Is Your Writing Giving You Away?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Do you know how to write in another language?  Sometimes just learning the alphabet or characters and how to spell the words isn’t enough.  Some languages have small differences that one might not take into account when first writing in another language.

In Russian, handwriting is written at an angle instead of vertically like English.  The picture above illustrates standard paper for children to learn their handwriting.  Children who are learning to write Russian use paper with slants on it to train them to write at an angle.  Often when I write Russian I write the characters, looping them together perfectly (another difference between cursive English and cursive Russian) but mine often stand straight up and down.

Anyone who knows about the Russian slant would immediately know I were a foreigner just by reading my writing, no matter who perfect my spelling or grammar.  Other languages have more noticeable differences.  Some languages are written left to right or even vertically.  As an English speaker I am not conscious of the fact that I’m writing right to left, it’s second nature to me.

What other differences could there be in languages that we never pay attention to?