[LMB] OT: language writing direction (was HANDEDNESS)

Eric Oppen technomad at intergate.com
Sat Sep 24 17:50:56 BST 2011


Quoting "A. Marina Fournier" <saffronrose at me.com>:

> On Sep 23, 2011, at 6:09 AM, Harimad wrote:
>> Both countries historically insisted on right-handed writing with   
>> brushes, which makes vertical text the logical choice.
>
>
> Certainly. If a righthander is doing "wet" Western calligraphy/fancy  
>  writing with a pen, going L->R makes a lot of sense. If you're   
> lefthanded, it makes more sense to go R->L, if only in terms of not   
> smearing wet ink. However, in most countries where Arabic writing is  
>  standard, being lefthanded is not an easy thing, due to cultural   
> prejudices/preconceptions. When I see a lefthander from India,   
> Pakistan or Bangladesh, from any of the Arabic-speaking countries, I  
>  usually ask what their experience in childhood had been once it was  
>  obvious they were left-handed.
>
> Given the perceived primary usage for that hand, reaching into a   
> mutual snack bowl is "unclean". In my teens, we visited a Pakistani   
> merchant vessel, and our hosts were visibly disturbed at my reaching  
>  for food with my left-hand. As it was, I stopped eating shortly   
> thereafter when I spotted a beetle or two in the dish.  Which was   
> more unclean, especially given that I don't use my left for bathroom  
>  purposed AND that I was my hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
>
> One day when we were still living in Santa Cruz, and I was waiting   
> for the summer day camp to finish, I fell to talking with an Indian   
> or Sri Lankan man about his childhood as a lefty. He laughed, and   
> said he was considered retarded, but that he had done very well in   
> college (ITT?), and went on to make more money than any of his   
> siblings.

When I was in Taiwan, my host family's children (age 5 and 6) always  
found it fascinating to watch me writing, left-handed.  The adults  
were just gobsmacked that I _could_ write Chinese at all, even with  
p*ss-poor handwriting by their standards.

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