Please help translating 8 short lines

Dear list,

Sorry to bother, but I have a small dilemma which I thought could
easily be solved by relying upon your expertise.

I’m a geocacher (please see for more information, the
game is basically a high-tech scavenger hunt utilizing Global
Positioning Satellite devices), and there’s a puzzle utilizing
shorthand I just can’t crack. If you could be so kind as evaluate,
translate or offer any information regarding the image located at:

I’d be forever grateful.

Thank you for your time.


(by mrwisearse for everyone)

24 comments Add yours
  1. I had a hard time deciphering this bit of Gregg since it was written hastily. Here's what I could make out. I'm not sure if it says "thirty" since the letters used spell "thrighty", whatever that is! I'm also not sure of the word after "rusty". Wait for more answers 🙂

    Go to the Pony view tool ?.
    Find the trail that leads south and
    travel three hundred and thirty (?) feet
    until you come to some rusty ?.
    Go to ? and walk down to main trail. Turn left and walk
    fourty feet. Look for a rock unlike
    the others under a bush on your right side.

  2. NiftyBoy1,

    Holy cow, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude! Thanks so much for your work, it's proven incredibly helpful! I'm on the verge of finding the geocache with your assistance. I'll hold off on going out to find it till perhaps others can fill in some gaps (it's so hot outside! heh), but it's definitely a huge boon.

    Again, thanks a bunch,

  3. Sorry I wasn't as quick as Nifty, but the Gregg was vedry sloppy. I think he's basically right, this is what I came up with:

    Go to the Browny view that will curve. Find the trail that leads soutth. Travel three hundred and thirty feet until you come to some rusty post. Go to the post and walk down to the main trail. Turn right and walk forty feet, Look for a rock unlike the others under a bush on the right side.

  4. JRGAnniversary,

    You're assistance is also kindly appreciated! The geocacher who wrote the 8 lines may (or as it seems more likely) may not, be an expert in Gregg. I apologize on his behalf. Any way you slice it, though, he's 100000x more proficient in the system than I am, heh.

    I should have the latitude and longitude coordinates to start the hunt, and now given your guys' translation, I should be able to find the hidden container with (let's hope) little difficulty.


  5. Go to the Pony view [to-l/r — could be "tool" or "to our" ] [case/cave/cache].
    Find the trail that leads south
    Travel three hundred and [th-r-i-t-y] feet
    until you come to some rusty [p-o-sh/s-d/t].
    Go [under/"to (the)"] [p-o-o/s-t] and walk down to (the) main
    trail. Turn left and walk fourty feet. Look for a rock unlike
    the others under a bush on your right side.

    When you meet your Gregg writing colleague, you might suggest that she/he review her/his "f"s and "v"s. Otherwise it's not that bad! ; )

  6. Just got around to looking at this series of posts, and it stirred up one of my pet peeves about Gregg. I don't think the writer of those lines seems unskilled at all – the strokes flow very comfortably, don't look drawn or as if the writer had to stop and "form" them carefully. The truth is that inconsistency in long/short distinction of strokes happens all the time to even the best writers – someone here pointed out in another post that measuring the strokes in the Simplified textbooks shows them to be inconsistent in spite of being written by a superior writer. Also, and to my dismay, Gregg is only half-you-know-what-edly phonetic and depends on English spelling conventions a lot. When you see a word abbreviated in normal Roman letters, you can depend on visual familiarity to help you, but you lose that with Gregg. You have to try to sound it out first and then also try to see if it represents alphabet letters as it sometimes does. Gregg is only phonetic in offering single symbols for SH, TH, CH, but the vowels are even more reduced and imprecise than they are in normal spelling. I keep thinking that my difficulty in transcribing is due to my own lack of skill,  but I no longer believe that, as witness this thread about trying to decipher those 8 lines. IMHO that sample is hard to transcribe purely because the context itself is cryptic, being in the nature of arcane "treasure hunt" clues. When you transcribe something dictated to you, you have some memory of what was said, and, more importantly, meant, and if the context is fairly normal, you depend a lot upon it for help. Those who offered help to the inquirer in attempting to transcribe the sample both came up with inane sounding words, and both blamed the writer of the shorthand; I don't.

  7. Gregg makes a point about vowels in his series of articles, Basic Principals of Gregg Shorthand, over on Andrew's site. ( Vowels are the least consistent part of the language. They change with region and with time. He claims this is why the system doesn't get more specific.

    Another thread here mentioned that Gregg himself wasn't entirely consistent in his outlines.

    I'm still learning, but when it's ambiguous, and it's not a word I've used a lot in the lessons, I fall back on English spelling. I know I'll be able to decipher it. Other times, it doesn't matter; past tense, sometimes the "d" is pronounced "t", but it's still easy enough to figure out.

    I'm curious; do the accomplished writers here use the dictionary, the English spelling, or their own pronunciation? Does it make a difference who their usual audience is?

  8. ukulele144,

    Every one of the 42 English phonemes (plus the Scotch and German CH) has a distinct grapheme in Gregg. Exactly the same number of distinct graphemes as Pitman, or the IPA itself. Many of us find the diacritic marks used to make each of the finer distinctions really helpful at the start, but reading experience usually makes them more or less unnecessary. If you're interested, check the 1916 manual on the Angelfishy site. I don't think there's any reason not to use those extra devices with later editions.

    The delicacy of the symbols is directly correlated with their speediness, I think. Gregg just uses scale and angle variations on two or three pen gestures because those gestures are the most "facile", as the shorthand inventors used to say. The more distinctive detail variety of movement you put into your symbols, the more time they take to write.

    At speeds above a writer's ability, those scale and angle differences might be more challenging to maintain, but otherwise, simply take Mr. Gregg's advice and "make your short strokes very short, and your long strokes very long."

    No one here is going to dump hard on the writer of that note, but as a matter of fact there are some fundamental scale and angle errors there; nothing that a couple of hour's theory review wouldn't cure—but they're there.

    I feel your pain! I remember it well from just a year ago. But the consensus of experience is that you'll get over that legibility hump with time and practice. And judicious use of phrasing. ; )

  9. Re: I was surprised that someone asked about being able to make a list of errands or shopping items and how to ensure being able to read it…   Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Simplified presents the diacritical markings for the vowels when they are introduced. Anniversary presents the marks to distingish before short and long vowel sounds when the vowels are introduced.   E48

  10. A simple proof of the system's solidity should put many new users' worries to rest:
    There are many lists of unrelated words in the Functional Anniversary book that, despite some issues with vowel inconsistency or spelling inconsistency (vowel omission is the #1 difficulty here) that some have here, hundreds of thousands of people, including myself, have been able to read back without the aid of the key in the back. And believe me, there is no context for words like "aggregate"!

    As someone who's been through the frustrations with the system but has stuck with it anyway, I urge newer writers to withhold from being too hard on Gregg until their knowledge of the system is broad enough to know why certain things are so, and what constitutes good penmanship. It all comes together eventually, I assure you!

  11. Hi, everyone – Lots of interesting responses, and let me hasten to apologize for my, typical for me, wry and even sarcastic style seeming to show disrespect for anyone; everyone here is interesting and helpful.   I'll just try to be more abstract about it, specifically what concerns me about phoneticism:   Standard Gregg for "actual" is A-K-T-L.  Taken at face value that would be pronounced "aktul."  Gregg would have said "act-ual" where all Americans would say "ak-shual". ( Similarly, Brits say "seks-ual" for "sexual" and Americans say "sek-shual" ). I picked this because it is about consonants, not vowels, and Gregg could have used A-K-ISH-L to better suit his large audience which was and still is almost entirely American.   However, as for vowels, Gregg P-L-A-N could be read as "plan", "plane" or "plain", only distinguished by context.  Also, if you use the Abbreviating Principle of "writing through" the consonant following the stressed syllable, P-L-A-N could be an abbreviation for "planet".  Also, "writing through" could have you writing Gregg S-E-M-P-L-E-S for "simplicity" if you knew the second syllable is stressed, but if the first syllable is stressed, then that same outline could mean "simplest", given also that Gregg practice recommends deleting the final "t" in such words. Or, you could use the disjoined S for "-city" and write Gregg S-E-M-P-S, i.e. "SIMP -CITY". Not only would the disjoined S take time, it just doesn't seem obvious to me that that means "simplicity."   The Anniversary diacriticals for exact vowel rendition are too wasteful of time as were the Pitman diacriticals which is why the recourse of writing Pitman characters above, on, or below the line was adopted.   I guess I'm just saying that IMHO it seems better to go ahead and accept the, to me, inescapable facts of all shorthand systems and look toward a good deal of arbitrary abbreviation, memorization therewith, and ignore to some extent the original dream of dependable phoneticism. People have tried to push phonetic English spelling for centuries and always create as many problems as they solve: e.g. if we DID somehow write phonetically, PHOTOGRAPH and PHOTOGRAPHER would have to be spelled differently to reflect the sound differences, and then visual recognition would be lost as well as a clear sense of etymology.
    Should add, that I feel that some of the distinctions cited above are not necessary anyway, because context alone would tell you whether you meant "simple", "simplicity", or "simplest." The distinguishing traits of adjective, noun, and superlative, respectively, in this case, are almost impossible to confuse.  In fact, throw in "simplistic" for good measure; Gregg S-E-M-P works for all of them at least for me.

  12. Yep, any system will have some arbitrary decisions.

    Teeline claims to have very few of them. But my 1977 book says essentially, "Oh, by the way, here's a rare case where two outlines are the same, so do _this_ to distinguish between them." Except there are over 30 of them! Usually words that I doubt are used very often, which makes them even harder to remember. (That's discounting the cases where strictly following the rules will give you different outlines, but they expect you to get careless, especially with position.)

    Maybe I'm more charitable towards Gregg, but I get the impression it's more honest; sometimes you will need the context.

    I agree about the English spelling being useful when it shows the root of the words, even if it's not strictly phonetic.

    An early Pitman lesson was very frustrating. They said "d-i-t-AI-l". I say "d-EE-t-ai-l". They also claim several brief forms are arbitrary, when later chapters show they have at least some relation to the sounds.

  13. Dear Mr. Sapp,   This is my first post on this forum. I'm just beginning to refresh my shorthand skills after 45 years of disuse. Your post says, "Read up on the penmanship tips in the Documents section, and concentrate on them when practicing."   I would love to do that, but I looked in the Documents section and can't find any document by the title of 'penmanship tips.'   Is the document missing, or is there another name for it?   Thanks!

  14. Here's my attempt at the transcription:   Go to the Bethany/Barney? view, ??.  Find the trail that leads south, travel three hundred and thirty feet until youcome to some rusty post.  Go to post and walk down to main trail.  Turn left and walk forty feet.  Look for a rock unlike the others over a bush on your right side.   Sherry

  15. 8 LINES   This is the best I can come up with:   Go to the Brownie view the well give.   Find the trail that leads south, travel 330 feet until you come to some rusty post. Go to post and walk down to main trail.  Turn left and walk forty feet.  Look for a rock unlike the others under a bush on the right side.

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