Hello, need advice to choose a variant, especially for foreign languages

Hello all,

Great group, wonderful resource. I’ve learned a lot in an hour, especially thanks to http://www.msnusers.com/greggshorthand/Documents/gregg-shorthand-comparison.pdf But if you don’t mind, I need some advice to confirm my instincts of which Gregg version to learn.

The reason why I want to learn shorthand is to handle lecture notes and interviews, which means I’ve got to acquire a minimum level of speed. I’m guessing that for those application-oriented needs, the best way to go is probably Simplified. Yea or nay?

I’m torn between that or Anniv., but given that I’m often working on existing foreign languages (Romanian and Serbian), reviving old ones (Russian), and occasionally poking around with new ones (Arabic, eventually Swedish), Simplified sounds like it might be the more appropriate memorization load (and less time commitment to brushing up) in my case. Unless there’ s strong case to be made for significantly greater speed with Anny?

So, the questions become:

1. Assuming some fairly diligent practice (not quite every day, but most days per week, max of one hour sessions) what are typical to upper range Simplified speeds? Ballpark estimates would be helpful.

2. Relative to the first question, to what extent is Gregg flexible/adaptable enough to handle (sometimes rare) foreign languages? I’m thinking in particular of handling interviews in:

– Romanian (Latin-based language, some regional speakers blaze away at French-type speeds of 180-220 wpm, I think — not to mention a load of short form pronouns and words that consist only or mostly of vowels, and a number of diacritical markings sprinkled across two vowels and two consonants)

– or, if I can get my own speaking up to speed, Serbian (obviously, Slavic, with quite a few consonants with diacritical markings).

3. How easy is it to convert to Anny from Simplified, if the need arises?

Your collective wisdom is greatly appreciated! 🙂

(by wheres_my_thing for everyone)

16 comments Add yours
  1. Thanks! To clarify – I was virtually certain there'd be no books for oddball languages – just wondering how much trouble I'd be getting in trying to adapt Gregg to places it might not have been meant to go. 😉 As in, do any of you have favorable or unfavorable experiences of trying to use Gregg's phonetic capabilities for this purpose?

    Also, I mis-remembered something. According to one site I ran across, French can hit 320 wpm, not the 220 I had mis-wired into my brain. (Yoiks…) I'm not asking for quite that kind of speed, but people from the Oltenian or Moldavian regions of Romania can probably hit a close second – and drive you nuts just trying to comprehend them aurally, let alone write it down… 😉

    Thanks again, and everyone please feel free to add advice!

  2. How you go about this probably depends on your personal goals. If one of your goals is to use Gregg for English then you could kill two birds with one stone by using it with a foreign language.I have Gregg (l916) and Simplified in Spanish, 1916 in Polish, and Anniversary in French. This website offers German Gregg but I forget which version. My guess is chose your Gregg for English and apply it to your foreign language choice. One of the boasts of early Gregg was that dictation could be taken in any language (whether or not the stenographer understood what was being said) and could be reproduced phonetically in Gregg. I never quite bought that claim because every language has distinct sounds foreign to English. Another problem I see that without a Gregg text in a given foreign language, there would be no way of guessing short forms and phrases. We have several members who know another system as well as Gregg. It can be done. So you might want to investigate what system(s) is used for stenography in that country, obtain a text and study that system as well. Even if you use Gregg, you would then have a list of short forms and phrases to convert to Gregg. An ambitious task, but well worth the effort, and probably less frustrating in the long run! DOC

  3. I think that Simplified is a good compromise.  You will have the potential of going to higher speeds — comparable to Anniversary — and switch to Anniversary if need be with little difficulty.  High speeds come with practice, so don't expect to be blazing after finishing your first shorthand book.   Gregg adaptations to Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, and other languages have been published.  I'm not aware of a Romanian adaptation.  The Spanish adaptation is well used in Latin America, and it is still being published.  In fact, other than English, Spanish is the only other language which has books in all series of Gregg (Anniv, Simp, DJS, S90, Centennial).  In terms of Slavic languages, I'm not sure.  But since Gregg is phonetic, I would be surprised if you couldn't adapt it to your needs.

  4. Wheresmything–I've heard that Gregg isn't too suitable to the Slavic languages; apparently, the consonent structure of those languages effects absurdly long outlines when written in Gregg.

    Supposedly, Pitman is a little better for those languages. One of the forummates has written on this subject in the past, but I have forgotten where and when…

    I don't see any reason Gregg won't work for the other languages, though. (As an aside, strangely enough, there has never been a Swedish adaption)

  5. Hello!   Gregg shorthand can probably be adapted to all existing languages, given the appropriate diacritics. The problem rises when you want to take both English and that foreign language using exactly the same shorthand abbreviating rules. In my experience, this cannot be done.    

  6. Thank you all for the wisdom!

    Thinking about what George and Mark said, it occurs to me that breaking down the diacritics might be one way to go. Such that the s^ in Serbian, for example (if you don't mind the substitution of the circumflex for the real thing…), is a "sh" sound (god only knows how I'm going to differentiate between c' and c^, however…).

    Beyond that – thanks Mark, because I get the sense I'm going to have invent my own abbreviations. Hmm. Sounds like one heck of a challenge in its own right. 🙂

    DocBandstand – You know, I never would have thought to bother the stenographers in each country until now, to find out how they work, period. And heck – there's probably a freelance article to be had in that one. Thanks!! 🙂

    Strawman – The reason why Romanian and Serbian are critical to me is because I've been specializing in them since 1992 for political science purposes. I'm no longer in academia, but I'm still looking for professional ways to keep up with Balkans (and utilize the languages I know). Arabic, I'm just interested in for the hell of it. And no, I'm not Orthodox, though the wife is.

    Thanks again, everybody!

  7. Well, I don't speak Serbian so I can't be of any help, but I do speak Romanian. Perhaps Chuck will show you the Portuguese adaptation of the system. I think that the vowels can be represented with the same diacritics. The ă sound is similar to the unstressed a in Portuguese, î / â might be rendered with the small circle with a dash underneath. I think it's no use representing the yod sound at the beginning of words like "este." Diphthongs are more complicated, but not more than in Portuguese. You may also borrow quite a lot of shortforms from the Portuguese adaptation since function words are often similar.    Hope this helps.

  8. E is systematically pronounced [je] at the beginning of words in Romanian. So distinctive marks aren't necessary.   I'm trying to figure out which Romanian sound doesn't need any representation at all.

  9. Here are some suggestions for Serbian (I don't speak the language, but just from phonetics):   Vowels:  same as in English   Consonants:  r, v, l, m, n, f, s, h, b, p, d, t, g, k, h:  same as in English   j: "y" lj: up or down "th" symbol (as in Spanish) nj: "n" with a little vertical dash below (as in Spanish) z: "s" with a little dash to the side (as in English) s^:  "sh" (as in English) z^:  "sh" with a little dash to the side c:  "ts" dz^:  "j" c^: "ch" c': "ch" with a little dash to the side d-: "d" with a little dash to the side   Eventually, you will dispose of the diacriticals, once you know what you're writing.   Let me know if this works.

  10. The vowels in Serbian can be represented by the same set of symbols as in Spanish and English.  In Portuguese, there are 7 vowel sounds (a, open e, closed e, i, open o, closed o, u) + 5 nasals = 12!  And they can all be represented in Gregg.  The diphthongs and triphthongs that are so common in both Spanish and Portuguese have a set of diacriticals too.  I agree that the beginning yod doesn't need to be represented, unless there is another word that may be confusing.  For example, the words era and hiera in Spanish differ in the little dash underneath the e sound.   I think it is more challenging to come up with the brief forms.  For starters, I may suggest using the a circle for "ja" …

  11. Hey George, it was me, Mike from Moscow, who said that Gregg outlines can become very long when used for Russian.  That's true, unless you use the abreviation principle heavily.  Pitman does seem much more suitable, but I can't use it on my PDA, which is a bummer.  I've gone to being a lurker as currently not doing Gregg, with my new job I don't have much time to learn a new system, either Gregg or Pitman, and went back to Teeline, which I know very well.   Thing, I must say that reaching 320 wpm in a Slavic language could be a very daunting task.  The world record in English is 350 wpm taken in Pitman shorthand, and that's after years of study, so if you want to go verbatim with that kind of speed it would take quite some perseverance.   BTW, here are some links that you might find interesting.  The first one is for a Bulgarian site, where you can download quite a few shorthand books for Bulgarian.  This should be easy to adapt to any Slavic language.  The other, just for the fun of it, is a very unique Russian system, which uses position writing, but still is cursive and uses blended letters.  It's also unique, because whole sentances are writen without lifting the pen.  The pen is only lifted to indicate a full stop.  The site's owner, though, is a bit crazy, so is his site.  He actualy believes that he has clinicaly proven that smokers are unable to master shorthand 🙂   http://fonostenograf.narod.ru/index.html http://fonostenograf.narod.ru/index.html

  12. Look at the Esperanto version of Shorthand found at gregg.angelfishy.net/djebfs.shtml.  Esperanto uses several Slavic characters (such as circumflex S for "sh" among others).  Also, seeing how Gregg was adapted for the Esperanto language will give you some ideas for how to work with the languages you're wanting to write.   Troy Fullerton

  13. Thanks Chuck & Mark!!

    Yeah, the dipthongs and tripthongs in Romanian, and especially the i^ / a^ had me wondering — I assumed I'd have to come up with some idiosyncratic workarounds for those and the "ts," "sh," "zh," "dj," "lj," nj", and c' + c^ sounds along the lines you guys suggested. Sure would be nice to dispose of some of the diacriticals, but I think that's a long way off. First things first! 🙂

    I just got the Simplified Functional Method, 2nd ed. (1955/1949 copyrights) book in the mail the other day (the green one, with the black front edge). Only yesterday did I begin to scratch the surface of the first chapter in a spare 20 minutes (I'm still digging out from two summer classes, and have other freelance work clamoring for me to catch up on ;-).

    The plan is to see how much I can cram on standard English Gregg before if and when I have to start another grad program this fall. *headscratch*

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