Newbie musing


When I joined the group a message flashed informing me that ElAve was a name used here before. I don’t know how to change it so I’ll just leave it as my nickname unless someone advises me that ElAve has a history here. I’m new and I don’t want to be confused with someone else.

Whew, already I’ve written plenty, just trying to say “hello!” You can imagine my need for shorthand.

When I was a teenager I studied my mother’s shorthand books a bit and really enjoyed playing around with it. All I kept from those days were the brief forms for “of” and “the.” Why hadn’t it dawned on me to learn Gregg Shorthand while I had the need for speedy note-taking in college? Duh. Recently I decided to learn to speak Spanish. Also recently, I purchased an old Gregg shorthand book (anniversary edition) and discovered there was a Spanish language version. I got that too and an old dictionary. All 3 old books appear to be from the Anniversary era. Now I’ve also acquired a series 90 book (50 cents at a library sale – how could I resist?).

I’m very much enjoying splashing around simultaneously in the Spanish shorthand (Taquigrafia) and the English, while trying to avoid mental meltdown concerning vowel sounds. I’ve made myself a little chart comparing the taquigrafia and the English vowel sounds and I’ve been playing with the idea of trying to write both languages with essentially the same marks – it seems this is mostly what Gregg did when he wrote the Taquigrafia, but there are some differences. Anyway, this exploration has led me to some thinking on vowels that I want to share because of Thousandwave’s post and some of the replies.

I’ve noticed recently that I must have a slight Midwestern accent. For instance, I say egg with a long “A.” If I were to write “egg” phonetically for my-eyes-only, then the large circle standing for the long “A” would more closely resemble the way I pronounce the word. If I were to write it “properly” then I’d use a small circle, right? I haven’t seen the word yet in shorthand. What if one had a strong accent and they pronounced “yellow” as “yeller” (not a Midwestern thing by the way). Would it be easier on the reader, when sounding out words, if the word was written with an “R” on the end? I’m sure the thought horrifies many people on many levels, but I only mean to bring up the question of one’s brain taking an extra step in translating an “accent” as opposed to writing in one’s own accent. Vowels have surprisingly become a hot topic for me.

Thousandwaves mentioned the omission of the “R” in “serve” and “warm” but not in “barn.” It’s a wild guess on my part to imagine reasons for why Gregg may be as it is, but lack of knowledge has never stopped me from offering guesses. So, my guess is that some word meanings are so specific that they point to themselves contextually and others are more flexible and therefore need to be more fully identified, for example by writing their “R.”  In sounding out W-A-M with some various “A” sounds, such as those found in Apple, Father, or Ache, the word does not seem to lend itself easily to discernable words other than “warm.” “Barn,” on the other hand, seems to make some other words when sounding out B-A-N with various vowel interpretations: “ban” and “bane.”  It’s just some “beginner thinking” so it may not be relevant but I had fun thinking about it anyway.

I agreed with the writers who pointed out that sometimes one’s best course of action is to learn first and speculate on the rules later. Sometimes reasons for things become apparent with experience. Even if reasons never become apparent, stuff that works still works. I don’t honestly understand how my nifty technological gadgets work but I use ’em anyway. I agreed with the comments from both the writer who pointed out that adaptations work if they work for the individual who uses them and also from the other writer who pointed out that the developers had hashed out the details for us and perhaps we would have an easier time of it if we didn’t try to forge new ground. Forgive me for the extremely loose comment interpretations, I only mean to say I found them all to be good and valid points of view. I couldn’t resist introducing myself with my own 2 cents thrown in on the topic.

I really enjoy reading comments at this site and I wish I had time to read more of them. I’m enjoying this new exploration into Gregg shorthand! I’m just having a blast with it and I really want to learn it well and keep it as a part of me for life. The advice I read in the replies to Thousandwaves was great. If anyone has advice for a Spanish language learning taquigrafia/shorthand beginner, then I welcome their comments. It remains to be seen if I’ll develop a hodgepodge of my own that is functional in Spanglish or if I’ll stick to the books and just make a notation for myself when the form represents a Spanish word. Shorthand would come in handy for writing my Spanish language exercises but now that I’ve discovered shorthand I really want to use it now, in English, in ALL my writing. Someone posted that finding Gregg shorthand again was like finding an old friend. For me, it’s like finding the guy I “should have” gone out with long ago when I first laid eyes on him in high school. Oh well, better late than never, yes?


(by elave for everyone)

8 comments Add yours
  1. Welcome to the group.

    I so relate to you about the accent. I have a Kansas twang and some of the words aren't spelled how I would pronounce them. So I also have a tough time with the phonetics. I am glad that I have a dictionary to check with when I am trying to write new words or figure out the ones I don't know.

  2. The question of accent has come up before.

    Then, I wondered whether Anniversary reflected a time when 'r' sounds were less apparent in US English. I'd heard Eleanor Roosevelt on TV and was struck by how 'English' she sounded ('barn' would have come out as 'bahn').

    I suppose the outlines are a best-fit compromise. 'Egg' to a South African would be 'ig', and to a New Zealander, 'fish' would have the same vowel sound as 'rush'. The omission of 'r' sounds works well for British English, but not so well if you're Scottish, Irish or American.


  3. Ave:  I share with you my initial motivation of learning shorthand — to take faster notes in college.  That was quite a while ago.  Now it's just a hobby, :-).   In terms of advise for Taquigrafia Gregg, stick to the Anniversary version in Spanish, since that's what you are learning in English.  By doing that, you will be learning by analogy, even though the Versión Aniversaria of Taquigrafía Gregg is more similar to the Pre-Anniv version of Gregg Shorthand.  The Series 90 is less abbreviated and cumbersome.  (I cringe everytime I see the outline of "Cordial saludo" in S90!)  I write in both languages, so if you have a question about shorthand, either English or Spanish, post it here.  We would be able to answer.

  4. It's good to know someone thinks it's not crazy to try to learn the Taquigrafia, Gregg, and Spanish language all simultaneously.   I was thinking I had the Anniversary Edition Taquigrafia because the last copyright date was 1923 and I thought that was in the right time frame. My Anniversary Gregg in English has a last copyright of 1929. So are those two books compatible or do I need a different Taquigrafia? They seem to go well together in the beginning of the book at least. The Taquigrafia has the "TH" mark, similar to "(" for "Y" and the "TH" mark similar to ")" for "LL." The other letters are the same or at least they make sense in light of the Anniversary Edition Gregg in English. Of course the vowels have some variations. Seeing the AO, AU, and OA combinations has probably helped me to hear those sounds better when listening to Spanish.   No s챕 el porque, but I just think studying the Taquigrafia will help me with my Spanish language learning goal. It just adds another visual and another point of interest that will help me play with the Spanish words I'm trying to learn/remember.   The Series 90 book that I picked up at the library is in English. I thought I'd just use it as supplementary information and exercise material.   I'd like to see the two Cordial saludos – the S90 and the Anniversary so I could see the differences. Poco a poco I'll start getting a clue about Gregg Shorthand. I certainly enjoy writing it. Of course S-L-O-W is my WPM but at this point I don't care much about speed, I'm just enjoying making the words and being able to read them later.   This site is great, I'm glad I found ya'll Gregg Shorthand folks. Thank you for your replies to my posts, Ave

  5. Learning Gregg in conjunction with learning a foreign language is laudable! I would think it would prove most successful once you have mastered the distinct sounds of the second (or third!) language. But remember Gregg collaborated  in producing shorthand courses in several European languages (even Polish), so expect brief forms that may appear similar to American Gregg to have different meanings. Letter omission, phrasing, and other shortcuts will reflect common usage and frequency of occurance that native speakers of that language will more quickly recognize. One of the chief benefits of studying foreign Gregg will be an insight into the culture and perspectives of the speakers of that language. Also, a functional understanding of how spelling and grammar lend themselves to a logical and useful shorthand system. Pitman and some other European shorthand systems were successfully adapted to other than their original languages. Like our Roman alphabet which looks the same but changes in pronunciation and letter blends and clusters as employed from language to language, so are the symbols of Gregg. Have a great time on your adventure!    DOC

  6. Thanks for the upbeat, supportive message! I am creeping along slowly in my learning. I decided to make a read aid for the shorthand where I list the shorthand forms alphabetically. For example, if I were stumped while reading K-T I would look under the K's and find that K-T on my list stands for country. Looking up O-T under the O's would show me the word w-h-a-t. Perhaps there is already some sort of reverse dictionary out there and I just don't know what to call it or where to find it. Right now I'm making my own as I go through the chapters. As it grows too large I can always trim off words as I learn them.   As you, Doc, suggested, there are brief forms in the Spanish Gregg that appear similar to American Gregg. This would make it impossible for me to read my shorthand Spanglish so I'm not going to try that. Right now it's mandatory for me to indicate which language I'm shorthanding. Using our Roman alphabet, I can mix Spanish and English into Spanglish sentences and still understand myself. In shorthand, I'm afraid I'd be very confused when it came time to try to read what I had written. In shorthand I'll limit my use of Taquigrafia to my Spanish language workbooks for now.   In the beginning, I decided I'd make an extra long M so as to distinguish it from N. Then I learned about the Min, mem, mum blend. Ha! It serves me right for blasting out of the gate with bright ideas without reading the manual. You know the style, put things together first and read the manual only if it doesn't fly. Humbled by mem, I am now following the book closely and cautiously. I'm trying to match the book examples for size. I thought the smaller I made the forms the more room I would have on the paper, but the small size also means tiny variations are more important. My natural tendency would be to write larger but then… Well, never mind – who needs blow by blow descriptions from Beginner Land? I'm going by the book now – nuff said.   Thanks for your enthusiasm about my adventure. Adventure is exactly how I feel about it! I'm glad I found this site. -Ave

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