Okay, all you deep thinkers, I want your opinions on the phonetic nature of shorthand.

I’ll start by saying (at the risk of excommunication) that all this talk of phonetic systems is ridiculous. 
Some of the principles are based on specific phonetics, like r-e-t-e-n for return *DJS* – but I don’t say the word that way. But I still write it that way.
And I know a guy from Australia whose name is Dale. He says it dial. But I still would write it d-a-l. And likely so would an Australian Gregg writer. No?
And the only way to learn to write fast is to pick an outline — preferrably the one in the dictionary — and keep writing it until you learn it.
So, while some of the principles are phonetically based, I believe Gregg has its own spelling — for each version — that we should stick to if we want to be competent.

(by sidhetaba for everyone)

19 comments Add yours
  1. Actually, Gregg can be as precisely phonetic as you wish if you use the diacritical marks furnished in Anniversary.  You can match any pronunciation – British, Australian, NE American, Southern, you name it. In fact, speaking of "Dial" I think the main reason for the phonetic signs in Anniversary was for getting proper names just right, maybe in court or elsewhere.   And, of course, you can show the exact difference between "fill" and "feel", etc.   If I weren't so horribly slow as it is, I'd really like to use those diacritical marks, so, then that's we mostly use a workable approximation, and it works fine.   Jim

  2. One of the books, think it's pre-Anni on Andrew's site, has a chapter on how to spell things out, useful for names of witnesses and such.

    Your example of "return" being r-e-t-e-n could either be omitting letters (one of the most frustrating things for those of us who try to read beyond our level), or a brief form. (It's amazing how many words that are introduced as brief forms aren't.)

    Phonetic, especially with vowels, is impossible, at least if we want anyone else to read our notes. There are too many variations.

    And even with the cases that don't fit any of the above, it's still world's better than modern English. Did you know that "ghoti" is actually pronounced "fish"? GH from rough, O from women, and TI from nation.

    And from wikipedia (wherein I double-checked ghoti),
    The /ʃ/ sound itself is a good example of spelling irregularity, and can be spelled eleven different ways:[4] shirt, sugar, chute, action, issue, ocean, conscious, mansion, schwa, anxious, and special.

  3. Gotta love our Anglo-Saxon heritage sprinkled liberally with borrowing from the romance languages.  It's quite a mess we've got ourselves in, isn't it?  No doubt about it, English is one of t-he most difficult languages in the world to learn.   I find that a number of different things impact the choice of vowel I write.  In the "Dale-Dial" situation, if I knew him personally or had some identification before hand, I would probably write "D-a-l", but if I encountered the word in strictly new matter material, I would probably write "D-i-l".  And probably laugh at myself when I was transcribing.    Or is this just me?    Just a thought.

  4. Gregg's vowel expression has some bugs. Much of this stems from using A (the large circle), E (the small circle) and U (the right/over hook) for the obscure vowel as in up or cut or about. Also both A and O (the left/under hook) express pretty much the same sound in American English (the A with two dots as in father and the o with two dots as in cot). In fact Websters 10th edition uses the A with two dots for both cot and father. Using the same symbol replicates the same ambiguity that makes spelling English words difficult.

    I modified my use of Gregg vowels to fit the Japanese delineation. The Japanese delineation made sense to me because the languages uses only five vowels and still does a fair job approximating words in other languages like English (albeit with an heavy dose of humor).

    The Japanese vowels are approximately 'ah', 'ee', 'oo', 'ae' and 'oh'. And I used the symbols A (big circle) i (small circle) U (right hook) e (reversed small circle used in anniversary for "er" sounds) and O (right hook).

    Moving the "ae" sound from the large hoop makes it possible to do away with the ticked-large loop used to express I.

    I use the large loop for 'a' as in apple, 'ah' as in cot, and 'I' as in kite with a dot bellow to specify 'a', a dash for 'ah' and an underline for 'I' .

    The 'ae' sound in ape goes more with the 'e' sound in met than in does with the the 'i' sound in mitt. And I moved the 'ae' and 'e' sounds too the counter-small-loop.

    The small hook express 'i' as in mitt and 'ee' in feet.

    The 'U' over hook expresses short 'u' sound in foot and the long 'U' sound in boot.

    The 'O' under hook express the obscure vowel as in of and cup, the 'oh' in glow and the 'aw' sound as in law. To specify I use a double dot bellow for the obscure vowel, one dot for 'aw' and a dash for 'oh' .

    I use the 'a' dot to express the 'ae' and the obscure sound as a complete syllable as in about, or dynamite.

    I also use the 'ch' down dash for the 'y' sound and 't' + 'sh', or 'sh' to express 'ch'.

    Writing phonetically allows me to be more comfortable with unfamiliar words. And I add a space between each syllable if I need to be very clear.

    I've studied Gregg simplified and anniversary.

    Ciao e mahalo,

  5. Hi, I think I'll have to re-read your post a number or times for it to sink in fully, but I found it really interesting.  You see, I'd been toying with the idea of adapting Gregg to Japanese, but gave up pretty quickly on account of the vowels being different.  But, your idea for the five vowels might make it work.   Though it doesn't solve the basic problem of there being so many vowels in Japanese.  I would have to think up some serious vowel omission rules or it would be loops all over the place.  My full name has 6 "a"s, an "i", an "o", and a "w".
    But then, my dad's name is 3 vowels and a "w", my niece's name is three vowels only, so I probably need to think of vowels combinations, not just omission.   Hmm… it might also help to allot strokes for consonants not used in Japanese to the vowel-like "w" and "y", like the "l" stroke for the "w" sound, and the "th" stroke for the "y" sound (…as it is done in French Gregg, I seem to remember reading on another thread…?).   Of course I need to master English Gregg first, but I might let these little ideas grow at the back of my mind. 

  6. While loops and hooks might not be the fastest way to write Japanese, it should beat Hiragana, Kanji, romanji and such.

    But I think you're correct that, for Japanese, multiple vowels must be handled efficiently.

    Maybe ng/nk (downward slash) could work for n/m. Then 'n' could denote a repeated vowel, m for a double vowel and m-n for a triple vowel. The left 'th' (brief for their) might be used for a following vowel that's more nasal than the previous vowel and the right 'th' (sort for the) could denote a vowel that's more guttural than the preceding sound.

    Or maybe it's better to use straight strokes for all the vowels and replace some of the consonants with loops and hooks. I think I'd try n for the most common, t for the second most frequent, then r, then k and finally ng. To express longer vowels I'd make the mark longer. But this rout would be a complete re-work of Gregg.

    For the y sound I'm using the ch mark (for ch, I use t and sh or just sh). I used Gregg's CH because the consonant y sound ( IPA j ) is close to sh and zh ( I think of the Gregg J which is really D+zh as zh).

    Please share anything you come up with for Japanese. Some of it might be applicable to other languages too.


  7. Chuck, no, I think you're quite right.  Well, actually, I have no knowlege of Spanish myself but my mother (a native Japanese) loves to dabble in foreign languages and of the European languages she has tried (English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish) she says that Spanish is by far the easiest to pronounce because the vowels are similar to Japanese.   The issue here is simply that in Japanese, vowels outnumber consonants, so three or four vowels can easily follow each other, something that can't happen with Germanic or Latin languages.    At least I think… appologies if I'm wrong.
    All I know is English, a year of French in highschool, and a meagre touch of German and Latin from singing in choirs.   Søren, your idea for using lines to express vowels in Japanese makes perfect sense; there is a Japanese  shorthand system that uses five straight lines at different angles to express the vowels, called the "V system" (I think), and it seems to make more sense to me than the more popular Waseda system (which uses loops or the lack of them to express vowels), or the others that seem to have random strokes for all 47 sounds.   But, since the reason I considered adapting Gregg in the first place was to be able to use the same system (basically) for both languages, I suppose I wouldn't want a complete re-work, which it would be, like you said.   So the expression of multiple vowels would seem to be the key… while using as much of the original Gregg principles as possible.   I spent some time pondering multiple vowels and vowel omission rules last night; I'll be happy to share once I come up with something that might be usable.   Here's a link to a simple comparison of the various Japanese systems in case you're interested:   Martha

  8. Thanks Martha, now I see the difference. While Spanish has diphthongs and triphthongs, they are formed using different vowels, and can easily be written in Gregg. But Japanese has double vowels (or extended vowels), like aa, oo, etc, that's a little more difficult. The hook vowels are easy to double (they will look like a roman "w" or a reversed "w"), but the problem is the circle vowels. Have you considered double looping, like you do when you write "immediately" or "daily" in DJS?

    Perhaps if you have some words, I can try writing them.

  9. As for the guy from Australia.. (I live there :D)
    Don't worry about how he says it.. Dial, is Dale.. In a somewhat deep Australian accent.

    Try saying dial different way, and if you have ever heard australians speak, then you might just be able to pick up 'dale' in 'dial'.

    So, if you live among civilized folk, and not the brood of some ex-convicts, then I would spell it Dal, just to be easy.
    Though, Di(as in the pronous I)L would be best.
    Okay, I am just ranting 😀

  10. Hi Chuck, I think double looping would be a good idea! Also, I might be able to borrow the Spanish diphthongs and triphthongs (hadn't checked them out yet), and maybe express the double/extetended vowels with a mark underneath or something.   An example that comes directly to mind is a famous zoo up north that I visited last month, called the "Asahiyama zoo".  I tried spelling it while waiting in line to get in, which killed the time nicely. Made me think it would be convenient to have consonant strokes for "h" and "y".   And possibly a rule that says to "omit all short 'a's that follow a consonant. That would get rid of a ton of loops.   Martha  

  11. Hear hear, c-higginson! I used to be the girl from Australia, and I don't know how many times I was teased about my "today"s — "To die!  To die!" they would say.  (Kids will be kids.) And I didn't know why at the time; I was SAYING "today"!   Now, I realize it comes from pronouncing the vowel near the back of one's tongue in Australian, as opposed to somewhere behind one's teeth in American (I think?). If I said "to die" at the time, it would probaby have sounded like "to doy" to Americans.   So I would definately write it "Dal", though sadly I have lost my Australian accent.   Martha

  12. "Asahiyama" written in Spanish Gregg shorthand would be: a – right s – a – j – i – upper th – a – m – a. In Spanish Gregg, the "j" stroke is used for the "h" sound because that is the sound of "j" in Spanish. The "th" stroke is used for "y" and "ll".

  13. Thinking this some more, maybe you can use also the "th" as the ending "-yama". Or since the syllables "yama" are used so frequently in Japanese, you could use "th-m" as an abbreviation.

    Another thing from Spanish if a word ends in o, the final o is not written for simplicity (because hooks are harder to write than circles), unless the "o" is stressed.

  14. Hi Chuck, thanks for your suggestions!
    I was itching to respond and would have sooner had I not broken my ankle five days ago (beware of piles of dead leaves on the sidewalk people, you never know what's lurking underneath!), but it's given me ample time to ponder this thing.   I see "Asahikawa" is quite possible in Spanish Gregg.
    In English, I was considering "a – s – a – h dot + ia loop (as a double loop in the other direction) – m – a" which is too awkward.  And it doesn't accurately express the "y" sound.  (The "e+u" comblination may express it better but it felt even more cumbersome…)
    I see the sounds are expressed accurately in the Spanish version, but it's still too long to be useful as longhand; probably faster to write it in Kanji?   So, I liked your "th-m" abbreviation for "yama". Which got me thinking about the abbreviation of "a"s again, but I'll go over that later; I have pages of notes but I'll need to sift through them for them to make any sense.   By the way, does it ever confuse you to use strokes in different ways in English and Spanish?
    Like, the "j" stroke standing for the "j" sound in English, and the "h" sound in Spanish. 
    Or in another way, the "h" sound being expressed by the dot in English and the "j" stroke in Spanish. I wonder if you can just switch your brain between the two systems?  I imagine that brief forms and word beginnings/endings would be different too.   Martha

  15. No, there's no confusion at all between the languages, because of context. It would never occur to me to write "Baja" as b – a – h dot – a!!! Brief forms are different, of course, but usually, if there's a word that is a cognate, and is a brief form, it would use the same strokes.

    Looking at the Japanese syllables, there's a lot of potential for simplification. For example, since the only syllable that has the sh- stroke is shi-, you can simplify that syllable by writing just sh- (by the same analogy, chi- becomes ch-; fu- becomes f-; tsu- becomes ts-). If you wanted to express ji-, you may use the same j- stroke, but with a small left mark (like the one you make when distinguishing between s- and z-), or you can intersect the mark on the j. So, "Fuji" would become f – j (left mark).

  16. Context, yes I suppose that would be so; you read Spanish or English words in American novels without getting confused.   And you're quite right about shi, chi, fu, tsu, if it were just the pure Japanese sounds, by which I mean the 47 main sounds in the kana table. But, there are so many foreign words integrated in the language that I would probably have to use vowels… For example "fantastic" would be "fa-n-ta-su-ti(k)-ku",  "fishing" would be "fi(s)-shi-n-gu", "fade out" would be "fe-i-do-a-u-to", "four" would be "fo-a", so so fa, fi, fe, fo would be needed, etc.    Oh, and I was forgetting the small ya, yu, yo's… so I'd need cha, chu, cho and sha, shu, sho too…   And I am sorry that I am so ignorant of Anni that I have no idea what left marks are, whether they are for vowels or for differenciating h and j (I suspect the latter). I will go look that up on the Angelfishy site.  (I've already had a look at the inverted circle rule and I saw there was a list of Spanish brief forms too.)   What I'd been thinking; the consonants I want to replace are h, y, and w. Strokes that would be "left over" in Japanse would be th, l, ng, nk, and x. After some juggling about, I considered th-stroke for y-sound (as it is in Spanish Gregg), l-stroke for w-sound, nk-stroke for h-sound. And though though this is not about vowels, the ng-stroke for the lone n-sound (as opposed to an "n" followed by a vowel), in connection with something else I am thinking about.   The x-stroke is left over; I might use that for the z-sound…? Or the silent consonant… though I might use intersecting for that, like in "quantity" and "p.m." etc.?   Next, the vowels themselves.      

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