Here’s an interesting test from researchers at Johns Hopkins — can you spot the correct way to write the looptail form of the lower case letter “g”? It may prove harder than you think.

What’s interesting here is that while we often see this letter while reading, very few are ever taught to write this form by hand.

The experiments suggest our knowledge of letters can suffer when we don’t write them by hand. As we write less and become more dependent on electronic devices, this could impact how we learn to read, according to the researchers.

Professor McCloskey said: ‘Our findings give us an intriguing way of looking at questions about the importance of writing for reading.’

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


4 Thoughts on "Can You Identify a Lower Case G?"

When I was taught cursive, what was typographic form didn’t enter into it at all. We drew the g loops down to left and up to right. We were taught to recognize the printed letterforms but using mostly the san-serif letters with the open g descending curve back towards the left (not looped). That is also how we were taught to print the g letter. I think some problems with early reading may stem directly from these types of typographic differences from the way we were taught to write print and script letters.

It’s disingenuous of them to use that font, which has nothing to do with cursive or hand printed writing. A French Script or Comic Sans (I know, but still) lower case g would have been recognisable in an instant.

All this proves is Times New Roman and typewriter fonts are getting more obscure. Why not test us on Gutenberg-style medieval black letter typefaces and bemoan the death of print while they’re at it?

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