Question for Ian- Sweet’s Current Shorthand


I read your post that contained your liking for Sweet’s Current Shorthand. I was sufficiently intrigued to do some research and discovered that there is a reprint manual available- $50 US. I’m willing to part with that if it’s really a viable system. I noted that GB Shaw was familiar with it Sweet’s but he, and a number of others, were apparently somewhat critical of the system due to the way Sweet abbreviated his shorthand- making it impossible for any but Sweet to transcribe- does this track with your experience? I really like the linearity of Sweet’s example, but as noted elsewhere, the ability to accurately transcribe is very important to me. I do like that Sweet could apparently write his shorthand at 150 wpm- cool!.

Thanks! Appreciate any insights.



(by tom_in_co for everyone)

5 comments Add yours
  1. Hi Tom,   I'm only replying six weeks (too) late, which is quite good for me!   I do have a real liking for this system. I like the fact that it is written on the line, and that any word, no matter how long, never leaves it; I like that there are no thick and thin lines, so it can be written with a ballpoint; I like that you can write words phonetically or orthographically.   The textbook itself is more of an exposition of the system – it's a bit hard to learn from it, but possible.  The system isn't set out particularly systematically, which I think the book makes the system look more complicated than it is.   However, one think that GBS was right about, is that the abbreviation system is quite hard to learn.  I didn't find much problem transcribing the abbreviated examples at the back of the book, but like most things, I suspect a passive understanding is easier than an active one.  The phonetic system without abbreviations is easy I think, but probably too slow to be useful in a vocational setting.   I don't know if you went ahead an bought the book.  If you did, I hope you think it was worth it – it's very interesting.  I still get my book out and think about swapping over to the system, but then life, or another shorthand system, gets in the way!   Ian

  2. Hey Ian,    Thanks for the reply, no matter how tardy! 🙂    Yes, I bought the book- and have remained in two minds since then- I, too, like the fact that it stays on the line. But what I suspect is a great system is obscured by it's presentation. I've found that I actually have been using Callendar's Orthic shorthand much more- I like that I can either use it semi-phonetically or strictly orthographically. Unfortunately, I can only get the 1919 Manual- I would love to have seen his Manual Cursive or the supplements that he and W. Stevens produced.   To segue back to Sweet- did you ever come across another author's exposition on his (Sweet's) system? As Stevens did with Callendar's system?   Cheers,   Tom

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