Dot timing?

Hi all,
I’m new to the group.  I’m learning Simplified Gregg on my own using the book and I’m about halfway through.  I have a beginner’s question.
Should you write the “h” dot before or after the rest of the word?  If you were writing the word “had”, for example, would you write the dot, then the a-d, or would you write the a-d first and then go back and add the dot (sort of like dotting your i’s in longhand)?  I suppose this question applies for all diacritical marks.
Thanks for your help.

(by eromlignod for everyone)

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21 comments Add yours
  1. Place h-hots and ing-dots AFTER you write the shorthand outline–just as you cross t's and dot i's after you write the work in longhand. Brian PS: Welcome to the group!

  2. Excellent question! I've been wondering the same thing for the longest. Here's another one. The dot used for a in words that begin with ah and aw, should I dot before or after the shorthand outline?

  3. Well, I beg to differ from Brian.  Though the h and -ing share the same dot stroke, they are different.   According to theory (from Lesson Plans in Gregg Shorthand, by Lula M. Westenhaver, page 3, and from Gregg Shorthand Junior Manual, by John R. Gregg, page 14), the h dot is written before you start writing the word, over the vowel it preceeds.  The -ing dot is written after the word, next to the last stroke.  The reason for that is that the h dot represents a consonant that is pronounced before the vowel.  So, for example, if you want to write the word "handling", you would write "h dot – nd – l – dot".  It is not like dotting i's or crossing t's: in shorthand, the equivalent to dotting i's or crossing t's would be the diacritical marks for distinguishing vowel sounds (long a vs short a, etc.).   While it is tempting to put all marks at the end (including the h), it is not difficult to get used to write the h first, especially since the h is the first sound you hear.   All-in-all, at dictation, what really matters is how fast you write it and that you're able to transcribe it.  But when practicing penmanship, write the h first.

  4. The rule of thumb is to write in the order of the phonemes spoken. The "a" in "ahead" is said first, so you just quickly write two dots, then "ed."


  5. Wow.  This is weird.  I was wondering the same thing too!!  LOL I have a habit of dotting after… maybe I'll have to try before.  I never knew so I just dotted after because you cross t's and dot i's after… Thanks for the info on this!! Debbi

  6. I guess the consensus is that h-dots at the beginning of a word are written in real-time; all others (including other diacriticals) are written retroactively at the end.  The ing-dot would be a moot point since it is already at the end of the word.   Don Kansas City

  7. True DOC, but remember that Don is learning Simplified, in which "perhaps" is written with the dot. I didn't want to confuse him, but that's a great point, dots can be omitted.

  8. Well, after 15 posts, I think it's pretty clear that putting the dots and other diacriticals in is quite individual. I write the dots for a beginning H or A before I write the word, and most others after, but I don't remember the teacher telling me to do that.   Maybe we each should do what comes naturally and lets us write the fastest?   Am I being too conciliatory?

  9. Just to confuse matters (my usual mode of operation), I tend to put the dots in–if I put them in at all–after I've finished the entire line of writing as I'm shifting my hand back in preparation for the next line.

    Is that weird?


  10. Wow. Several responses: First, my answer to a beginning student was intended as a rough-and-ready recommendation to get him over what might have been a mental block. I learend Simplified and never meant to imply that other editions might have different approaches or that different writer adopt other personal preferences. My parallel to dotting i's and crossing t's was likewise considered a very basic way of responding to a beginners questions, and I did not mean to imply that h-dots or ing-dots were diacritical marks. (Interestingly, the earlier Gregg versions did have diacritical marks placed under vowel to indcated vowel length.)   Second, I'll grant that one often places an h-dot first, as in the following outline for "home":       Finally, it is often difficult to place the h-dot correctly BEFORE WRITING THE OUTLINE because one can't be fully sure where the associated vowel will fall after the outline is written.   Brian

  11. I'll bet dot timing isn't addressed in DSJ because the assumption was that the learner would have a teacher to demonstrate the correct method. One of the themes as Gregg teaching matured was that students should learn from seeing the teacher write and from reading well-written shorthand in books. Zoubek, Leslie, and others called this the "language-arts" method of teaching, which they distinguished from what they called the "scientific" method of making students learn lots of rules before writing any shorthand (or contemporaneously with the initial study of shorthand writing). They reported better results–which I would believe–from the former method, the one used in Simplified and in DJS. Part of this shift stemmed from an increased emphasis on high-school learners in the 1940s and beyond as opposed to adult learners in early decades   I'm not entirely sure that Simplified actually addresses the dot-timing issue either. My parents both learned Gregg–my dad in the 1930s and my mom in the 1940s, so they were to get me started even though I ultimately taught myself most of the system. Some of those "nuts and bolts" things may have come my through them through explicit disucssion in the book.   This teaching dichotomy has an interesting parallel in the decades' old debate over phonics vs "whole language" methods of teaching reading.   All of the above points by others were, by the way, very well taken. I am always impressed with the high quality of the analytical thinking that goes on in this group.   Brian

  12. It looks like I am not alone as a beginner in wondering when to put the dot for an h in.  If I put it in first, I sometimes miss my target.  What seems natural to me, based on my experience with longhand, is to put dots in after writing the rest of the outline, but this seems to put the next word on hold while I go back and decorate.  Mr. Craig had this to say about it in paragraph 16 of his Q & A book:

    16. Is it not quicker to write the dot for h
    after completing the word, just as in
    longhand we dot the i?

    It is more natural to write the sounds in the
    order in which they occur. There i.s a loss of
    time in going back. to the beginning of the outline
    to place the dot, instead of proceeding to the
    next word. The Pitmanic systems recognize
    this. too, because they instruct students to make
    the con dot first. Of course, there are very few
    words in which it is necessary to write the aspirate
    in our system, as the vowels are expressed In the

    The last sentence suggests that Gregg regarded the h dot as being as optional as a diacritical mark.  In Simplified, I think omission of the h dot would be a personalization of the system, condoned in one special case here:

    1. In your own writing, follow the Anniversary convention of the h-dot omitted in "he" (already omitted since it’s a brief form), "him", "how" (also already omitted), "her", "has", and "had" (or use the 1916 New and Revised edition convention which adds "heard", "here", "hope", and "happy" to the list), and you'll cover most cases with the h-dot.

  13. Well, a large number of English speakers don't pronounce 'h' at all, and I can assure you they don't have any problems in communicating. So, apart from making sure 'who' has a dot to distinguish it from 'you' they can perhaps be ignored. I have never written a dot with 'wh' as I, along with the majority of British speakers pronounce this exactly the same as 'w' on its own.

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