I just really have no idea.
One of my characters has just learned to write in a forbidden language. Nothing magical was involved in the learning process; basically, she spied on a rich boy during his lessons.
She's leaving messages in this language next to some pretty grisly crime scenes. The authorities have enlisted the help of a language scholar to decipher the messages.
What I want to know is whether or not the language scholar can guess that whoever's writing the language has only recently learned it. Can she tell the writer isn't yet "comfortable" with the letters?
This is a language that my scholar has never encountered before. She doesn't know what's normal, so she won't be able to identify the writing as childish or containing identifying quirks.
I think that leaves me with variation in the letters. It seems plausible to me that someone who's just learned a new script will experiment with different ways of writing letters until they find their groove, and that there's a difference between "drawing" the letters from memory and writing naturally.
But I have no idea how this would (practically) apply. Would the difference be great enough to notice if she had several examples spread out over time? And could she logically make that guess, or would there be other obvious reasons that someone's handwriting might vary like that?
Perhaps someone who has graded lots of language homework can help me with this one.