shorthand history systems

Hello everybody!

It’s been very interesting to browse through some of the posts on this group. My interest in shorthand was greatly increased by reading E H Butler’s History of British Shorthand which was published by Pitman in the early 1950’s and articles in the online encycopedias Wickepedia and 1911 Britannica.

Butler rates Kingsford’s Oxford Shorthand but reckons it was very hard to learn because it was not explained with the true novice in mind. [Gregg seems to have been very good in this regard judging from the Pre-Ann manual]. Cross’s Eclectic appears to be a very powerful system though I’ve yet to study the textbook yet [it’s on order]. Other systems I’ve heard of and may investigate further – or at least look at! – are: Pocknell’s Legible Shorthand, the systems by Calendar and Sweet, and lastly Thomas Natural.

Does anyone know Cross’s Eclectic or Oxford Shorthand? I’ve haven’t taken the plunge yet and committed to mastering one system or a modifacation of it!

I’m very pleased to have discovered that shorthand still has some support; it would be a real pity for it for it to fall further from public view. 

(by ironsinthefire for everyone)

64 comments Add yours
  1. I am willing to bargain that there are as many people who know Cross-Eclectic as those who have full barn-door portraits of Beethoven.

    That analogy seems a bit hyperbolic.

    Cross-Eclectic is actually one of the hardest systems I have seen. Its main advantage is saving paper. It takes about as much space as typed text. It isn't very pretty, and it does take a very skilled mind and controlled hand.

    Thomas Natural seems more awkward than Gregg in looking at it. There are lots of those mean obtuse angles, like in the Thomas word for "prejudice", which resembles a Gregg ch and then an almost straight-down j. (These are really the Thomas letters for p and j). Thomas Natural is an okay system, but I would still vote Gregg over it.

    However, I do encourage anyone to study any system. John Robert Gregg was, himself, a scholar of a great deal of systems.

    —Andw. Owen

  2. Thanks Andw for your thoughts, particularly on Cross's Eclectic.
    Its compactness for me is a major attaction. I've got the dictionary, and 'copious exercises..'. The textbook and phrasebook are still to arrive. I could not find any reading-literature for it which doesn't surprise me.

    Having given it some thought, a study method to use could go something like this: learn the theory by making a cribsheet for all the rules that can be constantly reviewed till you can apply them instantly when translating from longhand text into shorthand. Drill the outlines for, say, the top 500 most frequently occurring words till can produce outlines for these without hesitation. Then start applying the theory of the system by translating texts into outlines; use a word processor to tripple-space your text, print it off and write your outlines underneath the words. Doing this it will be encouraging to have mastered the top 500 most frequent words as this will speed things along a bit! Just keep on translating text till you get faster and faster as time goes by.
    Start memorising common phrases after learning the 500 words and apply them when translating. Also incorportate what outlines you know in personal writing to immediatlely get the benefit.

    Keep re-reading the texts' shorthand translation! Photocopy them then tape over the printed longhand so you can't see it. Photocopy this and translate back into longhand and compare with the original.

    Drill the next 500 or so most frequently occuring words till you can make the outline instantly. Keep increasing your shorthand vocab this way.

    Get someone to dictate – at a very gentle pace – the texts that you've been translating and constantly re-reading.
    Personally I wouldn't worry about trying to measure the words per min rate.

    Keep up this pattern. Try and practice using texts for which their are audiobooks. Use these to see how you are coming along at capturing speech in realtime! My plan at the moment is to use the KJV bible as it is available as an audio book and as an online public-domain textfile. So I could try and start out translating text and later make shorthand transcripts from the audiobook and check them against the text, make corrections, and build up a body of shorthand writing for reading purposes. It would also be possible to 'follow along' shorthand reading as I play the audiobook.

    I believe the above approach of getting the theory fixed in mind using the cribsheet; building up a core vocab using word frequency lists and the phrasebook; doing lots of reading and translating; and finally using audio and text working together, should get one in a position to take verbatim notes and read shorthand pretty much as one would read longhand.

    Thanks for underlining the challenging nature of Cross's system. I'll be interested to see how well it yields to the above approach!

    –Andy

  3. Andy, great minds must think alike. I've been meaning to make just such a crib sheet for Simplified principles. The tough thing about self-teaching is that no one is there to proof read my notes, so for all I know, many errors could be going uncorrected. Having a consice list of the abreviated/phrasing/beginning&ending principles to scan periodically would help me make sure I don't let any of them fall out of memory. Also, I really want the 5,000 most used forms–I'm realizing that although any word CAN be spelled out phoenetically, I need to have them memorized as outlines in order to write fast. It's the same way with longhand…speling is just secund natuer.

  4. Iron, I agree with Andrew Owen about Cross. I have the Cross Eclectic Manual, and it uses not just three positions as in Pitman, but five! On top of that, it not only uses shading as in Pitman, but shading only PART of a stroke. (For example, shading the last part of a stroke adds an 'r').The penmanship of this would be extremely difficult to master.

    Worst of all, reading material, and follow-up material in general, is very difficult to find. I do know Rider University has a few titles on hand.

    To its credit, Cross seems to be one of the first systems based on the ellipse. It looks more like Gregg than Pitman, at least to me, but I'm a Pitman writer.

    I'd forget about learning this system unless 1) you want to learn a system absolutely nobody on earth uses and 2) you like impossibly hard learning challenges…

  5. Hello John! Here's a link relating to contemporary word freqs lists which may be of interest as you'll be able to download word-families.

    http://www.edict.com.hk/textanalyser/wordlists.htm

    Here you don't just get the root word, but its various endings. Some of the lists are in order of frequency so you can prioritize your memory material to be worked on.

    A tactic that might be worthwhile experimenting with in doing drill is to make the outline for the word consciously bringing to mind at first the rules and principles reflected in the construction of the it; make the outline repeatedly till the end of the line or more while saying the word-outline out loud. You could possibly do this with the aim of fitting the production of the outline into the time for the sound of the word to me made!

    To help the mind stay in the process of connecting the sound – outline -handaction pattern formation you could take two or three related words, for example, ship, shipped, and shipping, or shipping and shopper, and recite them in a gentle rhythmic fashion – perhaps varing tone, speed, pitch and volume.

    I'm hoping that by using the above approach to drilling that my mind will be able stay focused on the task by being free to move about a bit BUT in relation to the task. Also this work-pattern is rhythmic, almost like a chant, which should help one settle into the drill.

    With regard to the cribsheet I think it's an essential tool to master the theory – particularly if the theory is hard as in Cross's Eclectic – so that you you can apply it immediately. If you can boil down the theory into a few headings with a few examples onto say two or three sides of A4 and look at them before going to work and when you get in I would think it wld be a big help. This is the approach I'll be using.

    –Iron…

  6. Hello George! Thanks for your feedback about Cross's Eclectic. I'm looking forward to the textbook and phrasebook coming through to see just how practicable a project mastering it is.

    I've found no general literature that's been translated into Cross's system. I bought the last phrasebook and, 'copious exercises…' on abe . There's a few of the Instruction Textbooks left on abebooks and possible a dictionary. Apparently, someone called W T Larimore did a 70 odd page Primer. Cross himself did a small primer of just over 20 pages. Amazon, British Library, and Library of Congress have been useful! But unfortunately I have not been able yet to buy or get copies of these.

    Cross says in his introduction to the dictionary that once the system is mastered you can do it without lined paper. With regard to the thickening of strokes, yes I agree that that is fiddly. I would be practicing using a soft-leaded mechanical pencil 0.7mm (ordinary HB pencils drag too much and blunt to quickly). I find this a great writing implement.

    The pull of a system as potentially powerful as Cross's is great. The issue for me is whether the approach I've devised and explained earlier will work. That hangs on whether the theory can be got at one's finguretips and whether the outlines are – in themselves – executable at speed and legible (years later).

    It will be an interesting exercise to put up the methods outlined against the challenge. I'd be having it for personal use, mainly verbatim recording, note-taking, and general writing.

    –iron…

  7. Iron:

    Interesting! You found the "phrasebook" and "copious exercises"? Those issues are becoming quite rare. There's a third one, supposedly essential in learning Eclectic, called the "Eclectic Dictionary", and I've not been able to find a single copy of it on Amazon, Abebooks, or Alibris. However, once again, there's a copy at the Rider University at Moore's library. You could probably get it through the Interlibrary Loan. The LOC might also have a copy.

    Being essential for the development of Eclectic, you'll probably have to copy the Dictionary.

    If you do decide to learn this exceedingly difficult system, please let us know. It's probably the hardest system out there.

  8. Hello George!
    Yes, I've been pretty fortunate getting the stuff I need for the Eclectic (and pretty cheaply). The Dictionary arrived the other day, along with 'Copious Exercises…', I'm just waiting on the Manual and Phrasebook which are on their way. In short I should have everything I need, though I will may try and get
    photocopies of the primer by Larimore as well as Cross's primer. They're at the Library of Congress, I'm in South East England, so that'll be interesting trying to get hold of them! [It should just about be do-able!].

    All this triggered by the shorthand wickipedia article! Unless the theory is absolutely awful and ill-conceived as opposed to complex and ingenious then I'll almost certainly try and take it on. It just seems so powerful; distinctive, legible and brief outlines that don't take up much space, and all the material available to master it! The outlines in the Dictionary are so brief even in their full form!

    I'll let you know more of how I get on! Now what was it that Charles Dickens said about taming the beast stenography?

    –Iron…

  9. I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned Quickscript; a shorthand based on the Shavian alphabet. It isn't as efficient as some of the other systems, but it is still definitely quicker than longhand.

    Attached is a sample of Quickscript from the official manual reading "This is one of the ways in which we do our writing and you will be able to compare it with any other kind of script to see what you think it is worth."

    Attachment: quickscript.jpg

  10. Pieman:

    Interesting.

    Also long forgotten is the Personal Shorthand system. NOT the one in the 1960s–which was based on ordinary letters–but, rather, the one in the 1910s, which looks like Ancient Sumerian.

    Not intended for amanuensis or court reporting, Personal Shorthand was supposed to be a 60wpm substitute for ordinary longhand…

  11. Pieman:

    Thanks for posting the .jpeg of Quick~
    The Quickscript article at wickipedia and its links were interesting. I'd never seen it before; looks like a great alternative to Roman alphabet-based longhand rather than primarily a method of short-writing as such. It looks much more pleasant to write than the conventional longhand and like it would not be all that hard to get used to reading. I'm glad you've brought this up!

    I downloaded the Manual by Read and it's an interesting read! If it had really caught on I don't think T-line shorthand would have been based on the forms of the Roman alphabet.

    Thanks for the lead…

    –Iron…

  12. DangerArranger:

    Oddly enough, I haven't found the obtuse angle much of a problem.

    The thing is, Pitman (and others, presumably) isn't supposed to be written with the same fluid motion as Gregg. Gregg is written with the same hand motions as longhand, while Pitman is supposed to be written with "a flicking motion", which is to be practiced until it becomes natural.

    When using this "flicking motion"–very similar to writing a checkmark quickly–obtuse angles aren't a problem at all. I urge the reader to try it and see.

  13. Yes, that is what separates the systems! Gregg's movement resembles longhand, which does not contain obtuse angles. The way that Gregg and others put it is that Gregg is written, while Pitman is drawn. 🙂 It feels nicer to write Gregg, wouldn't you say? Isn't it easier to write an oval than to draw a perfect circle?

    —Andw.

  14. You're probably right, Andrew. Pitman feels awkward for most people because longhand is normally written at a slope.

    I guess I'm an oddball that way, though; my own longhand is vertical.

    The angles between the strokes, though, do differentiate the consonants quite well, even when it's the same consonant, such as in "people"…

  15. Hi, there, Andrew.

    I've been thinking–really thinking–about a statement that was made. Turning it upside down; round-and-round in my mind– looking at the truth objectively. That is, the statement about Pitman being "drawn".

    There is probably a certain amount of truth in it. Pitman has the exact same tactile feel as writing in block letters; indeed, some of the strokes are identical. For example, the oblique stroke for 'p' is repeated in the middle stroke of capital "N", and the last stroke of capital "A", in both cases of the letter "x", etc. Of course, like Pitman, writing in block letters is easier to do vertically. It doesn't feel particularly uncomfortable to me.

    By contrast, writing in Gregg feels like writing in cursive. Of course, I don't have to convince you of that. Under normal circumstances writing in Gregg and in cursive is done at a slope, too; writing cursive vertically seems rather unusual.

    Some people can write in print easier and more legibly than in cursive; others write easier and more legibly in cursive.

    With this in mind, I think it's fair to say:

    1) If the student writes better in print and/or vertically, perhaps Pitman will suit his needs better, and
    2) If the student writes at a slope and/or in cursive better, perhaps Gregg will be better.

    Morris Kligman, who wrote the tome "How to Write 240 wpm in Pitman Shorthand", had every reason to promote Pitman while dissing Gregg; but to his credit, he didn't. He asserted that the systems are exactly equal–and that the important factor in expert stenography was the WRITER. I couldn't agree more.

    As for drawing Pitman? Well……I guess I can accept that. I don't know…does printing in block letters feel like drawing ? Compared to Gregg, maybe it does. It's probably all subjective….

  16. When old timey people said that letters were drawn as opposed to written, my understanding is that they meant the lines were made with more finger movement compared to letters that were made with more arm/shoulder movement. It was once a basic principle of cursive penmanship that the fingers should remain relatively still while writing. The benefit of moving the pen with the arm instead of the fingers is that the loops and slant turn out more uniformly. The shoulder is capable of making large graceful curves, allowing for beautiful writing. The tiny fingers can barely execute a jellybean sized loop.

    Since all the old timey people used more arm movement when writing, the form of Gregg may have come more easily to them than Pitman. Not that it was necessarily faster in the end, but it was faster to learn because it felt more "normal" to them (also looked more terrestrial). So, Dr. Gregg used that as a selling point, and it was a great one, I think.

    It is ironic though, that these days the tables have turned and the finger-movement-intensive Pitman may actually be the easier form to learn for most. You will never hear a handwriting teacher harp on less finger movement and more arm movement these days–that is, if you even hear a handwriting teacher at all! Everyone, I mean EVERYONE (…well almost), who learns handwriting now will never progress past the unrefined finger movement–drawing–style of writing; as evidenced by the terrible cursive penmanship of every American under age thirty five (some can print nicely, but they're still "drawing" as George supposed).

    ____________
    Shorthand: isn't it about time?

    P.S. – I'm not old, so I might be wrong about this.
    P.P.S. – Yes, I know some of our "senior" members might have horrible handwriting too.

  17. JohnSapp:

    Those are interesting insights. I'd never thought about the finger vs. shoulder movement point. There might definitely be some truth to that.

    Unfortunately, by the time I went to school in the 70s, penmanship was no longer focused upon; I've been unhappy about this for years. Viewing beautiful handwriting (such as your own) has made me wistful many a time.

    There might also be a subjective component to it all. Perhaps some people's brains are simply better wired to print than to write cursive; perhaps the "wild card" is in the thumb muscles. Writing Pitman requires thumb movement probably unnecessary in Gregg, so if the writer has poorly developed thumb muscles, Gregg might be easier for him.

    In the end, I concur with M. Kligman about shorthand systems. I think both systems are stellar, and I hope I can do my small part to bring back Shorthand in all its guises, rather than touting just a single system….

  18. John:

    You've said something very interesting there… Spencerian penmanship, which as you may well know was, was taught in The States in the latter part of the 19th century and is designed around the mechanics of the hand's movement patterns, that is to say it feels right in making the movements with the pen; more fluid than halting; of course 'the flow' is relatively slow at first! But the actual movement still feels MUCH better. It DOES flow! And is a great improvement on the comparative hacked together script I had been using. My hand feels much more coordinated now; I used to really strongly dislike writing as I had a slow unattractive hand that fought with itself. That tension is now gone.

    I was quite poorly taught handwriting in my early education and it's been interesting – and very satisfying – to approach the skill all over again and re-appropriate it.

    Rosemary Sassoon appears to be THE handwriting guru, and really seems to have her head screwed on and a great heart! She wrote Teach Yourself Better Handwriting, and The Art and Science of Handwriting. She explains WHY, and puts down most of the problems people have in this area to the imposition of poor teaching models ('Ball and Stick' method) and practices which can cause various difficulties for children.

    Interestingly, slow illegible handwriting is often grouped in with dyslexia (if spelling is weak) and is chalked up as dysgraphia. Sassoon touches on dysgraphia – I sense that she was not looking for a war of words with those who regard the dyslexic condition as a deep and pretty much irradicable problem for those diagnosed with it – and just went on to emphasise the importance of the right methods and models for teaching and learning handwriting. I also think she'd rather people be diagnosed such, rather than just being written off as Edison was when he was a young child as 'not capable'.

    BTW she's also written specifically about helping children with their handwriting.

    –iron…

  19. IAMPETH is awesome. I was fishing through my library and found a penmanship book that they put out. It was just on engrossing and printing, though. However, there was a hand-written sample of ornamental penmanship in the president's signature. He signed the book personally! He did every book with a blue ball-point pen, shading the letters as necessary. Is that not interesting?

    —Andrew

  20. Here's a shorthand history question; I did not want to start a new thread… Gurney's system seems to have been pretty effective as a verbatim tool being used in the British Houses of Parliament. What was the character of his system; what shorthand techniques did it stress – contractions, heavy use of phrasing, zillions of 'arbitaries', tricks? How did it compare with Pitman? What was it's manual like? Just how hard was the theory and penmanship of it? If any one has got ANYthing to say on this – from an impression they have of it, right the way through to an informed and detailed judgement – I'd v much be interested to hear it…

    –iron…

  21. Mark,   I would fully agree with you that Taylor is one of the fathers of modern stenography, but would say that he shares joint custody with Gabelsberger. Just as you can trace most modern geometric and semi-script shorthands to Taylor (including Gregg and Pitman), you can trace the script systems used in most of europe and the eastern block countries to Gabelsberger.   Ian

  22. Iron,   I'm at work at the moment, but when I get a chance at home I'll post the alphabet and an example of Gurney's shorthand.    It's a simple, even a crude, system – after all, it had it's origins in the 17th century! Still, it was effectively used in parliament and elsewhere at least until the end of the 19th century.   It had a fair few arbitraries (though not that many), barely used phrasing or contractions, did not use thickening, joined vowels at the beginning of a word, and indicated them in the middle and end.    Sounds very lengthy! And it was – the speed of speech was much slower in the days when systems such as Gurney's, Taylor's, Byrom's etc were in use.  They did not need to have the same speed potential for a verbatim record as they do now.   They certainly couldn't match Mark Kislingbury's world record of 360wpm on a stenograph!   Ian

  23. Thanks, Sid, for the link; it made an interesting read.

    It also confirmed what I'd suspected long ago: Dr. Gregg never mastered Pitman, hence his somewhat inaccurate observations about it. To be fair, Gregg learned Pitman before it had been drastically revised in 1924.

    However, the article shows the shorthand timeline quite accurately; by 1919, Gregg had already dominated 80% of the American market, while Pitman retained its dominance in the Commonwealth.

  24. Thanks everybody for all yr feedback and yr leads!

    It looks like Franklin devised his own system; it would be interesting to see a sample to check for 'family resemblances' to the then current systems.

    http://www.usgennet.org/usa/topic/preservation/bios/franklin/chpt1.htm

    I look fwd to seeing the Gurney sample; I've seen the alphabet but no 'takes'.

    I thought the .pdf link was interesting. I've library ordered Gurney and Pocknell (I held off from trying to get Calendar's Cursive Shorthnd and Sweet's work for now!)

    I've just done a search for 'shorthand' and 'systems' on Copac here in the UK. Looks like there's some useful work done on comparing and contrasting the different approches to shorthand.

    –iron…

  25. Marc, Andy (iron…)   From Chapter 1 of Franklin's autobiography:   "[Uncle Benjamin] left behind him two quarto volumes of manuscript, of his own poetry, consisting of fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a shorthand of his own, which he taught me; but, not having practised it, I have now forgotten it."   This is about the Benjamin Franklin's uncle, for whom he is named. Later he goes on to say:   "My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed to give me his shorthand volumes of sermons, to set up with, if I would learn his shorthand."   So I'm not so sure BF made up his own shorthand, or if he eventually learned an already published system. Anyway, he was familiar with the concept.   He did make up a phonetic alphabet, or at least that's what this link says:   http://www.omniglot.com/writing/franklin.htm

  26. IRON:

    This is slightly off the subject, I know; but I couldn't find your email address. I didn't want to broach this subject in the forum because I don't want to offend anybody.

    But I'd heard that Gregg was illegal for a time in the UK. According to the source, the original Gregg books were ruled by the British Courts to be a work of plagiarism. (Presumably, since then, this ruling has been overturned)

    Do you know the details of all this? As I've mentioned before, the history of Shorthand is completely fascinating to me…

  27. There's quite a lot on this topic in the 'so what does everybody do…' thread.

    George, unfortunately I don't know anything much about Gregg's early difficulties with copyright issues in the UK. Perhaps Cowen's biography of Gregg wld contain leads…

    –iron…

  28. Iron:

    I don't think Cowen's biography would be unbiased.

    Just as in the field of the paranormal, there seems to be very few completely subjective sources on the subject of Shorthand History.

    I'm not sure where to start to research the subject; I might ask the reference desk at the library to help me.

    Thanks for the tip about the thread. I'll go check it out..

  29. Hi George,

    Yes, there's always the problem of bias, or just enthusiasm for a given approach… I don't know Cowen's work at all BUT hopefully he's listed his sources; if he's provided bibliographic references then you're well away, just so long as you can get the stuff through interloan.

    Speaking of interloan I did manage to get a copy here to me in England of an item held by The New York Public Library – Larimore's Primer for Cross' Eclectic – and it didn't take ages! It took about a month and cost me 짙7-50 to put in the request and another three pounds for the actual photocopying. It was the first time they'd put an international interloan request at my local library!

    I'm still waiting on Gurney and Pocknell. I could not get the las t bit of stuff that I wanted for Kingsford's Oxford Shorthand (The Words We Use. 1000 most freq wds list) which is a bit of a disappointment to me as I've got everything else that I wanted of his work and was really looking forward to see just how he puts his theory into practice to represent quite a range of words' sounds…

    BTW sorry to hear you were not able to get hold of Mack's shorthand through interloan. That's a bit frustrating…

    –iron…

  30. Iron:

    Is it possible that you could get a copy in the UK? There might be a copy hidden in the aforementioned Birmingham or London michofiche or card catalog files.

    I already looked in the Rider University files; they have the largest shorthand collection in the US, but Mack's work isn't among them.

    It'll be interesting to see where this leads. Until now, I didn't realize you were in the UK. You lucky dog.

  31. Iron:

    If it comes down to getting photocopies of the work in the Library of Congress, I should be happy to help with some of the expenses. I could remit via Paypal, if the cost isn't too exhorbitant. Photocopies might be turned into .pdf files that could be posted here or perhaps e-mailed to me.

    If you have an interest in this, please let me know.

    Iron, by the way, if privacy is valued, there are anonymous, encrypted email services, such as mailvault.com–a free service for which I have an account. Your privacy would thus be assured…

  32. George: FYI the first syllable of my posting name is Sidhe, and in Gregg would be spelt phonetically as sh-e. It's a Gaelic word.  But I am getting rather fond of Sid.   I'm intrigued by the copyright/plagiarism issue, and would love to know more about that. Do we think that means St Dr Gregg may have incorporated someone else's symbols in his shorthand?   Sidhe (Billy)

  33. Well, Billy, I realize this is a forum for Gregg, and the last thing I want to do is offend anybody.

    But the history behind shorthand is too interesting to ignore. The gist of the idea is that Gregg may have plagiarized his system in part from Malone's system. At least, the British courts contended this–and banned Gregg's system, at least for a time. Presumably, the ruling was overturned.

    But I heard all this from only one online source. Research from contemporary sources hasn't yet proven it, but the jury's still very much out.

    Do you have any information that might shed some light on this murky situation?

  34. I wasn't offended, and I'm equally fascinated by the machinations of the shorthand crowd of the last two centuries.   Sorry, George, I haven't any information which would shed light on that issue, but I would certainly be interested in hearing more about it.

  35. Hi George, and happy New Year everybody!

    My local library has mangaged to locate the only copy of Mack Shorthand in UK; they are trying to organise a photocopy for me. When I know more I'll let you know.

    BTW I very recently managed to get a photocopy of Pocknell's Legible Shorthand and Common Shorthand. His system seems very well conceived… Let's hope that the Mack comes through…

    –iron…

  36. Yes, Happy New Year everybody! Iron, I've been following with some fascination your explorations into Cross's and other shorthand systems. (Your proposed organized approach to the study of Cross's Eclectic–or in fact, any–shorthand is very instructive.) I am particularly interested in your pursuit of Mack Shorthand and have made some attempts–as yet unsuccessful–to locate a copy of it. If/when you get to see the manual, could you please post some of the salient details of it? (Imagine: the only copy in UK!!) –Guy

  37. Iron:

    "Gurney does not use thick or thin stroke distinctions to convey meaning and – unlike Pitman – has seperate characters for the vowels for when this really helps legibility"

    Huh? Are you talking about the same Pitman I am learning?

    All the vowels in Pitman New Era, at least, have different signs.

  38. George,

    Sorry, I should have expressed that point much more clearly; Gurney has strokes for the vowels in the same way he has strokes for the consonants and does not rely on diacritical marks or position to mark up the vowels as does Pitman. I did not express my meaning well when I said "…and (Gurney) – unlike Pitman – has seperate characters for the vowels for when this really helps legibility." Gurney has strokes or characters for vowels available to be written in line with the consonants wheras Pitman uses diacritical marks to be added in after a penlift – not shorthand characters as such – to indicate the vowels. This is what I was driving at.

    Rgds,
    Andy

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