Am I missing something? (Simplified)

Greetings to the group!
My name is d’Armond, and I’ve just joined the group.  Like many others, I am interested in acquiring the skill of shorthand.  I find that I take lots of notes in my professional life, plus I think it would be fun.
I’m working my way through the 2nd edition (1955 printing) of “Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified.”  I’m still fairly early on, but I’m working hard at at.  I find, though, that I am spending a HUGE amount of time trying to decipher the sample outlines for reading practice, and there are many of the outlines I cannot grok at all.  But there doesn’t seem to be any reference I can use to find out what they’re supposed to mean.  Am I missing a separate text that I need in order to fully utilize this text?  A key, a teacher’s edition, something?  Or is this a text of an earlier time when it was expected you’d learn this in a classroom setting, and could ask in class for help?
Thanks everyone!
–d’Armond

(by d’armond for everyone)

10 comments Add yours
  1. Aggravating isn't it? I've found the exact same thing. I think the text is designed for a classroom setting and you're supposed to ask your teacher. There's even a note in there somewhere saying you should write down figures you can't decipher and bring them to class. To make it worse, they seem to deliberately throw in short forms they haven't taught you yet to make you stretch a little. I still want to know the name of the boat Miss whatshername is sailing to France on when she retires. My advice — write them down anyway and try going back when you've progressed a little more. No sense in getting bogged down and slowing your progress over a word or two here and there.

  2. Hey, d'Amond —   I'm not exactly sure which of the books you're using.  There was a method of teaching called the Functional Method.  In that method, they taught you to read and all you did was read before you picked up the pen.  If the manual is Functional Method, there's usually a key in the back.  Some of the older editions did it that way.    You wouldn't happen to be able to scan a problematic page, would you?  I have a large collection of the various manuals and if I can identify it, I might actually be of some use  to you.   Best of luck!  It really is worth it.   Peter

  3. I've attached two scans, one of the cover and a copy of one of the reading samples.  I compressed the cover down to about 35k, but I left the page sample larger (613k), so it would be easier to read.  You can also see my attempts to parse the outlines, written lightly in pencil in the text.   I don't think this is the functional method; I don't see a reference to that, and I'm doing lots of writing practice as well as the reading at the end of the lessons.   This sample page is the one referenced by Marco above.  They do throw in brief foroms not yet taught (such as "bf" for "before").  I think the name of the boat is "Paris", no?

    Attachment: Gregg_cover.jpg

  4. Yes, the boat is "Paris".  They did sometimes include things in the readings that were not yet introduced.  They got better about that in the later editions.  It seems that some of the things you are having difficulty with are the phrases (at least those were not annotated on your page – if it's because you understood that without difficulty I apologize).   You are right, this is not the Functional Method.  With the Functional Method they included a key for everything at the back of the book.  Here's the transcript of the outlines not annotated:   Letter 27:  Porter, it would be, shall I arrange, Alice Collins Letter 28:  I shall put; last sentence:  I cannot supply his home address but I shall get it in a day or so.   Letter 29:  …but I shall be back FOR OUR May fishing trip.  George   I can totally understand your frustration.  It seems it took a while for them to work the kinks out.  The whole suggestion of writing the words you don't know on a piece of paper and asking the teacher seems to have not been practical.  🙂   Peter

  5. Thanks Peter!  You were right, the places where I had nothing written were what I couldn't work out.  The phrases are tricky.  Not to mention Alice Collins, without the little marks below it to indicate a proper name, grr.   I may poke my head in here from time to time to get some advice when I get stuck. 

  6. What your teachers always said about saving the exam questions that were stumping you for the end holds doubly true here because there are idiosyncrasies on the pages.

    The absence of the little marks for "Alice Collins" is a good example; I don't think the 1955 edition prepares the student by explaining (as previous editions did) that they're often not necessary (and hence often not used). Other minor lessons are slipped into the writing without explicit notification. Arabic numerals are sometimes confusing; some places they're circled, other places not. Punctuation as well. Also, the written lines are spaced quite closely, often creating the extra work of figuring out which line an outline belongs to.

    Such things had me hollering "unfair!" every day when I first went through that book. Save yourself the aggravation; skip ahead and go back later.

  7. Sometimes, when one cannot identify an outline, it is because is either a phrase, or a combination of brief forms.  For example, you have "will not be" written as l-n-b, "for our" written as f-r, "I shall be" as "a-sh-b", and "before" written as "b-f".   Now that you know those phrases, you can certainly write: "before the", "before this", "will be", "for the", "for that", "before that", "I shall not be", "I will be", "I will not be", "he will be", "he will not be", "I cannot be", "I can be", "he cannot be", "I would be", "I would not be", "he is not", "she is not", "I could", "I could be", "I could not be", "which is", "on that", "if the", "if that", etc.   I suggest to spell out the outline and pronounce it slowly — it usually helps.

  8. I've taken to writing out the problem outlines and trying to work them out, and if I'm really stuck, just moving on in the text. I can then go back later and look for clues about what it is. I don't spend more than about 20 seconds on things that stump me, so I'm feeling less like hitting a brick wall on problems.

    In the past two days I've found that I've improved much in my reading. I'm still very slow, but I'm getting most of the outlines now, and I've stopped penciling in my guesses.

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