Usefulness of knowing Shorthand

So I was wondering: What uses do you all find for your shorthand?  School notes? grocery lists?  Secret notes?  😛  I’m not good enough to use it for anything, yet, but I was just curious about you all.  😀

(by cerinye for everyone)

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  1. I'm training to become a court reporter in both Stenotype and Gregg, so that's what I'll be using mine for before long 🙂 I used it a lot in college for notes, and now for notes at work and at legal college.
    I also use it to copy down recipes or directions since I don't have/want a printer, and any time I don't want others to read what I write, like Christmas lists or vapid diary entries.
    What kind of Gregg are you learning? I'm an Anniversary writer 🙂

  2. My usage varies with my confidence. When I'm in a "I'm going to learn this!" mode, I use it a lot more. (At the moment, I'm in a house-cleaning mode, and intend to ride that wave as long as it lasts.)

    I find lists and short notes hard to read. Now I make sure there are enough longhand words to give me context. (I'm trying "if I have to work out the Gregg spelling" as the dividing line. Yes, it will slow down my Gregg learning, but sometimes my goal is a note that makes sense months later.) Unfortunately, notes I don't want others to read also fall into this category.

    I also use it for meetings; it's nice to get more information down. Again, it's a balance between having to think about the shorthand rather than the meeting, and being able to read it later.

    I used to use Forkner for this sort of thing, but I find flipping back and forth to be detrimental to both; I expect that wouldn't be as much problem if I used them more regularly.

    Congrats on the Court Reporter goal! You've taken some serious steps forward on it!


  3. Hi, everyone.  I use my shorthand for phone messages, taking dictation, writing on my calendar, Christmas lists that nobody can read, and recently I've started keeping a journal.  I use DJS with a couple of extra brief forms Ms. Zicollella taught me 25 years ago + I use the rk from Ser. 90 for "work" 'cause it's faster to write.   Off subject, I've discovered my alma mater still exists, only now it's called Briarcliffe College instead of Briarcliffe Secretarial School, and they no longer teach Gregg shorthand.    Happy learning!

  4. NiftyBoy, maybe you have answered this question before, but where are you taking your court-reporter training?  In the U.S.A. or elsewhere?  I'm a little surprised, but pleasantly so, that you are able to train in both stenotype and Gregg.  I didn't think there were any schools (in the U.S.A. anyway) where one could train to be a pen-writing court reporter.  I think if I weren't an administrative assistant I might have trained to be a court reporter.  It sounds like interesting work!   –Alison

  5. I'm in Oregon 🙂 They're not really training me with Gregg… they're just letting me do speed-building classes with both Gregg and stenotype. Even then, they warned that rustling my pages could disturb some machine-writers in the classes since it's so high-pressure. We'll see!

  6. Taking notes of info on TV is an excellent idea! I usually try to get extra practice in by writing headlines in the paper in Gregg right under them, sometimes writing out the story too if there's room. I bet the people in the break room at work wonder what the heck all those scribbles on the newspaper are.

    When I'm up to spoken speed (~170wpm), I'll try to start taking verbatim from shows I like. Where I am now (110wpm) means I can keep up for about five seconds, but then start falling too far behind to even trail decently.

  7. Sounds like the old calculator / slide-rule debate. In the early days, the slide-rule would handily beat a calculator, especially for things like trig functions and roots. (And learning to use one well was good training; they've done some scary studies on engineering students using calculators; they tend to trust the calculator's answer, even when the decimal is off by 1000! With a slide-rule, you have to keep track of the decimal place yourself, and you can't press a wrong key.)

    One teacher is recommending my son move to a AlphaSmart; this is one time I'm happy the special-ed funding is so abysmal. He can't give up on his handwriting.

  8. When my son's spelling and basic handwriting is okay, I'll turn him loose with my shorthand books. I've got books on four very different systems now; surely he'll find something that suits his normal hand-movements! It might be good for him; he doesn't notice character height when he writes, but there's so much redundancy in English letters that it's still legible.

  9. Hi, my uses for Gregg are making shopping lists, writing in my diary, and possibly in the future taking notes while interpreting.   Happy to say I am no longer the wierd lady in the supermarket who spends more time staring at her shopping list than actually doing the shopping; after 11 months I can finally read at a glance what I wrote!   And Gregg has made keeping a diary so much easier and faster.  Though not at first — when I started out I was definately "not good enough"; it took ages to write a few lines, and oh the ridiculous outlines I would conjure!  But I think writing out your own thoughts is different from copying the lessons in the manual, in that you're more invested in the words, and when you look something up in the dictionary, it sticks.  At least in my case, I think it helped get me familiar with recurring words and phrases.  (Though too much original writing and not enough studying can bring on bad habits, as I have disclosed elsewhere…)   As for interpreting, it's not the reason I took up shorthand but the other way around; whenever I told someone I was studying shorthand, they would invariably say something like "Oh, so you're going to be an interpreter now?" (probably because I am a translator), and eventually I was driven to explore a field I had not considered before.  If I ever do become an interpreter, Gregg will have changed my life.   It actually has already in a way; I have overcome my dread of handwriting with pen and paper!  (My longhand is a horror.)  

  10. Hmm. The stenotype school I attended REFUSED to let me sit there with a pen and pad. Since I was working for McGraw-Hill at that time–and my boss thought stenotype was a conflict of interest–I dropped out of the school.


  11. Hi NiftyBoy, I seem to remember JohnSapp was also saying something about shorthand effecting longhand penmanship round when I joined here; at the time I was thinking "oh how I wish", but you know, now I think you may be right!   I had an interesting experience about a month ago when I used my credit card — the clerk was taking time scrutinizing my signature, something that had never happened before, and he probably let me off because I had an air of absolute innocence, but later I realized with a shock that my signature was rather different.  The one on my card would qualify as top-notch "god-awful chiken-scratch", but the one I wrote on the receipt was slanted and even — well, at least in comparison.  And now I'm a little nervous whenever I use my credit card.   I blame my bad handwriting on the wierd "Modified Cursive" I was taught at school.  You weren't allowed to slant too much, but you couldn't right it upright either.  No looping was allowed, even with letters like "l".  Any letters that couldn't be joined without looping were disjoined, like "g" "j" "y" "z".
    I mean, why call it cursive!  It just was a way to make printing block letters slower and more difficult.  (At least that's what I thought when I was eight.)   Do you use a specific form of cursive?  I might give it a try.
    (I think John gave us some links to cursive-related sited in his post too… I'll have to remember which thread that was on…)   Martha

  12. It affected you just as much as it did me because I didn't even notice that mistake!

    I have my own brand of cursive that I started working on when I was about 13, since I'm a major handwriting nerd in general. It's similar to Spencerian Script. I'll upload a picture sometime!

  13. The local OT's and school boards use Loops and Groups, and Handwriting Without Tears, both of which are published at a reasonable cost unless you want to supply an entire classroom. Loops and Groups is similar to what I was taught, with a few letters changed to make them more distinct (but not the b, sigh — I hate the b-r blend, and make my b's more like printed). Hwot is very vertical; it looks a lot like print with a few joining strokes and the 'a' is made with a curve rather than a full perfect circle.

    I saw lots of references here to handwriting methods and programs, I think it was this spring or summer. I spent way too long reading them. The links and documents sections of this group has some good stuff as well.

  14. If you are a student (who hasn't been?) I would believe shorthand gives you a huge advantage. You'll write less and listen more because you won't be writing so much. Either that or you'll get in more writing. I took notes in college in long hand and it's incredibly slow and long and you end up missing a lot.

    I also love the privacy aspect of it. At work I can say what I really want on paper without having to edit it – for fear of someone reading it. I love it. Plus, if you've ever tried to learn a foreign language, learning shorthand is only 1% the difficulty of learning an entire language (vocabulary, speaking, hearing-fast speech, etc.)

    Also, as a computer programmer, I do take notes from time to time. I will talk to users and managers and they will tell me what I need to do, business rules and such. I can NEVER keep up in longhand. I'm hoping that this will help.

    I also believe that you can instantly start incorporating it into your writing. For example, you can start using the "ING" dot at the end of any sentence. You can use the "A, AN" dot to represent AND. The same for "FOR, BUT, IS, ARE, OUR" etc. If you start learning forms you are already there and can start using it. Instant benefit. I will never write "ING" again.

  15. Hi, Scribey-Doo.  I forgot that writing down instructions (on what my boss wants me to do) is one of the main ways I use shorthand every day, just like the note-taking you do in the world of computers.  Pretty darn handy AND extremely portable.  –Alison

  16. And for some of us, shorthand is even a career. I'm studying court-reporting in school both to use the stenotype machine and my Anniversary Gregg for depositions and trials. The teachers are allowing me to use both during class (I do about 1/3rd of my classes in Gregg, 2/3rds in Phoenix) as well as test. I plan to use Gregg in situations where poor weather or lots of moving around would make lugging lots of equipment about impractical or dangerous.

    For the curious, I'm in 60/80 speed-building right now. I'm ready for 100/120 in my Gregg, but not my stenotype yet.

  17. Hello!
    I also make my grocery list in shorthand. It’s quite easy because it’s always the same items that come back.
    Yesterday I used it in a new way: I copied a cooking recipe from a book on a sheet of paper. So I didn’t risk to soil my book while cooking… I’ve thought about it for a while: it’s difficult to be sure about the writing of every word but using shorthand as a memory aid is very efficient.
    Happy new year!
    Bonne année !

  18. Yesterday I used shorthand to write a letter. When I was a student, I was very annoyed when I have to make a draft and then, after changes, rewrite the final version. The process was very long.
    So it’s a real pleasure to work on my text using shorthand, even if I hesitate sometimes about some forms.

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