Wikipedia’s Entry on Gregg

I just read the well-written article on Gregg Shorthand on Wikipedia.

The article states, however, that Gregg Shorthand is the most common system in Latin America. Is it possible that the author made a mistake with this statement?

I thought the most common system in Latin America is the Marti system.

Does anybody know anything about this?

for everyone) 

29 comments Add yours
  1. Well, that is highly debatable; one thing for sure is that you cannot generalize in Latin America, since each country is very different.   I know that both Gregg and Pitman are heavily used throughout Latin America.  For example, I can tell you that in Puerto Rico, Gregg and shorthand are synonyms.  No one writes Pitman or Martí, it's either Gregg or nowadays SpeedWriting, translated to Spanish ("escritura rápida", also by McGraw-Hill).  McGraw-Hill is all over Latin America, and they not only have their Taquigrafia Gregg books still on print (Centennial Edition), but they are producing new books (for example, I saw a "Dictado y Transcripción" book with a release year of 2003) so I'm sure that Gregg is alive and well. In Mexico and Colombia, they write Gregg and Pitman.  In Cuba, they were writing Gregg (at least I know that it was being used before Fidel came to power).  In Brazil, they mostly use Leite-Alves, Taylor, or Marti.  In Argentina, there is a Pitman Academy, while in Peru there is a Robert Gregg Secretarial School (and yes, they teach Taquigrafía Gregg).  Spanish Pitman books are still being published.  So, like I said, each country uses a different system.

  2. Up here in Brazil, nowadays the following systems of Stenography are in use (according to the Brazilian Stenographic Census – 2003): Maron Taylor Mart챠 Duprat Leite Alves Galestra Frei Adauto de Palmas Fernando Moreira Arlindo Lima Estenital Pitman Gregg Leite Ribeiro Davi Gaut챕rio Rog챕rio Mascarenhas Scol찼stico N챕lson de Oliveira Albernaburgos Ecl챕tico do Prof. Burgos Duploy챕 SoundScript According to the same research, the most used system in Brazil is Leite Alves, followed by Taylor and Martí.  Prof. Waldir Cury (from Brazil)  

  3. Hi GeorgeAmberson and fellows all,
    Most of people know (especially in USA and England) just about Gregg and Pitman, but there are a lot of shorthand system in the world.

    If you consider, for example, Mart챠 (the father of the Spanish shorthand) practised Taylor's system, like Pitman did it too. I have read that Gregg knew Duploy챕's system.

    A good site about the history of shorthand is available on

    "Historia de la Taquigraf챠a" = Shorthand history

    It's a site in Spanish. Carlos Lima is the webmaster, he's a shorthand writer of the Uruguayan Representative Chamber, he uses Mart챠's system.



  4. Bernard Shaw used to say: "You ask why, and I ask why not".  You say 21 systems of Stenography is preposterous.  And I ask: why not 21 systems?  This means "creativity", "richness" of the human mind!  Different ways of doing the same thing!  In Japan (a small country compared to Brazil) there are nowadays 5 systems (Nakane, Sangiin, Shuugiin, Sokutaipu and Waseda).  From 1700 to 1900, 200 different systems of british authors were published (1 system a year!).  And according to Albert Navarre (Histoire génerale da la sténographie – 1909), until 1909, 300 german systems of Stenography were available, to the point that the german Government proposed studies to a unified stenography, that has been adopted officially since 1924, the so called Deutsche Einheitkurzschrift (German Unitarian Stenography), formed by elements from Stolze, Faulmann and most Gabelsberger.  So, as you see, 21 system in a so large country as Brazil are not too many!

  5. I think it's fascinating that there are so many systems all over the world. As Waldir says, it shows creativity and richness.   And I'd love to see the documentation that went before the actual creation of the unified system in Germany! It's almost an Esperanto of shorthands. It must have been done by a committee.   The King James Version (Authorized Version) of the Bible was "written" by a committee.  Although the translation is quite inaccurate in some places, and it's a translation of a translation (and for the old testament, a translation of a translation of a translation), it's still a significant work of literature and has a beautiful ring to it however much it's fiction.   Maybe the Deutsche Einheitkurzschrift (German Unitarian Stenography) is equally beautiful.   Does anyone write it anymore?    

  6. I hope I didn't offend anyone.

    It just seems to me that if one (or two) shorthand systems are completely adequate, there'd be no need for another one to be invented.

    Does this make sense?

    I suppose I'm trying to say that, 21 systems in a single country seems to imply that none of them are completely adequate.

    On another note, perhaps it's the language in question (Portuguese) that's the obstacle. Is there anything about the phonics of the language that makes it particularly difficult to "stenograph"?

  7. You didn't offend me, George. In the best of all possible worlds, we would have only one method of stenography, but the reality is that humans never agree on anything, and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.   Another issue is the communication systems available at the time period in which all these shorthand systems were being invented. It is conceiveable that someone inventing a new system didn't know there were 20 other systems in the works, and was trying to improve on the two systems they did know about.   I wasn't trying to offend by stating I found the idea fascinating — you must find the whole concept fascinating as well, or your wouldn't be so interested in the history of shorthand.   Do you know anything about the current usage of the German Unitarian?

  8. Sid:

    As strange as it might seem–and in spite of lengthy research on the history of English Shorthand in both America and the Commonwealth–I know very little about the Continental Systems.

    However, I'd like to hear more. Input from the other members is welcome.

  9. I don't know about Chinese, but Zoubek or Leslie or someone like those guys did a demo where they took down, at the rate of 120 words per minute, Japanese and read it back. Now whoever did the writing did NOT speak Japanese but was trying to prove that just because a shorthand writer doesn't know the word doesn't mean it can't be written!

    Pretty neat, huh?

    So, despite the fact that Chinese and Japanese may have lots of different sounds, Gregg might work anyway!


  10. Hi Marc,
    That's very interesting. Nice test for any system of shorthand; can it mark-up enough of the key sound information so that that what was said can be transcribed. It would have been interesting to see how easily an english-speaking japanese could have translated the transcript back into their native language.

    Again, very interesting. Thanks!


  11. Marc:

    The thing is, in tonal languages, the same phonetic word, such as "toak", would have different meanings. A rising tone might mean "mother" while a falling one might mean "graveyard", making transcription unintelligible.

    I don't know if Japanese is tonal, though, but Chinese and Vietnamese certainly are.

  12. I guess you can get some information about that with Mr. T. Kaneko, from Japan.  He understand English.  His site of Stenography is: In Japan there are also several stenographic associations.  Visit this interesting site of a stenography course in Japan: About Stenography in China there is a very good link:

  13. Japanese is not tonal. It has what is called melodies, of which there are two High, and Low. Each syllable is either High or Low. The melodies usually run High Low High Low but not always, particularly when dealing with syllabic /n/. They do follow a set of rules and there are (almost) no exeptions to the rules. Because melodies are not used to distinguish otherwise identical words (as tones do in Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese) it would not be nessesary to transcribe them, considering that to someone speaking Japanese they would come naturally to them anyway.

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