I think this is quite common, if not normal. The same happens with written Russian and Greek, but also with Korean and Hindi, etc. etc.We that speak and write English have two ways to write the written word. We can write in cursive and/or print. Cursive means having the successive letters joined. It comes from the Latin (scripta) cursiva, running (script). The cursive almost looks like a different language from printing when written because some letters look very different in cursive. Is there any other language that does this, if not, why do we do it?
By coincidence, I am currently searching for samples of handwritten Chinese characters on line.
I only could find things like this so far:
It is not a very good example since it is taken from calligraphy website, but it gives at least an impression of handwritten Chinese.
I couldn't find good examples of handwritten Arabic or Persian online either, but its cursive form goes not only from right to left (obviously), but it seems as if every word starts right above the 'basic line' and goes down to the left, under the basic line, at least in Persian. [I use 'basic line because i completely lack the right terminology for all that]. Lots of letters and combination of letters get compressed and sometimes only the dots indicate whether one is dealing with a تـ or نـ . The 'waves' of ش are hardly handwritten, and the dots are often rendered as a circle, idem dito for سـ (word initial) from
_|_|_| to ______|.
Add to this the fact that in the Arabic script (printed and handwritten) some letters have up to 4 different forms, and that in calligraphy and in handwritten samples letters can be stretched enormously; I can assure you that it doesn't make reading handwritten stuff easier .
IMO, this written sample comes quite close to printed Arabic, nevertheless I have enormous problems reading it.
But even Ancient Egyptian had two sets of scripts at a certain period: the hieroglyphic script (and let's equate them with 'printed' script here) is quite different from the hieratic script (and later the demotic script), the script basically used on papyrus.
Here you can find examples.
I have the impression that it is an enormously underestimated problem in a classroom situation. Obviously not for people who learned to read/write a Latin based script as kids, but for people who had to learn the Latin script at a (slightly) later age. I already had a lot of students with an Arabic background who could read printed material in Dutch, but who had tremendous problems with reading handwritten texts (on the blackboard) and who had problems writing (one of the indicators is the mixing of capitals and small letters in woRDs). I also remember the complaints during the Chinese classes when the teacher's written characters differed too much from the printed characters (but, as he said, resembled more the way Chinese usually handwrite the characters).And does this make it harder for people to learn to write and read English as a second language? I'm sure someone out there has the answer...BD? Hint, hint.
The few books I read about illiterate and non-alphabeticized adults and second language learning don't even touch upon the subject of handwritten vs. printed texts.
On the other hand... I realise that handwritten texts are a necessary medium in a classroom situation, but nevertheless I wonder why we spend so much energy in learning non- or semi-alphabeticised people how to handwrite.
- most handwritten texts are used for private reasons (but then, stritcly speaking, the script and not even the language matters - when in China, i'm not going to write my list of stuff to buy in the supermarket in Chinese),
- most things I write for public usage I write on a computer (we don't learn Latin with a chisel and a block of marble either),
- learning people how to handwrite properly takes a lot of time and energy, which imo could be spend better on more useful issues in the language learning process,
[and I wonder who still often handwrite stuff, which things and for which purpose].
That's my 2 cents.