Wesley’s Short-cut Shorthand

Just something interesting I ran across today in my college’s library… it’s a method of shorthand from I think the 70s. It’s alphabetic, but the tome has so many rules that I was immediately reminded of Pitman. It claims speeds of 150wpm.

The way this system works is simplifying alphabetic strokes and omitting most vowels: dog/dig/dug are all written the same way. Some letters like S are a dot on the line with Z being a dot above the line. There are lots of word endings and beginnings (more than Simplified as far as I could tell) for everything from commun- to -ivity, some of which had their own shapes as modified capital cursive letters, or different-shaped ticks. It has short forms too like “e” for “the”, “a” for “that”, etc.

It’s a disjointed system except for some letters which are connected to the previous letter, like n (a short line) or m (like G in Gregg). It’s also phonetic.

It seems to be a somewhat rare book, but I found one copy on ABE Books as well as two used copies on Amazon.

The things about the system that put me off were the enormous quantity of affixes and some of the strange rules (like a slightly differently shaped “a” representing something completely unrelated). It ends up having a few more strokes than a Simplified sentence (on average about 20% more from my observations).

It’s interesting as a curiosity at least 🙂

(by erik for everyone)

One comment Add yours
  1. I've been using Wesley Short-Cut Shorthand for over twenty years. Interestingly, I also discovered it in my college library, back in the day.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why this system never enjoyed a much wider following. It is far superior to Gregg and infinitely superior to Pitman for the average user who takes notes for nobody but himself. It is based on printed and cursive letter shapes that we already know, so it is intuitive, and you can teach yourself the system with complete ease and begin using it from Day One. The same could never be said for the Gregg or Pitman systems.

    For a professional stenographer, I would recommend Gregg (why anybody bothers with Pitman nowadays is beyond me). Take a course, spend a year or more learning it and then coming up to speed, and then call it good.

    But for the everyday user simply looking for a faster way to take notes for their own personal use, who is not interested in taking a formalized course or spending any amount of time to acquire the talent? For that user, Wesley is the way to go.

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