Shorthand Project

Dear All,

You may remember my request a little while ago for shorthand samples for a project I am working as a fine art graduate student. After communicating with a few of you, I have decided to redesign my project. I would like to hear your stories:

How/when did you learn shorthand?
Why do you still practice shorthand?
How does it feel to have a skill which many people feel is outdated and have you encountered any problems/negativity because of this?

This can be a casual response (no judgments!) and can be just a few lines or a longer response. Your response will help me while writing about shorthand and I will not use your name unless you specifically say it’s ok.

I appreciate your time.

Best regards,
Lauren 

(by gradstudent0 for everyone)

9 comments Add yours
  1. When I was about 12 or 13, I saw the notes of a female neighbor, Gail, who was learning shorthand in high school. I was fascinated with shorthand and decided to look at books in the San Mateo Public Library. I began to teach myself. At the time, it was a "guy" thing to learn shorthand. This was in the '60s–especially for an African-American. So, I learned in secret. I was afraid of being ridiculed if I took a class.

    Shorthand is like learning a foreign language to me. I enjoy Spanish and French. I know stenotype. (I'm a former court reporting student). I use cursive using the A. N. Palmer Method. I like writing systems, languages, and I collect books of all the shorthand systems especially versions of Gregg. Shorthand is fun, practical, and it keeps me out of trouble. 🙂 — Vic/San Jose CA

  2. 1. How/When I Learned Shorthand
    Self-taught from textbook purchased at Barnes & Nobles in 2004.

    2. Why I Still Practice Shorthand
    So I won't forget it. Just kidding…it's called fun, Lauren; SOME people like to have it. 😉 I still practice it because I only just picked it up two years ago. I can write faster.

    3. How it Feels to Have a Possibly Outdated Skill.
    Feels special. The only negativity I've encountered is from impatient customers who are angry that I am spending so much time practicing my shorthand instead of spinning the flax and boiling the wax myrtle.

  3. I would like to hear your stories:

    How/when did you learn shorthand? I learned Gregg Shorthand at our local
    community college while working at a medical center. My supervisor
    encouraged me to take it, but (as I found out later) when she saw how
    quickly I picked it up she felt threatened somehow. Soon after this I was
    promoted to Secretary for the Surgery Department. I married and did not
    work for about 4 years. Then I returned to county employ and am now the
    secretary for the Department of Children's Services.

    Why do you still practice shorthand? I practice shorthand only occasionally
    now. I find I can type much more quickly than I can taking shorthand. But
    when I take short letters, or messages, and other people see it, you can see
    the admiration and curiosity in their eyes.

    How does it feel to have a skill which many people feel is outdated and have
    you encountered any problems/negativity because of this? I haven't
    encountered any negative. Some of the more ambitious clerks have approached
    me to ask about how to go about learning shorthand, I have referered them on
    to this discussion site, and shown them the downloads. It is my hope that
    one day there will be a resurgence in interest in taking shorthand. Even at
    the time I was taking classes, shorthand was quickly becoming obsolete. But
    I learned it very well, and I still find myself tracing shorthand briefs in
    the air when I find an unfamiliar word that needs some practice.

  4.   How/when did you learn shorthand? Self-taught in mid-1990s as a graduate student working part-time 20 hours a week for an on-campus lecture-notetaking service.
    Why do you still practice shorthand? I have kept using it regularly for lectures, seminars, public talks, PBS specials, and so on. How does it feel to have a skill which many people feel is outdated and have you encountered any problems/negativity because of this? I ~think~ people have 100% seemed to think it was extremely cool. Additional comment- It amazes people when I quote a couple of paragraphs one of the seminar participants said in an earlier session. Although all the extra detail increases the amount of time spent, it basically increases my lecture/seminar comprehension and memory to 100%.

  5. How/when did you learn shorthand? I've been learning it on and off for I think at least three years. I started using a scanned book online and then a member here sent me the Simplified manual and a dictionary.

    Why do you still practice shorthand? I love writing systems in general, and the fact that it makes note-taking a whole lot easier (more information down faster) seals the deal. I often use it for recopying recipes when I'm too lazy to deal with network printer shenanigans.

    How does it feel to have a skill which many people feel is outdated and have you encountered any problems/negativity because of this? It's mostly polite curiosity in public when people see me writing or reading it. The most common question is "is that Arabic?" Nobody's said anything negative about it, and the few people who do recognize what it is go "Shorthand! I didn't think anybody still did that."

  6. I learned shorthand in high school my junior and senior years.  They only offered two years of it.  🙂  Series 90 was the current version when I started.  I could see the dreadful speed possibilities of Series 90 so I adopted the 1929 Anniversary Manual theory.  As I went to work for the courts, I added a number of reporting briefs and phrases to my writing.    I practice my skill by writing as often as possible.  I'm not nearly as good as I was when I was younger, but I still do try to read shorthand frequently to keep reminding myself of the theory.   I enjoy having a skill that is considered quaint and "outdated".  My coworkers are shocked that I can take shorthand.  This has never caused me any sort of problems and it has never exposed me to any sort of negativity. 

  7. 1. How/when did you learn shorthand?

    When I was about 15 I started working through a Gregg Anniversary manual, and practising while taking notes at school. This just seemed like a better use of my time than doodling (as most students do).

    2. Why do you still practice shorthand?

    This question just seems obvious to one who knows shorthand well. Writing longhand is extremely tedious: imagine drawing a picture of a cat vs. writing "cat"–there is no good reason to write words out longhand when you can flick them down on the page in shorthand with a thought! The confidentiality of notes written in shorthand is an added bonus.

    3. How does it feel to have a skill which many people feel is outdated and have you encountered any problems/negativity because of this?

    This is a little trickier. It certainly does mark me as an eccentric that I use shorthand, which isn't always desireable. But then a lot of people admire the fact that I have the skill too. It certainly isn't a fast track to business success like it is portrayed in the old shorthand manuals, but then again it doesn't get you branded as backward either–just a little weird 🙂

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