Hi all 🙂 I was wondering if there were any other “bilingual” stenographers here. Last week, I enrolled in a local legal college to study stenotype (Pheonix theory). I intend to become certified at 225wpm both in stenotype and Anniversay Gregg. The president of the college was delighted to learn that I write, since that’s what got her started (she learned and used it in the 60s). The teachers all are familiar with it, though the head of the court reporting department has doubts that I could “keep up” in the 160-220wpm classes; I intend to prove her wrong 😉
My impression of stenotype so far is that it’s rather sterile, kind of clunky, but efficient and fascinating. One major difference I notice is that while every word outline in Gregg seems to reflect the personality of its writer (my outlines are kind of airy-looking with long get-away strokes), in stenotype, a stroke is a stroke and is always translated one way. “L” will always be “L”, not dipped or straighter/longer than other Ls, so it’s kind of devoid of the art and personality pen-writing can have. The clunkiness and efficiency seem to be a paradox… multiple keys can be pressed at the same time to chord entire words/phrases, which is why it’s so fast. I can write “exceed” with one stroke. The clunkiness comes in in just how many keys you have to press down to make some sounds, and how some things are done. Today for example I learned initial G and final J… each involves pressing four keys at once (two fingers each press two keys). So a word like “gauge” is “TKPWAEUPBLG”. It’s a nightmare for me to read back, but maybe that’s because I’m still a newbie. There are many homonyms that must be learned separately for conflict-free translation, so sometimes it relies on spelling rather than phonetic conventions (“two” is “TWAO” for example, to avoid conflicting with “to” TAO and “too” TAO*).

Anyway, I plan to start a little Gregg group that meets during the lunch hour for people to chat and maybe pick up an old skill again. I’ve met several other students who say “Gregg is what got me into court reporting”, but none of them use it any more. I think the two should compliment each other, since you obviously can’t tote your stenotype wherever you might want to write quickly or secretly, but Gregg doesn’t have the advantage of being transcribable real-time. Then again, technology is notorious for failing (I’ve heard a good number of students get their stenotype memories erased because of a connection error to the computer), and the only way Gregg can fail is a lack of skill, or a pen failure.
Anyway, if anyone’s curious about specifics in stenotype, I’ll try to answer as best I can 🙂 I may be only a week in, but I’m two weeks ahead since my brain’s used to shorthand already.

(by niftyboy1 for everyone)

7 comments Add yours
  1. Stenotypy is really enjoyable, for sure. The only real mental block between Gregg and stenotypy is remembering the TPH is n and PH is m, whereas the long stroke forward in Gregg is m and the short stroke is n. For some reason that has been a hurdle for me. Definitely after time you won't think twice about reading TKPW as g- and -PBLG as -j. Reading it will be as right as rain.


    I learned Phoenix Theory by reading the texts and playing along on a manual machine, but I figure I will probably need some classes to build my speed. I find Phoenix to be the most mentally satisfying of the theories, since its rules are so uniform throughout it (before Phoenix I studied Computer-Compatible theory, but I quickly unlearned it in favor of the phonetic Phoenix system). The biggest beef people have against Phoenix is its tendency to use several strokes to sound out certain words rather than memorizing a huge repertoire of brief forms, but briefing is easily applicable to Phoenix to make it the ideal theory.

    One big thing I love to throw at stenotypists who laugh at pen writers is the price difference between them. A good steno setup probably costs up to about 8 thousand or so dollars. Gregg costs maybe a dollar or two for a pen and paper. It's great. 🙂

  2. I don't know how much Gregg has helped me get my brain around shorthand, but it's been four months since I started, and I'm currently working on 140wpm.
    The 140-160 block is where most people get stuck because at that point, if at least some of the words and phrases aren't automatic, it's easy to get further and further behind, and most students don't learn how to properly trail. I think this is also the first stage where you need to start writing rhythmically, without thinking too much about the content of the dictation. I still have that problem, since especially grisly material is really distracting for me. It's one of the reasons I'm considering CART reporting (captioning for deaf student in school) and closed captioning instead.

    My irritation with straight word count is being worsened in jury charge. Imagine taking dictation at "160wpm" but about "remediable alternatives to administering punition in the municipal jurisdiction". It ends up being at least the equivalent of 180wpm in syllabic count. I like literature and QA a lot more. That and every jury charge sounds like the same judge at the same hearing, right down to "so-called 'street smarts'".

    Anywho, now that I know enough about the theory and such, if there are any questions about stenotype or the theory I use, I suppose this is a good place to discuss! 🙂

    And since I know phrasing on the stenotype was what I was most curious about as a Gregg writer, here are some examples (some custom)… note the asterisk shows the outline is a phrase, and all of these are done in one stroke:
    all of the – HRO*FT (l-of-t = all-of-the)
    do you remember – TKAO*URPL (d-oo-r-m = dew-remember)
    state your full name – STO*UFRPB (stou-fr-n = st-our-f-n)
    emergency room – *ER
    ladies and gentlemen of the jury – HRA*EURPBLG (l-ay-r-j)
    preponderance of the evidence – P*E
    contributorily negligent – KA*EPBLG (kae-j = k-ly-j)
    I don't know – KWRO*EPB (y-o-n)
    is that correct – STHA*RBGT (s-th-a-r-k-t)
    yes, sir – KWR*ERS (y-e-r-s = y-e-s-r)
    for example – TPRA*FPL (f-r-a-mp)
    prudent person – PRAO*UP (p-r-oo-p)

  3. Here are the shortcuts for some of those phrases:

    1. all of the: sideways o, and write the next word close to it (eliminate "of the")
    2. do you remember: d – r – e- m
    3. state your full name: s – t – u – f – n – a
    4. emergency room: e – m – e – j -disjoined m
    5. ladies and gentlemen of the jury: l – a – jnt blend – j
    6. preponderance of the evidence: p – e
    7. contributorily negligent: (k – e) over n
    8. I don't know: i – n – u
    9. is that correct: s – left th – a – k – r
    10. yes, sir: loop – left s
    11. for example: f – e – right s – a – m

  4. You must be young – because ambition such as this is rare indeed!!  After 20 years of writing Gregg, I decided to try Stenotype.  It was fun in the beginning, but when we started speedbuilding, that's where I had all the problems.  I was writing the dictation in Gregg in my brain way before I remembered the stenotype theory.  It was too much of a conflict so I eventually dropped it.  I think that happened because Gregg was so engrained in my brain that it was as natural as ABC, etc.  I was also much older than the rest of the students, who had less on their minds than me.  If you check the NCRA site, I believe you can still sit for the RPR exam as a penwriter.  In any case, Kudos to you – I wish my nieces and nephews had one iota of the motivation and self-discipline as you. Best of luck!!  

  5. Lindsay: The theory I learned is Phoenix. I like it a lot because it seems to intertwine nicely with Gregg. It omits schwas, seems to share a lot of the same word beginnings/endings, and I've been able to tailor some principles to match my Gregg education more (I write "/KUPB /PW-" (con- b) for "contribute" like in Anniversary). Even though a lot of it's different, from phrasing to phonetics, there seems to be a similar guiding logic behind Phoenix and Gregg… I haven't had any trouble with knowing Gregg causing problems with my stenotype, at least.

    One interesting option being able to use a stenowriter has opened is that by outputting through Stenokeys, I can use my writer to input text into any program, like instant messaging, MSWord, FireFox… I could even use it to play computer games if I took the time to configure it right.

    For the curious, I'm 21.

    I'm probably still a few weeks away from passing a 140. I can get on board with pretty good accuracy, but then half-way through, I get fatigued or distracted, and my writing becomes really sloppy. One of my biggest challenges is developing the concentration needed to keep on writing… I'm pretty scatter-brained.

    Thanks for the encouragement and kind words 🙂

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