does series 90 deserve its bad rap

My subject title is somewhat rhetorical having read the commentary on series 90’s limitations. But I have specific, serious questions and reasons for asking. I, like most of you, am amazed at the speeds of the earlier and more difficult versions. I also decided that the most sensible version for me would be the DJ for the typical reasons. However, becoming ever more realistic about the amount of time I have to devote and how fast I really need to go makes me ask whether I should focus on the S90 as it seems to be aggreed to be the easiest! I know, blasphemy, (from what I can tell) to you all– does anyone not feel negatively towards this version? Here’s what I wonder: Could a more easily won success with this version equal– for time spent –a lesser success with a more difficult one? And, perhaps more importantly, it seems that the more ‘written out’ Gregg is the more easily it is read later. I would like to be able to write things (never transcribe them) and still be able to readily read them long after the fact. So wouldn’t a version that differentiates words moreso be better for that as I’m given to believe S90 does? Or would I be misjudging how much easier S90 really is as a tradeoff for speed– are the tradeoffs proportional? And how much more readable is S90? Perhaps someone who has enough experience with both could help me weigh these things. Another idea I had was to try to incorporate something in an early Gregg book I have to the DJ or the S90 version. It has little diacritical marks that indicate vowel length if I remember correctly. I wonder if this would help me in my goal of readability in whichever of the newer versions I focus on. Thank you in advance for your input! 🙂

(by dockdweller2 for everyone)

15 comments Add yours
  1. Welcome to the group, dockdweller2!

    Don't worry about blasphemy here; elitist orthodoxy isn't practical when your as culturally beleaguered as we are.

    > I, like most of you, am amazed at the speeds of the earlier and more difficult versions. …However…

    —And keep in mind those speeds don't come as a natural course of learning the earlier editions; it's just that those systems have the *potential* to be written that fast. Normal daily use of any system doesn't demand more than 80-or-so wpm, and so that's all you'll ever write with S90 or 1916—unless you devote hours to dictation practice.

    > it seems that the more 'written out' Gregg is the more easily it is read later. I would like to be able to write things (never transcribe them) and still be able to readily read them long after the fact. So wouldn't a version that differentiates words moreso be better for that as I'm given to believe S90 does?

    Legibility long after the fact is actually no more of a problem than legibility *immediately* after the fact. But in both cases, yes, explicit writing helps. (I'm not sure S90 is an absolute advantage here, though; you can write completely explicitly with 1916—just avoid phrasing and abbreviation.)

    Use the diacritical marks with whatever edition; they stand on their own theoretically, and they do help with readability in a number of cases (though as you progress you might be surprised at how little you need them). I use always use them in personal notes.

    I don't know S90 edition aside from it's reputation, but if you like Gregg, I wouldn't hesitate to learn it. The longer I write Gregg, the more I feel that *confidence* with your system is by far the largest factor in both speed and legibility—much larger than the number of efficiency devices at your theoretical disposal. To me, that makes a very strong argument for S90 (if not against alternative alphabetical systems, at least against the more "thorough" Gregg editions).

    If, when you find yourself absolutely confident with it, you crave more speed, pick up 1916 and learn it as time permits. I don't think you'll have wasted much time or effort, because the hardest part of Gregg is not the "memory load" of the earlier editions' brief forms, word endings and word beginnings (those stick with you quicker than you'd think), it's getting the SHAPES, PROPORTIONS, and CONNECTIONS. After more than a year of practice for myself, writing the top 100 word signs (which covers half of normal English) is nearly automatic; composing the outline for an unfamiliar word can *still* be difficult. That would probably be reversed had I learned S90 or Centenial.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  2. Welcome to the group, dockdweller2.   Frankly, I think series 90 has had a bad rap. We've heard from Series 90 writers in this group — and I'd love to hear from them again — who use it every day and find it very useful.   Lots of people in this group have started with one series and moved to a more challenging series. I think it all depends on your motivation.   Having said that, and at the risk of offending the devoted followers of Dr Gregg, if you are looking for a short learning curve and a very short time to a reasonable (twice your writing speed) you'd be better off with a Roman alphabet based shorthand. There are lots, some more complicated than others. My personal preference is "Personal Shorthand" which has lots of books —   There is a really nice "kit", though, for DJ out there, as well as for S90. It includes a text and real vinyl records or cassettes. There are very few lessons, and as far as I can tell, all the principles are covered:   S90:    DJ:   Good luck!

  3. Also, it's worth mentioning that DJS and Series 90 are visually virtually identical, as far as the texts go.  A quick glance at connected matter won't inform you which system you're looking at, and it could take some extended reading before you'd encounter a real difference–and even then you might not even notice it.   I learned DJS, so there's no advantage to me to learn Series 90, but for someone new to Gregg I'd say it doesn't matter–I'd go with whichever text(s) is/are available.  Your practical results are going to be the same.   Alex

  4. Let me tell you exactly what are the differences between DJS and S90. In terms of basic principles, DJS and S90 are basically identical, except for two word endings, one word beginning, and the brief forms:

    1. In DJS, the ending -sume is "s-m", whereas in S90 is "s-u-m". Likewise, "-sumption" is "s-m-sh" in DJS, and "s-u-m-sh" in S90.

    2. The prefix "post-" (as in "postage") is expressed by a "p" in DJS, whereas it is spelled out in S90.

    2. The following words are brief forms in DJS: big (b-g), during (d-r), gone (g-n), great (g-r), how (o-u), merchandise (m-e-ch-d-ai-s), merchant (m-e-ch-t), must (m-s), purpose (p-r-p), put (p), railway (r-a), shall (sh), such (left s-ch), those (left th-s), upon (p-o-n), use (e-u), why (ai), work (u-k), year (e-r), and yet (e-t).

    So, really, the only major difference between the two versions is the 20 additional brief forms of DJS. Hence, don't expect that you will be saving much more time in learning by going the S90 route, unless it is really difficult for you or if you don't have time to memorize 20 additional words.

  5. Good point Alex. The books are basically identical and they look alike. In fact, the Expert Speed Course for both S90 and DJS are the virtually the same. I still remember one post here about a person that didn't know if she was writing S90 or DJS — and it was a hard one to decide!

  6. I think it would depend upon your goals.

    If you're looking to use Gregg for diary-keeping, Series 90 would do just fine, I think.

    After reading Shorthand Marc's website, I've become convinced that Diamond Jubilee is the most versatile, however. You can take it as far as you want to; Basic for diary-keeping; Expert if you want to do the mega-speeds.

    I've never heard of Expert Series 90 until just now. What are the expected speeds?

  7. All the Gregg systems involve these learning objectives to different degrees (am I forgetting any?):   1.  alphabet 2.  brief forms 3.  word beginnings/endings 4.  phrasing   It may be true that Series 90 involves less of 2, 3, and 4, but even if a person was so lazy that they only wanted to learn the alphabet, I would encourage them to do it!  Some Gregg is better than no Gregg, and the more you learn, the more you want to learn.    The reason Series 90 has a bum rap is not because it is useless, but that it is generally percieved to have tipped the scales to make the costs of learning Gregg (time, effort), outweight the benefits (rapid recording) for BUSINESS USE.  When it comes to personal learning, I do whatever my curiosity tells me to–the important thing for me is to have fun! ______________________________ Praise the Lord, I saw the light line!

  8. One MAJOR difference is the word "date." It's the det-blend in everything except S90, where it's written d-a-t.

    Wasn't there also a "spect" stroke in DJ which is missing from S90?

    I think there are several other differences.

    Yes, an S90 person could probably read through the differences, but S90 did have some problems. Remember, I worked for McGraw-Hill while S90 was being produced and I did voice my opinion but usually heard, "What does HE know? HE writes [indignant tone ON] ANNIVERSARY!"



  9. Maybe one of you with a S90 dictionary could check: I think S90 does not use the "abbreviating principle" for word families, paragraph 364 DJS second edition and not in families, paragraph 373.   (-)tribute [t-r-e-b] contribute [k-t-r-e-b] distribute [d-s-t-r-e-b] attribute [a-t-r-e-b]   -quent consequent/ce [k-s-e-k] subsequent/ce [s-s-e-k] frequent/ce [f-r-e-k] eloquent/ce [e-l-o-k]   -quire [k-i] -titute or -titude [t-e-t]   Not in families: anniversary, equivalent, preivilege, convenient/ce, significant…   If it does, then it's much closer to DJ than I thought.   And we do have at least one DJ court reporter in our midst.   sidhe

  10. From my handy-dandy Series 90 dictionary:   contribute:  kay-t-r-e-b consequent:  kay-s-e-kay inquire:  n-kay-i attitude:  a-t-e-t anniversary:  a-n-e-v equivalent:  e-kay-e-v (with "w" understrike under the second e) privilege:  p-r-e-v significant:  s-e-gay-n-e-f   Not a complete answer to your question, but a good sample.  What can I say?  Like I said before, Series 90 and DJS look the same to me on the page.   Alex

  11. Yes, they do look very similar except for that work outline. For some reason I cannot write it "r-k" like every other series except DJ. u-k just makes more sense to me. Silly how I get attached to these extremely minor details.    

  12. My recently arrived S90 Manual shows the addition of a new word family to the 'Abbreviating Principle' paragraphs: '-graph', i.e. the word stops when you get to the 'g'.
    I'm pretty sure I haven't seen this elsewhere. (Prepares to be corrected!)
    I think this is an improvement on the earlier versions, particularly if you have a need to write 'stenographer'!

Leave a Reply