Just Starting Out . . .

As a bit of background. I’m a former programmer who types 80 WPM. I have no idea what my longhand writing speed is (but I’d love to find out). I’m in law school now and finding that having a computer at my disposal when studying is way too distracting (courtesy of the Internet). My fundamental goal is to write at least as fast as I type (which I understand is not that fast).

When I was a teenager (Reagan Era), I thought it would be neat to learn shorthand–but obviously I did not. I have Series 90 sitting beside me, and I’ve asked my Mom if she still has her old book that I might have (I think it might be Simplified, but the book on the Werelight website looks like that version is it).

So, here I am planning to try to self-teach myself shorthand. This leaves me with a couple of questions.

1. Which version will be optimal for me to learn? A version where I could transition to another version if needs be would be fine.

2. Is it wise to self-teach, or should I find a tutor?

Any other tips for the absolute neophyte would be greatly appreciated.

Ben Wilson

(by dausha7734 for everyone)

2 comments Add yours
  1. Welcome to the group!  It is great that you are going to give shorthand a try.  For your particular goal of being able to write at 80 wpm, basically any version of shorthand will suffice (both S90 and Simplified, which you mentioned).  The rule of thumb is that the earlier the version, the faster you would be able to write at the expense of a higher memory load (more abbreviations, phrases, etc.).  Since you are in the legal field, the earlier versions of Gregg shorthand have specialized outlines (shortcuts) for legal reporting (though you may use these with any version).   Below is a thread with some recommendations:  http://groups.msn.com/greggshorthand/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=1149&LastModified=4675507767164263226   Is it wise to self teach?  Well, that depends.  If you can learn on your own, then it would be fine (I, for example, am self-taught).  Most people learning shorthand now have learned by themselves.  You can always ask questions here when in doubt.  If you can find a tutor, it would be superb, but be aware of the differences in the versions of Gregg.   I hope this helps.

  2. I agree with Carlos. Simplified (taught between 1949 and 1963) would be my recommendation. I started in Diamond Jubliee Series ("DJS," taught after 1963, but I switched to Simplified because it had a comprehensive treatment of medical terminology. The same would be of legeal Gregg: You'd need Simplified or earlier.   If you can make it into law school, you can teach yourself Gregg. I would be pleased to help you if you have occasional questions. After you finished Simplified in its entirity, you would want to onto a text called Handbook for the Legal Secretary by Leslie and Coffin. This has some very basic legal introduction designed to get a lay person up to speed on legal terminology, but its main thrust is Gregg legal shorthand.   After you're pretty well in the (non-legal) Gregg book, you could probably take a glance from time to time at the legal text and pick up the shorthand outlines for various legal terms.   I know a few people who use shorthand. Where do you live? Brian

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