1916 – Modifying Angles in Phrasing

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From: MSN NicknameJRGAnniversary  (Original Message)Sent: 5/20/2007 1:14 PM
This morning I was practicing the word lists in Chapter 12 of the 1916 Manual then turned to the 1917 Speed Studies for more practice and was somewhat surprised to see the recommendations for modifying angles in phrases such as might have been or I would have been able. It does seem to me to be an unwise practice as if you are not immediately transcribing the material, you might have trouble later realizing what you have written. Nifty–Boy, any advice?
Also I noticed the “I” circle in the plates is more the size of an “E” circle than an “A” circle. This I do not find problematic, however in both Anniversary and Simplified, the “I” is more the size of an “A”.
Generally I have the impression that the 1916 version is much more free-wheeling and left to the writer’s discretion than subsequent editions!

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From: MSN NicknameChuck—-Sent: 5/20/2007 2:40 PM
The gist of the “rounding angle” principle is actually stated on Page 72 of the 1917 Speed Studies: “The idea is not to make an effort to round the angle, but to eliminate the sharp point.” Rounding angles improves your speed because you are not pausing unnecessarily. If you notice some of the writings of the experts, Charles Zoubek used to round angles quite often.

As to the size of the circles, remember that the shorthand size on the plates of shorthand editions before Anniversary are smaller than subsequent versions. This may give you the impression that it is smaller than it actually is. Take a look at Page 42 of the 1917 Speed Studies: the I circle there seems “big” to me. Also, in the 1916 version of the manual, page 34, in small letters it reads: “The size of the diphthong i is a large circle with an indentation — resembling a combination of a and e, which, if uttered in rapid succession, yield a sound almost equivalent to i. This sign for i is generally called ‘the broken circle.'”

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From: MSN NicknameChuck—-Sent: 5/20/2007 8:52 PM

We should move this discussion to the main group.  John, can you do that?

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From: MSN NicknameJohnSappSent: 5/26/2007 10:19 AM
Unfortunately, not really…
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  1. How flattering that I should be consulted 😀 Too bad I didn't notice until a week later, and Chuck gave an excellent response!

    I do concur, though! If you write a word like "influence" in one, continuous go, the rounding is unavoidable, and it's still perfectly legible as n-f since you're (or ought to be) turning abruptly, you're just not stopping to do so. In fact, my personal experience has been that keeping your writing spedometer steady as opposed to writing in jolts and fits to make angles or check yourself mid-outline contributes to more beautiful writing in general! This is just a sub-idea of that consistent-speed-consistent-rhythm-therefore-consistent-legibility idea that I really wish the manuals would at least mention without having to build bad habits early on and have to break them by the time you're doing Speed Studies.

    I'll post some scans of "stopping to turn the corner" (undesirable but fine), "bat out of hell ripping around the corner" (undesirable) and "smooth turning" when I'm back at school Tuesday!

    As for As, Es, and Is, it's a matter of personal penmanship as to how big the difference is between As/Is and Es, though I use the shorthand in the Fundamental Drills as my model.
    I think I know what you're talking about though, and Rader's a perfect example: he tends to make As/Is smaller when they're stretched out in words like "vacation" (between two strokes of different directions), instead of compensating by widening the circle a little, so it's not just a matter of scale confusion, as Chuck posited. Even the greats have little tics like this in their writing 🙂

    Hope that helps or was at least interesting!

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