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Why do they write from R to L in Arabic countries?

  1. Nov 24, 2008 #1
    It's a lot harder for right handed people to write R to L than L to R. So why do they write R to L? Are there more left-handed people in Arabic countries? Or was it a left-handed guy that invented writing down there?

    Also, who were the first to start writing, and was it R to L or L to R?

    http://www.audienceoftwo.com/pics/upload/obamalefty [Broken]

    Here are some more famous left handed people.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2008 #2
    You're not supposed to write left handed in arabic countries. If you're a lefty they force you to learn to write using your right hand. You left hand is supposed to be used to wipe your backside. You dont shake with it either.

    Asians write up and down- diplomats.

    I'm a lefty. Politically and how I write!
  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3
    It probably seems harder to you, because it is the opposite of what you're used to. Arabic children learn from an early age to write right to left, so they are used to it and thus find it easier, just as left handed people in the western world can write left to write. Although, I'm not bad at "mirror writing" and I'm left handed so it is probably easier for the left handed Arabian folks.

    I'm not sure why they write right to left either.

    EDIT: I'd love to know how many left handed presisdents there have been
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4
    No, it is objectively harder to push a pen than pull it across the paper. I write with my left hand and my hand is always smudged and stuff. Not cool.
  6. Nov 24, 2008 #5
    I'm left handed, and I find it hard to write L to R. The edge of the hand works like a brake.
  7. Nov 24, 2008 #6
    James A. Garfield
    Herbert Hoover
    Harry S. Truman
    Gerald Ford
    Ronald Reagan
    George Bush
    Bill Clinton

    8/44 = 18%, a lot more than average (7-10%). Maybe left handed people in general ARE gifted?

    I want a poll in this thread: "Are you R or L handed?". How do I do that?
  8. Nov 24, 2008 #7
    I've learnt to hold my left wrist up with my right hand while using my right forearm to hold down the paper. And thanks for answering that question, yeah I do think left handed people are more gifted.

    You can try editing your opening post of the thread, it may or may not work becuase the thread is so advanced, but if it does work, down the bottom should be some poll options.
  9. Nov 24, 2008 #8
    why would you base your decision on gifted by presidency of the US?
  10. Nov 24, 2008 #9
    why do people in some places write left to right is just as valid a question.

    I'm a righty.
  11. Nov 24, 2008 #10
  12. Nov 24, 2008 #11
    Perhaps it is because early writing was chiseled in stone. Direction doesn't matter as much then and some of it was written boustrophedonnicaliisticously. It may be that a direction for writing was standardized before writing on papyrus or paper was begun.
  13. Nov 24, 2008 #12

    jim mcnamara

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    How about ambidextroboustrophedonic writing? Writing 'as the ox ploughs' with both hands?

    boustrophedonic text alternates left to right and right to left. Other than some dot matrix printers I don't think anybody but the poor folks who try to read early texts can even spell the durn word. And jimmysnyder too.

    Glyphs may go down as well, when reading.

    Hieroglyphics can go down/left/right - you can tell text direction by reading "into" faces of the gylphs. ah (the vulture guy) is an example - he can face either left or right. The "down" part is usually given by how the glyphs are situated - like along a vertical edge.
  14. Nov 24, 2008 #13


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    It can be a good explanation (but see remark below). Imagine you have a chisel and a hammer in your hands. You have hammer in your right, because - as most humans - you are right handed. I feel like logical direction of chiseling will be right to left, as this way I can see what am I doing not obscuring my view with the right hand with hammer, not to mention the fact that is much easier to hit the chisel to the left.

    Problem is - writing had to evolve before it was worth of chiseling, and I find it hard to believe that it was evolving just as something that was put on stone - it takes too much effort to chisel anything. So I bet it started as something drawn or painted, but then hammer/chisel explanation doesn't hold.
  15. Nov 24, 2008 #14
    Maybe a powerful person at the time was left handed, and he forced R to L upon the rest?
  16. Nov 24, 2008 #15
    It could be an urban legend but someone told me that William Howard Taft could do this simultaneously in two different languages. Well, not boustrophedon, but supposedly he could write a sentence in French with his left hand while writing a different sentence in German with his right hand.

    Coincidentally he is also the only individual in history, so far, to have served as both President of the United States and as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  17. Nov 24, 2008 #16


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    Have you viewed our PF https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=151087"?
    This one was taken, January 2007.

    I had an ambidextrous professor who upon writing with his left hand on the blackboard, talked for a bit (nonchalantly switching the chalk from left to right hand), then wrote the next part on the blackboard with his right hand. He didn't grin or make any other indication that he was messing with us.. Just a normal thing for him..
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  18. Nov 24, 2008 #17


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    They write from right to left because westerners write from left to right.
  19. Nov 24, 2008 #18
    26% L! PF people are more gifted than the average citzen, so I take this as evidence that left handed people are more gifted in general. Even if only 82 people have answered the poll, 26% is all to high compared with the average (7-10%) to be an accident.
  20. Nov 24, 2008 #19


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    You reckon?

    Perheps you could check if the reverse were true. If there were say, less left handed Media students you might have something
  21. Nov 24, 2008 #20


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    Similarly, men are more gifted than women?
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