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French cursive font

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Dodros, May 17, 2008.

  1. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Yes, indeed. Have a look at my web page about French, German and Spanish cursive handwriting fonts at


    My favourite French cursive fonts are Christian Verchery's Crayon and Plume families, as the name implies, one pencil-like and one penlike font. I've used Plumbal and CrayonL with Year 7 French students of French. They're freely downloadable from the web page.

    Don't bother with the font "French Script". It lacks the loops and joins of real French handwriting. Its characters also differ markedly from the handwriting styles I've seen in traditional French handwriting primers such as Lacroix's "Cahiers d'écriture" (Bordas).

    If you're interested in a research project I did some years ago on the readability of the French handwriting style for school foreign language learners, see:


    And if you still think French handwriting is easy to read, there's an episode in D. H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" when the main character Paul Morel almost fails a job interview when he is asked to translate some French commercial correspondence and almost falls down on the task not because of his French but because of the ornate script. It's my belief that we need to present students with examples of French handwriting to familiarise them with the style. A computer font is an ideal way of giving them lots of input on this score and they can also learn a lot by playing with the font themselves.

    I've already wittered on too long for a Saturday morning and my coffee and muffin at Starbucks await me. However, I couldn't resist responding to a message allowing me to recall my classroom research. If anybody's interested in German, Austrian and Swiss cursive fonts, they are available as computer fonts, but they're not free. Some Spanish cursive fonts ate free, others aren't. The French "instituteurs" who crafted their primary school handwriting fonts have been generous as well as ingenious. Font design is a complex field calling for artistry and dexterity as well as technical knowledge.
  2. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I use one called Cursif which I got as a free download from somewhere!
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

  4. Funnily enough, I used a handwriting task as a starter last week. I teach in quite a challenging school and to settle the kids, I presented them with a little handwriting sheet like the ones that the children learn to write with in France. The children were absolutely fascinated by the task and seemed to enjoy it. And they thought they were being really clever "codebreakers" when they had to read sentences in the script later in the lesson.
  5. Cestrian

    Cestrian New commenter

    Forgive me for being (more than) a bit dim here, but what do you do once you've downloaded the files - how do you then type in that font?
  6. Cestrian

    Cestrian New commenter

    All sorted now, managed to find help online (duh!) These are cool!
  7. funambule

    funambule New commenter

    Thanks especially to Dodros. I've done some work with Ecolier but it didn't work particularly well for every letter; makes you appreciate how decent fonts are masterpieces of design, hence you often have to pay for them!
    (BTW,one of my sons, who is a professional designer,absolutely forbids me to use Comic Sans- he thinks it's appalling!)
    Will explore the cursive alternatives suggested.
    Thanks again for everyone's input
  8. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    I like doing that too, bootstar. The arty ones enjoy writing their own names in "French" writing.

    funambule - what's wrong with Comic sans ?! Is there a decent alternative font which has a proper letter a ?
  9. How about the following Geekie?
    There is a mixture of printed and "handwritten" styles.

    Berlin sans
    Century Gothic
    Futura Bk
    Lucida handwriting
    Monotype Corsiva
    Pepita MT
    Rage Italic
    Script MT Bold
    Tw Cen MT
    Viner Hand ITC
  10. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    >Thanks especially to Dodros.<

    It's a pleasure, Funambule, and thanks to others who have chipped in and tried out some of the fonts.

    I said I preferred the PlumBAL and CrayonL cursive fonts and I've used the latter font as the basis of the second unit in my French word processing primer, which can be downloaded from the TES Resource Bank at


    The unit contains practice exercises to familiarise students with the understanding and use of the font and I've included traditional French pangrams (sentences like "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" which drill every alphabetic key).

    The CrayonL font is best viewed at 20 point at least. Smaller point sizes may not reveal the detail of the characters on screen or on paper. It's worth looking at the character sets that come with these fonts and you can do so in Word by performing "Insert/ Symbol" and guiding the dialogue through to the font in question. There are nice touches like the hooked 1 and crossed 7 and the two versions of capital Q and Z. The capital letters in French cursive handwriting are perhaps the hardest to decipher because they're so ornate!

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