Rambling about verbatim shortcuts

Curiosity aroused by the recent discussions concerning the 1913 court notes, the abbreviations in earlier editions of the Gregg manual, and extensive curtailing of words in phrases, I started with the Simplified manual and worked my way back, always beginning with the sections starting with abbreviations, then continuing to special phrasing, suffixes (Joined and disjoined), and prefixes (joined and disjoined). I examined the Anniversary, the 1916 and the 1901 manual thusly.

Anniversary could actually be named “simplified” in comparison with the earlier texts. It solidifies and codifies a lot of material which had been scattered and elaborated upon previously. The abbreviating suggestions are quite clear and the example phrases good examples to follow. If you used the manual in conjunction with the Third Edition of Speed Studies you would have a thorough foundation in the system and might not even require Reporting Shortcuts (although they’d be helpful) to attain verbatim speed.

The 1916 manual once you start with the abbreviating principle propels you into massive curtailing of writing in full in phrases. Furthermore, the 1917 Speed Studies meant to accompany the book accelerates the learning of shortcuts. There are 10 lessons following the 20 meant to be used with the matching lessons in the manual and you will indeed be a verbatim reporter if you completed both books with extensive practice and drilling.

The 1901 manual goes straight to the throat … if you completed a class using this book, you’d be a master of shortcuts and the abbreviating principles.

Reviewing the manuals, it’s easy to grasp that shorthand was primarily used for verbatim reporting at the end of the 19th century and slowly the emphasis turned to business correspondence during the first half of the 20th century. And with respect to late 19th and early 20th century business letters, some phrases and terminology will make a modern reader not well versed in 19th century English literature roll on the floor with laughter.

There are many excellent shortcuts offered in the 1901 and 1910 manuals – I particularly like two that have been mentioned on different threads before – placing the next word following an -ING dot where the dot would be, negating the need to make the dot – and omitting words in phrases, specifically when to make sense the words must be inserted when transcribing, and in expressions like “time after time” simply writing two “time” close together. There are many more examples of shortcuts which could readily be adopted to either Anniversary or Simplified.

But I must reiterate Chuck’s statement (which echoes advice given by Dr. Gregg, Mr. Leslie, Mr. Blanchard, and Mr. Zoubek): shortcuts do not replace knowledge of the system and, truthfully, may hinder your speed if only half remembered.

Anyone who does the drills and theory reviews available with every lesson in the manual and advanced texts should have no problem with brief forms or frequent phrases as they are presented in small doses and often reviewed.

Use shorthand daily. Why not start a journal? Perhaps in three centuries you may be regarded as the Samuel Pepys of the 21st century!

(by jrganniversary for everyone)

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