any advice I can pass along to younger people, it is this:

Don’t stop learning and improving yourself every day. It will keep you young and definitely more fun. If you can piggyback learning with other interests or improvements to your life you will multiply your happiness. I know, I’ve been doing it for years through the many different hobbies and skills that I have learned and continue to enjoy so much.

Kindest regards,

Jeff

January 31, 2019

55 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Leafhuntress
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 83

What an absolutely beautiful post.

I have noticed my handwriting deteriorate, quite quickly after leaving school. Indeed everything happens via machines & without daily note-taking i lost what i had. My handwriting was never as beautiful as other girls'. Then i had a job where i had to inform others of things that happened, so my handwriting needed to be legible. And it did come back to me, until i left that job. Because of Duo i am note taking again & like you said, i actually have to pay attention to what i write. Particularly with Mandarin, the script is a bit daunting. My father is infamous for not understanding his own notes, let alone the rest of us. I do not want to be like that.

To become better i could perhaps take on letterwriting again. That is a very nice suggestion, thank you! One i think would be appreciated especially by elderly family & friends.

¡Buenos días y gracias! Leafs

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thank you Leafs. My day is better now.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LanguageButcher

My handwriting is awful. Can you share your handwriting resources?

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

I started with simple grade school cursive alphabet charts. It had each letter and arrows would show you the correct direction and path. Search "alphabet letters" and you'll find some free printable charts and lined paper. After a while I wanted to up the game and stumbled upon "Spencerian Handwriting." This was a college level course in handwriting that I think dates back to the mid-1800s. I practiced a single letter each day for 26 days until each was memorized in my head and also memorized in my hand. I think you can buy the courses relatively cheap on eBay, Amazon etc. The courses are more like pamphlets and are reprints of the original from over 150 years ago. Very cool looking compared to today's graphics. Once you start that course you'll see "calligraphy" styled writing in the old signatures etc. Stylized signatures was a big deal back then and I actually altered my signature so it was legible and had a little flair. I kept my old signature for legal, passport, drivers license and banking docs etc. Changing my legal signature, I suppose, could cause problems. It's not a simple process, but it's not that difficult either. There is a lot on youtube.

Buena suerte,

Jeff

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LanguageButcher

Muchas gracias.

For those who are interested. I found this site with the 30-day worksheets.

https://bydawnnicole.com/30-days-spencerian-script-style-worksheets/

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Francis704529

I had a very similar experience. I was never able to write in cursive. We spent one year on it in 3rd grade and I never picked it up then, and I never saw a reason to pick it up after that.

That all changed when I studied Russian in college. Handwritten Russian is in cursive script, so I had to learn how to write in cursive. Not only did I learn to write in Russian cursive, I taught myself English cursive and now have a deep appreciation for it. I went from not being able to write really anything in cursive to pretty much solely writing in cursive. It’s amazing how studying language changed my opinion of something from being completely pointless to being absolutely beautiful.

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

You totally get what I am saying. Keep it up, Jeff

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregorio709933

There is a certain connection by writing by hand and I agree that to keep the mind sharp as we age it is important to do new things, building neural connections as we go. It staves off Alzheimer's and prevents a lot of problems later on in life if we do crossword puzzles (but not looking at the answers in the other part of the paper), jigsaw puzzles and learning a language. I am 57 years old now and still learning and whole-heartedly agree with you on this. There are stories out there of older people who have achieved great things at advanced ages. Pablo Casals comes to mind for me as I think he became famous in his later years.

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertPlummer

From another aged learner this is some great advice. Have a few lingots.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Gracias

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Prometheus369

Just enjoying reading your Post! Really glad that you share with everyone that your experience & wisdom(in certain way) always glad to hear older generation thouts! I have as one of my life goal to improve my Handwriting, just because it's a skill & we can learn and improve ourselves in everything...but unfortunately by the years I never isolate some daily time to practice it... Also the first thought I guess everyone have is where to start, or how to start... But now I will definitely investigate it & start practice...i agree completely with you about don't stop learning, improving yourself, etc Any success or results will come with Goals, Disciple,Commitment & daily consistency... One more time thank your for the share. Hope that you continue share your thouths wiht World. Best Regards!!!

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

See my response to LanguageButcher above. That's how I began relearning handwriting. Jeff

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/spottyhorse
  • 25
  • 21
  • 16
  • 10
  • 9
  • 2
  • 71

I was thinking only today that my handwriting had deteriorated and your timely post has inspired me to take steps to improve it. I'm particularly motivated by the idea of calligraphy and creating handwritten items that people would want to keep. Thank you, Jeff!

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CatherineHawkins

Such an uplifting post. Good habits and good habits of mind tend to lead to more good habits. Thank you for posting!

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Dave611218

I kinda wish you'd written your post in calligraphy and then posted a link to the image...

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Dave, I'd love to. How do I do it?

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

I think I know how. I'll figure our a link to Dropbox and try an post a working link. J

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074
February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeyIsAGoat.

Gorgious! Wow!

February 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/compsognathus
  • 20
  • 13
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 4

That's wonderful, what a pleasure to read!! Thank you so much for sharing. I hope my writing gets better too :D

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

You're welcome. Trust me, your handwriting will get better if you just take a little more time to form the letters. You wouldn't believe how bad mine was before I decided to fix it.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/compsognathus
  • 20
  • 13
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 4

Mine is pretty messy too! I do rush a lot when writing, so that's definitely one of my problems!

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AndresGarner
  • 25
  • 14
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 117

Thanks for sharing.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

It is my pleasure.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/hjh414399

What a brilliant idea! I too noticed that when I was checking my notes in Spanish that I had difficulty in reading my writing. I actually have trouble reading my writing in English too! So I had started to print my notes but I know that you have a better idea Jeff because it is a solution not a "binder twine work around". So off to You Tube to find resources for handwriting! Many thanks for the idea and an interesting post! Soon you'll be doing the invitations for family weddings, parities and etc! Will this become a new business? I'll have to warn the Canada geese in local parks to watch out for you when you are searching for new quills for your pens!! :-))

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thanks for your kind words. I don't plan on making a living from calligraphy, but I have been making placeholders for the dinner parties my wife and I enjoy. She's the chef, I'm the bartender. Good luck with your handwriting.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Judy_Blue_Eyes
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 924

Loving your post!

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

That's sweet Judy Blue Eyes. Sorry I couldn't resist that one.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JosephOost1

wow that is suprising

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

No one is more surprised than I am. J

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/malrod

That's good to hear. I have some people I write from time to time so my hand writing is decent, but it would be nice (and good practice) to write in a different language.

I also agree that people shouldn't stop learning and improving yourself every day.

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thanks. Ramp up your handwriting and then send a letter to your friends. Trust me they will notice. One thing about calligraphy or stylized handwriting is its "shelf life" and people like to show it to others. I wrote a letter to a friend that was having a personal problem and she said she had to hide the letter because everyone was interested in it because of the handwriting on the envelope. That's when I discovered that people would keep the letters out and show them to friends. So, be careful what you write because your letters will be passed around. (;-)

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/george.vlachos

good point ! don't forget 'verba volent, scripta manent' :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verba_volant,_scripta_manent

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Brilliant!

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LUClFERA

Never thought of that but that's a great point! I guess if you write the foreign word sloppy you might never know it's wrong. I'll definitely keep this in mind. Thanks Jeff :)

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

De nada.

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/minton123

ok cool

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Papa_fork

I should start practicing my handwriting, mine is absolutely horrible

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Do it. You'll be happy you did. Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CardinalsFan12

Nice

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thanks

January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CharushMin

Wow! This is very helpful...thanks for suggesting this great advice! :)

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Es un placer. Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mai-Samy

Hola Jeff , Mucho gusto , I am studying Spanish that times , wish me luck and Gracis for that sharing your experiment , can I be one of Spanish Duolingo classes ?

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thank you. I don't actually have a class, I was referring to classmates in general in one of my replies. Is that what you are talking about? Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexa362217
  • 12
  • 11
  • 5
  • 2
  • 78

a beautiful post indeed, sir : ) Thanks for sharing your story

As you said handwritten stuff .......well its unbeatable I used to do such things all the time. And now I'm ready to get back on track and do calligraphy once again. The thing I was appreciated the most for back in school. : )

THANKS once again sir

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

It is my pleasure. Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/george.vlachos

Hi Jeff, that is really great! I also found that I like writing, even more so since all day I usually type on a keyboard for my job (programmer) and some time ago I decided that I felt rather bad to almost having forgotten how to write!

I read somewhere that writing in your target language may help the learning process as well. Also I found that sometimes the process of writing helps me relax and clears my head.

Then I talked with some German friends of mine and they told me about Kurrentschrift an old form of German handwriting. So I have a few days now that I started practicing it :) even though it is not all that practical for today, unless one would like to read old German text written in this form. However I quite enjoy it!

For anyone interested here is some information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurrent

http://www.kurrent-lernen-muecke.de/pdf/Schreiblehrgang%20Kurrentschrift%20%202016-english.pdf

http://www.mikrolisk.de/content/kunst.schrift/deutschekurrent.jpg

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

It is very similar to English script. My son speaks german and he practiced Kurrent in college as part of his degree program. He's is now an attorney in Washington D.C. and has German clients and because of his excellent handwriting, some of them noticed it was in that style. Thanks, Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Dave asked for a link to an example of writing style I'm talking about. Here it is; https://www.dropbox.com/s/ei5uj4pg0ethlf5/IMG_7656.jpg?dl=0

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

The file seems to be a bit large so it may take a few seconds to upload. I did this in a bit of haste, but you'll get the idea.

Jeff

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Papa_fork

Looks absolutely fantistic Jeff!

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jack668872
  • 20
  • 10
  • 223

That is a great post Jeff. Thank you very much.

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff148074

Thanks, J

February 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/wcoles

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sharing. I have noticed my own handwriting skills have really diminished over the years. Almost everything is done on a keyboard now. Though I do keep a notebook for my Spanish learning in addition to using digital resources. Reading your post has inspired me to spend some focused practice time on my handwriting.

By the way, the example you posted looks beautiful, Great job!

February 3, 2019
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.