Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mirror Writing

You can find more details about this in Alexandre Borovik's blog (i.e. the interesting stuff). I don't know whether you've attempted mirror writing but I find it pretty darn cool! However I have a theroy why I'm pretty bad at it.

I'm pretty confused now, and might be feeling a tad bit foolish! I'm right handed, so obviously I first wrote the word mirror out with my right hand. Then I put the pen in my left hand and tried to write the word again, obviously the mirror image of it. That resulted in this:
The one with the red box is the one I wrote with my right hand ;). So I was pretty impressed. Yes, I had to write the word with my left hand twice because I couldn't quite see this working!

That worked, I was pleased. Back to Linear Algebra it was then - Linear Transformations if you're interested! All matrix transformations T: R^n -> R^m of the form ..... = Ax are linear transformations if I remember correctly. Although I have forgotten whats meant to go in the dotted lines, not sure if it's T_A(x) or not! Anyway, that was typed to remind myself.

I finished that topic, and had a rather long break- actually still having the break as we speak! Played some cricket, checked emails, and then read that post again- properly. I was still intrigued so to speak, and decided to see whether I could write 'mirrored' words without actually having to write the sentence out with my right and. This isn't as simple as it seems. However after a few attempts I managed to write something which I felt could be correctly mirrored:
Any guesses on what that says? :D I mirrored that and it worked as well. However this is the problem I found in terms of why I had to do it wrong 10 times before doing it correctly. You see I don't hold my pen in the 'normal' way. The picture below (excuse it's weirdness, that's the best I could find using Google), shows two hands. The red dot on the right hand shows which finger I get a mark on after writing for long periods of time . That's the finger where my pen rests on. However when I hold the pen in my left hand I can't seem to hold it the same way as my right hand. I mean if I do force the pen to rest on the same finger as it does for my right hand, I can't write squat. The left hand prefers the middle finger!

That mumbo jumbo just explains why I'm not very good at writing with my left hand I suppose! The problem I had with mirror writing using my left hand was that I always wrote my e's like 'e'. Z and s are other tricky letters as well. But practise makes perfect is what they say! I found it tough doing this using English, but what about other languages which have different type of letters?

Now after this I decided to Google mirror writing, now this is whats confusing. You don't have to write with both hands to do mirror writing do you? I mean have a pen in both hands and whatever you write with your right hand, your left hand mirrors? Surely that's pretty tedious, I mean is there anything wrong with just letting your left hand do it?

I find that I can write better if I use my left hand to do mirror writing, rather than using my right hand. With my right hand, I always write e the normal and other letters as well!

As I've commented to the post, I can't really do it on my signature! One day my signature is a mass of squiggles, and other days it's a symbol! We have to sign a register for the example classes and I really wouldn't mind knowing who actually looks through it to see who attended! (well if there reaction is friendly that is- I can imagine some people not being pleased, but my signature depends on my mood! You know, sometimes in a maths mood, other times in a grown up mood and most times in a 6 year old mood!).

So the reason of this post? Apart from being a fun distraction, it's pretty cool. How good are you at mirror writing?

[Ok, I confess I was bored of revising!]


flyfreewithme said...

Hi, I happened to GOOGLE and saw your blog entry on mirror writing. I was bored just now, so I was trying mirror writing too, which explains why I googled it.

Anyhow, my left hand writes mirror writing better than my right hand. And it just came, i didn't have to think, unlike when i used my right.

Haha, just sharing, anyways. (:

Beans said...


Are you right handed or left handed?

Here's two more posts I did on mirror writing, one with my left hand and the other with my right hand. Although I can't remember which was easier, my right hand was definitely neater! (I'm right handed).

I must confess that when I'm bored, I also start mirror writing!

K V Fitzpatrick said...

Hi there -

I've been looking for more people who are interested in this skill, whether because they are able to do it, or because they are researching it, or both.

I'm a mirror writer, left handed and fluent - either way it's automatic and legible, though my handwriting differs a bit. I've always been able to do it.

I can write with my right hand, but it's not pretty in either direction.

Interestingly, this skill does not apply to numbers. I really have to think about writing numerals into mirror text, or I screw it up. And forget about doing mirror proofs. Da Vinci I'm not. :/

matt said...

hey i'm a lefty and just to let you know for me mirror writting is a lot (sorry about my spelling) ezer then normal writing. and for i think about 7 and a half years i have never ever wrote a thing like that and i just started, it is sooooooooo ez

K V Fitzpatrick said...

From what I understand, most "native" mirror writers are lefties.

How are your numbers? Can you do math in mirror writing?

Barbara said...

Hi, I was looking up mirror writing on Google and came across your blog. I am a right handed mirror writer. I do this very well and fast. It comes in handy when I write notes I don't want anyone else to see. It has been easy for me to do this since I was a child.
Just sharing! Happy Holidays.

Beans said...

Hi - firstly thanks for your comments and apologise for the late publishing and not replying until now!

K V Fitzpatrick
I mirror write for "fun" - well particularly when I get erm... slightly bored in a lecture and need something to stop me from leaving Earth forever! (I also shamelessly use it is as a "party trick" to amuse young children i.e so that they think I'm the coolest bean from the rest of the tin... :D)

I've written parts of certain lectures using mirror writing, which I will upload "one day", and I've done okay with it so far. It's the z's that get me (especially when they're subscripts).

I will have a try at writing maths "without copying of the board" and report back!

Beans said...

Hi Barbara,

With my right hand I find it is quite easy to mirror write, and I was surprised that some people find it hard!

Hi Matt,

I don't think mirror writing will ever be easier than my normal right handed writing!

Elidibus said...

What an interesting coincidence. I came across this blog just as I myself was in the middle of studying Linear Algebra. Orthogonal Subspaces and Inner Product Spaces.

Maybe there's something about linear algebra that causes one to suddenly research mirror writing...

Elidibus said...

Oh, to contribute something here...I tried writing backwards after learning about Da Vinci many years ago, since he used to do it. It turned out to be very easy for me. I used to be left handed, but I guess you could say my preschool teacher was superstitious and forced me to switch to the right.

This may be of interest

adnariMMiranda said...

Hi. I am a senior at university of southern mississippi and happen to be researching possible references for a project I will be working on this summer; after which I will be graduating and hope to enter graduate school...I can also mirror write(hence:interest for my research topic); however, I am able to simultaneously write backwards with my left hand while writing forward with my right hand.

I giggled when I read where you say writing with both hands must be tedious. I found it humorous because yes indeed it would be quite tedious, annoying even, to be forced to carry two pens on a daily know...just in case you find the urge to write a grocery list! HA!

Anywho...I didnt even discover my writing backwards with my left hand talent until age 15 or so. It wasnt until I was 20 years old i decided to throw the second hand forward writing thing into the mix! It is a very cool party trick and I like to mess with people at the bars...but that's just about it so far so thats why I want to experiment with it this summer!! Thought I'd add to yalls conversation! TOOTLES!!! :)