How are you going with your shorthand?

I don’t know why theres no real thread like this yet. If people don’t mind, this will be the place that you can post any little or big progress report with your shorthand.

Since I started… I’ve been hitting at the 80wpm peak for quite a while. Its a bit slower progress, most of my progress now comes from better familiarity with outlines. I do a lot of reading in shorthand which is enjoyable and a good conversation starter on the bus. I read Graded Readings, Alice in Wonderland, Letter from a Self-Made Merchant to his son, basically everything thats available for anniversary. To get faster, I also take dictations. There’s enough free dictations around but theres not an abundance. stenospeed.com and http://sraa.org/reporters_speed.htm will give you 6-8 dictations for each speed level.

I do see the progress, my writing is starting to feel more confident in its outline, my fingers and mind starting to act more subconsciously than even a month ago.

(by michael_lisitsa
for everyone)

 

50 comments Add yours
  1. I'm stalled again. I have some deadlines that take priority at the moment.

    My 6-year-old daughter now dictates her diary to me at night. I'm getting good at, "But don't put that in my diary!" I leave quite a delay between what she says and what I write, since she makes a lot of false starts. I transcribe it while she brushes her teeth.

    On a less-good note, I used it to take minutes last Friday, late at night, after a long week. It's a hard group to write minutes for, since there's either much fuzzy discussion and few decisions, or much information presented really fast. I had my notebook out for my own use, and the others who usually take notes weren't there. Most of the fuzzies in my notes can be attributed to the fuzzies in the meeting or in my brain at the time.

    I'm getting better at unexpected words. I used to have to try several times to get a nice-looking outline.

    I expect to unstall in the first week in May, when the deadlines pass.

    Cheers!

  2. From: CricketBeautiful-1 Sent: 4/22/2008 8:37 PM My 6-year-old daughter now dictates her diary to me at night. I'm getting good at, "But don't put that in my diary!" I leave quite a delay between what she says and what I write, since she makes a lot of false starts. I transcribe it while she brushes her teeth. Sounds like a great way to practice dictation…   My reading is going real well. That's because that's basically all I'm doing.  I am writing some, but not much.  I tried to start up about a month ago, trying some everyday, but that lasted less then a week I haven't timed myself forever because I haven't practiced writing for a long time. Debbi

  3. At work, one of my new duties is taking down the discussion from a monthly conference call on "research and development" (or "razzle and dazzle").  I don't get everything down verbatim, of course, but I write down everything that's discussed, the points brought up, the decisions made…   I still do the minutes once a month for the Troop Committee for my son's Boy Scout Troop, too.   I need to find the time to go to one of those dictation websites.  (Time, what is that???)    Meanwhile, I'm still doing some lessons from my DJS books during my lunch hour from time to time.  Just doing the lessons, including copying all the various business letters, helps keep Gregg shorthand fresh in that brain of mine.  Since I am 49, I am hoping the shorthand practice will help ward off senility.  ;o)

  4. A little update. Cause I've been reading a lot of shorthand recently, I have been getting faster at it, and have started using shorthand in my engineering lecture notes. I don't use it for much because it is still much slower to read, but where I have to write out the question to a problem, I find it indispensible. They just don't wait up for you and workings out look quite pointless without their associated question.   I have also received Gregg Speed Studies. Its a fat book. All the other books dictionaries manual and graded readings were thin 150 page versions, but this one has nearly 500 pages of reading. Its gonna keep me busy. Also I have been lucky enough to win a recent ebay auction of 16 Gregg Writer magazines. I had another person bid as well. I wonder if it was someone from this board. I'll definitely post anything interesting I read when they come.   Oh and I was looking today in my local newspaper and there was a job application for a stenotypist/secretary. I called the lady and she said she wanted someone to take dictation for psychology material with less focus on speed more on accuracy. She said there were more suitable applicants who were on stenotype machine. At least shorthand is still being used for this kind of work.
    Thats me for now.

  5. Michael, it appears that you are off to a good start.  Noting that your writing is more subconsciously now than before indicate that you are begining to construct outlines outomatically without having to concentrate on the structure of it but the execution is the key to speed development; all of which results from the kind of practicing that you are doing.  The formulate is:  read + read + read and write + write + write.  Repetition is a  big factor in your learning.   Keep up the good work.

  6. Cricket, I encourage you to not give in or delay because you have other priorities.  Just remember that 5 minutes devoted to thoughtful practice goes a long way over time  — while delay or neglect causes you to have to refresh again once you return.  Take that five mintes to do some thoughtful writing or practice.  It will certainly pay off.

  7. I'm terrible at five minutes a day for anything. My list of "five minutes every day" is way too long. I've gotten used to needing to refresh sometimes. Studies have found the best way to learn a mental skill or fact is to leave it until you almost forget it, then study it again — it goes into long-term memory more efficiently. However, "almost forget" is vague and hard to measure.

    I'm at the stage where I prefer shorthand for common words and longhand for about half the rest. Yeah, switching out mid-note is bad for the shorthand, but I need to have absolute faith in my notes and lists. (ADHD runs in my family.)

    I try to do it most nights when the kids are in bed and Husband is telecommuting overtime.

  8. I get it and I do understand that you have recognized one of your short
    coming with your 5-minutes list. I believe that that is something you can
    change when you commit to doing so. However, I do respect your decision to
    not do things the way that you don't see useful.

  9. I have flipped my second practise notebook. The first one was huge. The second the usual 80 or so pages. Can't say much about regularity or quality of practise, but at least the quantity is there. I'm doing Speed Studies now, but only copying (at speed) and penmanship, no timing, until I catch up with where I am in the manual.

    Cheers!

  10. At the cottage last week I did the usual shorthand binge. No computer or other distractions.

    I finished Speed Studies 12, 13 and 14. I started by copying the plate neatly into the left column, then timed myself copying to the other column. I kept copying at speed until I hit 50wpm for each passage. Some took several tries, some only one. I hit 60wpm for one. I tried to end each session with a neat copy.

    I also wrote the Reading and Dictation Practice and Transcription from the manual keys rather than plates, again the first one neat but not too slow, and then for speed, which I reached fairly easily.

    I was hoping it would help my carrying ability, but at speed I would do only a few words at a time, glancing over between words or while doing easy outlines.

    After that intensive work, I find it easier to write my todo lists in shorthand.

    My next at-home goal will be to see how fast I can go with computer dictation on some of those passages. I find that for known passages, computer dictation is faster. I'm not sure if I'll burn a CD for the next holiday, or copy from the text. It's friendlier when visiting to copy than to sit with earphones on.

    Cheers!

    Cricket

  11. Unfortunately no shorthand binges for me recently. I am waiting for my little sony digital recorder to come when I can read out stuff and then dictate it back to myself. I've been using shorthand pretty regularly in lectures cause its a bit too much effort at this cold time of year to write a full set of notes. In fairness, shorthand or otherwise I never read my notes anyway. One day I'll give up on them entirely.

    My speed hasn't really gone too far as I've hinted at on other posts. Still its smooth sailing and it's rewarding to learn a new word or two, a new rule every once in a while. Just last week I found that access and accessible are both shortened to a-k-ss. Small pleasures like that!

  12. In fact I think I need some sort of commitment. I've been looking for dictation jobs. They're out there just not in big amounts. Just recently there was a position for a word processor to take down dictation of letters of a nice jewish family living nearby. They seemed quite complementary but I'm pretty sure they had already found someone and had begun with him/her. I doubt it was a shorthand writer though. Probably just a typist.

  13. I'd been pursuing Anniversary alongside my machine shorthand at the local legal college, but I shifted my focus to machine shorthand at about 120. That was the last speed I attempted to pass with Anni.

    Since then, I've only really used Gregg for writing down recipes, quick notes, and recently, tips and such for a game I'm playing. Much easier than setting up the network printer.

    I find Gregg fairly unusable on the bus, which is when I'm most prone to opening up my notebook, so it's not getting nearly as much use as it could. For bus writing, I've been experimenting with Teeline, though maybe I should refresh my Forkner or even take another gander at Short-cut Shorthand 🙂

  14. Lecture Notes and Motivation

    As a (somewhat) professional lecture-notetaker for an on-campus
    publishing service
    (1993-2003) I found there was a great variation in the clarity of the lectures
    of different professors. Some had lectures that were very polished and
    I think could
    have been published directly as transcripts. (I tried to encourage several
    professors to do just that. But that's another story.) Others– the lectures
    were an almost hopeless jumble requiring much more time to edit than
    to just type up verbatim.

    When I wasn't taking notes for pay I found I sometimes didn't get around
    to editing down the notes until more time had passed than was really
    optimal. After awhile a major motivation to re-read my notes was to
    edit them down to brevity and clarity in a timely fashion while the lectures
    (or seminars) were still fresh in my mind. I think this motivation actually
    helped improve my academic performance somewhat.

    But the single biggest "kick" I got out of taking notes was that
    occasionally there would be something phrased especially well
    that someone had said in the prior seminar/lecture and I would
    quote it back verbatim in the discussion of the next seminar–
    that seemed to really, really impress people. It might happen
    only once a semester, but I think the impression on people
    was permanent. (This sort of thing also applied when going
    to the professor's office hours to discuss parts of the lectures.)

    Another thing that got me motivated to edit the notes right
    away was that once it became generally well-known about
    my notes professors were always asking me where they had
    left off in the prior lecture/seminar and what issues had been
    covered before.

    Richard Harper

    On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 2:52 AM, MICHAEL_LISITSA wrote:
    > New Message on Gregg Shorthand
    >
    > How are you going with your shorthand?
    >
    > Reply
    > Reply to Sender Recommend Message 12 in Discussion
    > From: MICHAEL_LISITSA
    > Unfortunately no shorthand binges for me recently. I am waiting for my
    > little sony digital recorder to come when I can read out stuff and then
    > dictate it back to myself. I've been using shorthand pretty regularly in
    > lectures cause its a bit too much effort at this cold time of year to write
    > a full set of notes. In fairness, shorthand or otherwise I never read my
    > notes anyway. One day I'll give up on them entirely.
    >
    > My speed hasn't really gone too far as I've hinted at on other posts. Still
    > its smooth sailing and it's rewarding to learn a new word or two, a new rule
    > every once in a while. Just last week I found that access and accessible are
    > both shortened to a-k-ss. Small pleasures like that!
    > View other groups in this category.
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  15. You must've had a really hard job. Lecturers talk on literary material with many big words. From what I've seen, theres not much opportunity for phrasing, at least not to the extent of the business letters that you read in the manuals. I'm guessing you didn't record everything, because even if you were a really fast writer, that would've been really hard work.

  16. Also, I became extremely particular about writing instruments. I often massaged
    my hands as well and held the pen in alternating ways to try to reduce writer's
    cramp. Over time my hands got used to doing shorthand for three hours
    at a time,
    but in the first year it was a pretty important concern. (Some of my
    favorite professors– a huband and wife pair– always scheduled their
    lectures for one time a week in the evening for a three hour stretch.
    Those were generally very close to verbatim shorthand recordings.
    Their lectures were extremely dense with information and fast. But
    some of the most interesting professors ever!)

    Richard Harper

    On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 9:54 PM, Richard Harper wrote:
    > After ten years I got pretty fast. But the most frequent type of
    > feedback I got from the notetaking publishing service was to make my
    > notes more brief– leave more out. So I worked hard at developing the
    > habit of condensing the lecture down– even while taking down the
    > original shorthand notes. It was actually easier to just put the mind
    > into verbatim mode and not think about what my hand was scrawling, but
    > then I would just have to condense it down later anyway. But in
    > seminars (where I took notes for my own purposes) I would often record
    > 80-90% of the words spoken– if it was a really good seminar. You're
    > right about the absence of the general opportunity for short forms.
    > But I developed several strategies for being able to do that anyway. I
    > used lots of abbreviations of the sort like K for potassium and igc
    > for intragenomic conflict and so on. In the early years I as I would
    > go through and type up the most recent lecture I would circle words
    > and phrases I would want to develop brief forms for (either Gregg or
    > like "igc") and add that to the one-page list for that course. Then
    > just before the next class as I was waiting for it to start (I always
    > tried to be at least ten minutes early) — I would quickly write down
    > those on scratch paper in preparation for the lecture.
    >
    > Richard Harper
    >
    >
    > On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 7:52 PM, MICHAEL_LISITSA
    > wrote:
    >> New Message on Gregg Shorthand
    >>
    >> How are you going with your shorthand?
    >>
    >> Reply
    >> Reply to Sender Recommend Message 17 in Discussion
    >> From: MICHAEL_LISITSA
    >> You must've had a really hard job. Lecturers talk on literary material with
    >> many big words. From what I've seen, theres not much opportunity for
    >> phrasing, at least not to the extent of the business letters that you read
    >> in the manuals. I'm guessing you didn't record everything, because even if
    >> you were a really fast writer, that would've been really hard work.
    >>
    >> View other groups in this category.
    >>
    >>
    >> To stop getting this e-mail, or change how often it arrives, go to your
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    >> Remove my e-mail address from Gregg Shorthand.
    >

  17. A little progress report. I have been steadily working through the "Gregg Speed Building for Colleges 1943" book. Its a cool book, and I'm excited for later on when it starts getting to specific fields.

    Anyway so while you guys might've thought I was past the 120wpm point already, the trouble is I'm only starting to grapple with it. I did a dictation today. 349 words in 2:55. I had read it in shorthand through my digital recorder. I had tried the dictation twice, then I went for my real take. It went horribly.
    Then I did the thing that always seems to do the trick. I closed my eyes and did the dictation again. It worked better. Still in a dictation of 349 words, I made something like 50 errors (or missing words). Thats like 17 percent.

    Anyway this dictation wasn't my worst or my best performance. Theres heaps of errors. The outlines are sometimes drawn over each other. It'd be nice if one of you had a look at my writing style and tell me the kind of trends that you might notice that could be hurting me.

    This first link is my page:
    http://lisitsa.fileave.com/DSCF3310.JPG

    This second one is the Gregg Writer page:
    http://lisitsa.fileave.com/DSCF3311.JPG

  18. Listen to Chuck, he knows of what he speaks.   When you are pushing for speed, you should be able to write something for every word.  It may not be pretty or technically correct, but it's an attempt to get every word.    Being able to sustain the speed is also important.  When I was in school we had to write a given speed for three minutes with 95% accuracy.  Now I'm working to be able to write it for 5 minutes and read every word.  It's pretty humbling.   If you are doing at least 100 wpm at this point, you're doing very well.  Keep reviewing and you'll make pretty fast progress and still write accurately.  I suspect you're going to make brilliant progress.  Once it settles in, your ability will increase pretty rapidly. 

  19. My machine shorthand is currently plateaued. I thought my two months at 140 was bad, but now I've been stuck at 180 since early June. It doesn't help at all that I switched to a home-based program because legal school was far too expensive ($1,000 a month), so now it's even more of a battle getting only about an hour of new dictation a day. I'm trying to write to the TV and get it through other routes, but it's either too difficult or in spurts, which are much less of a challenge for me (I can do short spurts of 200 no problem). It's that sustained 180 and above that nails me, especially for real-time. (For those that don't know, real-time fields, like CART and captioning, require that the strokes you write translate, i.e. show up on the screen, correctly at least 98% of the time. Court reporters can get away with misstrokes so long as they recognize what they wrote. If I write "thalt's right", it counts as a mistake despite knowing what I meant to write, so the need for finicky accuracy is much higher.)

    I've only been doing machine shorthand since last November, but it's still frustrating to go through all the speeds so fast, then think I made a breakthrough at 160 after 140 (took me two weeks) only to get stuck at 180 again. Even some 160 lit is still hellish… not very encouraging when my goal is 200 lit at 98%.

  20. Now is when the fun starts.

    The writing style is not much of an issue in my opinion. Missing words is. You're missing words either because (1) hesitation in writing, or more than likely (2) not having developed enough carrying memory. Maybe you are jumping ahead in the high speed too soon. Stay a little longer on a slower speed (write longer passages without stopping) so that you are developing that carrying capacity. Push to the higher in bursts to get ready to the next speed. It looks like you are overexerting at the faster speed, or going there too soon. Make sure that when you're ready to tackle the next high speed, you can carry well the current speed.

  21. Erik,

    When I started singing lessons, my teacher told me to be prepared for plateaus — where I'd suddenly stop making progress. That's where students lose interest. Those that stick with it eventually come out of the plateau and make great strides again.

    The same thing happens for every physical skill. Talk to people in any sport where you can follow an individual's progress. They'll tell you the same thing.

    As for what to do about it, other than not give up? It varies with skill and the person. Sometimes it needs a different set of exercises — not a better set, just a different set, because any set will create habits that are both good and bad.

    I have confidence in you. You'll get through the plateau and reach your goal. Just keep at it.

    Cricket

  22. After ten years I got pretty fast. But the most frequent type of
    feedback I got from the notetaking publishing service was to make my
    notes more brief– leave more out. So I worked hard at developing the
    habit of condensing the lecture down– even while taking down the
    original shorthand notes. It was actually easier to just put the mind
    into verbatim mode and not think about what my hand was scrawling, but
    then I would just have to condense it down later anyway. But in
    seminars (where I took notes for my own purposes) I would often record
    80-90% of the words spoken– if it was a really good seminar. You're
    right about the absence of the general opportunity for short forms.
    But I developed several strategies for being able to do that anyway. I
    used lots of abbreviations of the sort like K for potassium and igc
    for intragenomic conflict and so on. In the early years I as I would
    go through and type up the most recent lecture I would circle words
    and phrases I would want to develop brief forms for (either Gregg or
    like "igc") and add that to the one-page list for that course. Then
    just before the next class as I was waiting for it to start (I always
    tried to be at least ten minutes early) — I would quickly write down
    those on scratch paper in preparation for the lecture.

    Richard Harper

    On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 7:52 PM, MICHAEL_LISITSA
    wrote:
    > New Message on Gregg Shorthand
    >
    > How are you going with your shorthand?
    >
    > Reply
    > Reply to Sender Recommend Message 17 in Discussion
    > From: MICHAEL_LISITSA
    > You must've had a really hard job. Lecturers talk on literary material with
    > many big words. From what I've seen, theres not much opportunity for
    > phrasing, at least not to the extent of the business letters that you read
    > in the manuals. I'm guessing you didn't record everything, because even if
    > you were a really fast writer, that would've been really hard work.
    >
    > View other groups in this category.
    >
    >
    > To stop getting this e-mail, or change how often it arrives, go to your
    > E-mail Settings.
    >
    > Need help? If you've forgotten your password, please go to Passport Member
    > Services.
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    >
    > If you do not want to receive future e-mail from this MSN group, or if you
    > received this message by mistake, please click the "Remove" link below. On
    > the pre-addressed e-mail message that opens, simply click "Send". Your
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    > Remove my e-mail address from Gregg Shorthand.

  23. Well nearly a month after complaining, I've passed my 180s and I'm working on my 190s (my program goes up in 10s). I got 96.7% on my lit, 97% on my jury charge, and 97% on my QA. Kind of strange how I'm around 97 on everything, but better than eking it out at 95 🙂

    In the meantime, my real-time accuracy is getting much, much better. I've been trying to get at least three solid hours of writing a day, which ends up taking about five or six hours to do, with pauses and dictionary building… I think it's starting to pay off. My 160-170 real-time is looking pretty good, and after writing about radiopharmaceuticals or ganglia every day, big words are sounding less scary.

    I sat out with a CART writer at a Hearing Loss meeting last week and captioned to my laptop. I was very pleased to see long stretches with only one or two mistakes. Of course, during the part where everyone was introducing themselves and the speed/material/cadence kept changing every ten seconds, I didn't do so well… So I'm not quite ready to put my stenography to work just yet. But soon, hopefully!

  24. Wow. 180 is something isn't it. It must be a great relief to have a computer doing all the transcribing. With written shorthand, with my lousy typing it takes me three times longer to write out a piece of shorthand then it takes me to get it down in the first place.

    I guess I should give my own shorthand progress update.
    I've found myself adhering quite strictly to the manual, because it gives me the confidence that my shorthand won't convolute into something unreadable over time. The only rule I'm not a big fan of is the initial i. When writing words like "ion" or "eigenvalue" (don't ask), it always requires an extra prepatory stroke. Once again though, I try not to abandon the theory.

  25. A long spiel for those curious 🙂

    It takes just about as long as it would from Gregg notes if you're writing up from your steno notes, like for a test. Then you have to read a long row of:
    HRA*EURPBLG
    -RBGS
    TH
    TK-FT
    TPH*EUBG
    HA*EB
    KHARPBLGD
    W
    PHURD
    -R
    TPH*T
    TP*D

    And five minutes of that at 180 is about 900 words, so it can take about an hour to write up a test (my next tests will have 950). If your notes are nice and clean, it takes considerably less time, but they're rarely that way at your goal speed 🙂 Lots of untranslates, misspells, improper punctuation, etc. A sentence might show up as "Do /TPHAUBT be swayed by sympathy for oragainst either /BART/AE thin case" so you've got some work to do.

    The reason it's a blessing and a curse is that yes, if you write cleanly, it's mostly transcribed for you. It's a curse because unless the entry is in your dictionary as you've written it, it won't translate. You can turn on phonetic translation to have it get as close as possible ("koind"), but that presumes your mistake is close phonetically. The only way to safeguard against this is to build your dictionary to include your common mistakes, and that takes ages and ages…

    Then, because it's real-time (for me at least) there are other considerations, too! How do I write this name so it shows up, how do I properly format this number, write this webpage address, distinguish between these homonyms, punctuate the sentence so it's easy to read, start new paragraphs where necessary… It's like trying to write and transcribe in one go, which is why very few students at my old school wanted to do real-time.

    And do note that as you get better, you'll change your theory to suit your writing. My theory is, by many accounts, rather convoluted and overly difficult, so I've already done plenty of that. Don't be afraid to modify things like that initial "i". What matters is that you can read it and it's not ambiguous 🙂

  26. Passed my first 190 QA 🙂 97%. But the good news ends there!

    Unfortunately, my worst fears about my theory have been confirmed. I knew that schools throughout the country had been abandoning it because students weren't qualifying even after five or six years of studying it. And it's because the theory is overlong, bloated, and overly complex at the same time! I can feel it when I'm trying to write 200 and my fingers are flying a mile a minute… I play Ravel on the piano, so I can tell when I'm going fast!

    I've been talking with real-life reporters, and the way they write is at times twice as compact as mine. Just to give some perspective, imagine me as the naive Series 50 Gregg student hoping to enter the field when everyone else is using Anniversary, only for my theory, add dozens of obscure rules that only affect two or three words each.

    Many common words are two or more strokes, many one-syllable words are two or more strokes… it's just ridiculous, and all for the sake of being "conflict-free", even though all these other theories are conflict-free without being beasts of bloat, too.

    I'm just irritated I didn't know this about my theory sooner. Some examples of Phoenix versus a more "average" theory:
    "It's really dumb stroking absolutely everything out."
    Phoenix (by stroke): "it-'s real-ly dum-b strok-ing ab-solute-ly every-thing out ." (15)
    Average: "it's really dumb stroking absolutely everything out." (8)

    Or a more practical example:
    "That you can recall, have you since been in a position to support yourself or anyone else as an employee at this business?"
    Phoenix: "that you-can recall , have-you since been in a position to su-pport your-self or anyone else as an em-ploy-ee at this business ?" (27)
    Average: "that-you-can-recall , have-you-since been in-a-position to support yourself or anyone-else as-an employee at-this business ?" (17)

    Doesn't take a genius to see which person is going to have more trouble keeping up with the speakers.

    I can't really switch theories now since I want to start working by the end of this year… I am, however, doing my best to get Phoenix up to the task of real work. I've been getting great ideas from reporters and ordered a sort of machine steno bible written by the world record holder in steno speed, full of ideas on how to trim down one's theory. Just frustrating that I have to reinvent half of my theory to make something usable above 200wpm.

    Who knows why my school is still pushing a theory no reporter I've talked to yet likes or uses, and that almost every school in the nation has dropped 🙁
    For god's sake, "many" is two strokes!!

    *end rant*

  27. This is not unlike learning phrasing in Gregg, and why I still frown about its virtual demise in later series of Gregg (same with the elimination of brief forms. incidentally).  It is harder to learn a new way of writing once you have learn it another way, instead of doing it the right way from the very beginning (even though it may seem a little more difficult).

  28. Erik, that's horrid!

    From the bit of online research I did ages ago (while procrastinating), Phoenix was the name that stuck. I guess their advertising was better than their science.

    I wonder how many of your teachers can do 200 outside a small field?

    Is the new book something you can use to adapt any theory, or based on a core theory?

    It looks like you've got a good plan. I hope you don't have to start again from scratch, but if you do I hope it's after you've at least started working, and that a lot of the skills cross over. At least between the pen versions I've tried, the feel is different enough that I don't mix them while writing.

    Best of luck!

  29. Like Chuck I also deplore the almost total excision of phrasing and elimination of brief forms in later versions of Gregg. But in the defense of DJS and after, the Gregg people were well aware that by 1962 the system would primarily be used in a business office and the preface to DJS manuals clearly states they had eliminated the phrasing which had been taught in the classroom which research showed was not used by writers of Gregg. Do I approve the decision? No. But it makes sense if McGraw-Hill wished to continue selling the Gregg system in the face of competing alphabetic systems like Speedwriting. Any penwriter who wants to cover meetings verbatim stuck with the 1949 Simplified or the earlier Anniversary.

  30. A little update. I won't be starting from scratch, as after further investigation, I found that the vast majority of strokes come from the lack of good briefs, good phrasing, and some principles of shortening words I can easily integrate.

    I've been spending the past three days or so very intensively redoing my phrasing from the ground up. It's both a blessing and a curse as now that the floodgates have been opened, I hear an opportunity to phrase nearly every three or four words. I'm at the newbie phase again where none of it comes naturally yet, so I'm getting behind even at 160. But I expect to gain my old speed again in a few weeks. I'm just tackling the core of basic phrasing right now, which is massive (that/if/when/can/etc. + you/he/she/I/etc. + verb).

    The book was well worth the $250. I never knew phrasing in machine shorthand could be so versatile. And the many sections on new theory ideas and pages and pages of briefs have helped me start hearing shorter, too. For instance, I can now write every word in this passage in one stroke (or less, counting phrases):
    "If the physician decides to perform a culture test, a sample of the patient's sputum may be placed in a growth medium to promote bacterial growth for later examination."

    I'm kind of nervous since I have to cut way back on speed to remember everything. It comes at an inconvenient time since I'm sitting out with a captioner tomorrow in a college anatomy class. I guess I'll just have to turn off the "ooh I could phrase that!" part of my brain for two hours and do it ye olde fashioned way, by sound.

    I'll give another update in a few weeks 🙂

  31. Although I haven't replied regularly thoroughout my learning process, despite having found this Group immensely helpful when I was stuck on a particular point, I think it's worth pointing out a major turning point in shorthand for me, although certainly not farewell.   I'm switching to (rather, reviewing thoroughly) Pitman. This should prove interesting, considering what I've already garnered from Gregg.

  32. Gregg Shorthand is great!!!

    And don't you forget it!!!!

    My update:
    I feel like I'm starting to loosen my clutch on the 120. I feel that I am able to challenge myself higher, and that can only mean one thing. 130 or 140. That'll be the day when these are in the bag.

    Then it'll be down to fulfilling my 43things.com entry:
    160wpm shorthand.

    If you feel like joining me in this high goal, go to 43things and sign up:

    http://www.43things.com/things/view/1747658/160wpm-shorthand

  33. I'm at 60!

    That's right! The least-dedicated student in the group claims 60 for previewed passages!

    I suspected it over the summer holidays, when I could, for most passages, copy the shorthand plates at 60. Copying is usually slower, since you have to read, then shift your eyes, and write. Books move, lose your place, all sorts of things to slow you down. I try not to take the computer on holiday for other reasons.

    I finally started dictation again, at 50 then 60, and 60 is quite doable. I'm going to stay at 60, though, and concentrate on getting through the manual. I'm at the end of unit 3 (of 36) in anni for dictation (only the passages in the text), unit 13 in writing quickly (including speed studies) , and 15 in reading the text. (Yep, dication is the slowest, as I don't always have the computer handy.)

    My goal is to take dictation of the the text passages at 60 until I catch up with my copying. I'm going to start each day with shorthand and singing practice — 15 minutes of each — rather than my housework goals, and see if I can make real progress. I'll resist the urge to crank it much higher until later chapters. My goal is 85wpm when I finish the manual, and 120ish when I'm done Speed Studies. (Half of Speed Studies supplements the manual, the second half is review, and, I suspect, increasing vocab and phrasing.)

    Go me!

  34. Cricket,   If you are able to take dictation faster than 60, don't hold yourself back.  Particularly on previously practiced or reviewed material.  The idea is to always make progress and not to stay in one place.  Your copying speed isn't necessarily indicative of what your dictation rate will be.  The processes are very different.   If you've got a piece that you've practiced and write well, take it as fast as you can.  Try it at 70, 80, 90, even 100.  It's a trick used in school.  To give the students a bit more confidence in their ability, my teacher used to take a piece that we'd had before, and then we'd do repetition practice at increasing speeds.  It may seem like cheating because you almost already know what's coming, but it's great to see how easily you can write the material, how good the outlines can be, and realize that you're doing it at XX speed.  So, don't hold back at 60 if you can take the spoken work faster than that.    Copying is important practice for what it's good for.  Penmanship practice, theory review and reinforcement and reading practice.  At this stage you are never going to be harmed by taking a familiar piece of dictation over and over again.  If you can make the piece a brief form review or phrase letter, so much the better.  With the phrase letters, you can typically write pretty fast.  The brief letters are excellent review and practice for automization of the briefs.    Allow yourself to advance naturally.  In the beginning, rapid increases of speed happen frequently.  From one day to the next you can gain 10 words a minute. 

  35. I must agree with AnniversaryFan on all his points.

    Copying shorthand isn't the same as taking dictation since the skill sets are so different. Taking dictation requires creating an outline mentally and that's the slowest part of writing shorthand; it's the part that we work on when we build speed. Copying versus generating is much like the difference between just understanding a foreign language and actually speaking it.

    Also if you can go faster than 60, then go faster. Practiced dictation should be cranked up to the max! But remember that neatness DOES count; if the dictation is so fast you can't read the notes, you're going too fast.

    Marc

  36. I find the biggest hesitation during dictation is uncommon words, when I wonder how to write the outline.

    I can read the notes, but some common outlines are consistently wrong. Need to drill again.

    I agree, repetition is useful for building speed. I've seen it myself. But right now my goal is to finish the theory. 60 seems reasonable. It doesn't allow huge hesitation, but also doesn't prevent me from finishing the theory. I hesitate more over words I haven't learned the theory for than over any word in the theory I've already done.

    I'll probably start using 60 for my first pass at the next chapter, and 70 for the second, but I won't do the whole 60-70-80-90-70 routine until I'm done the theory. Or maybe only do it weekly, rather than for every chapter. My goal is two chapters a week, as it's review.

  37. You shouldn't be taking dictation on material that contains words you can't construct outlines for.  That's a HUGE problem.  While you are learning the theory, you should only take dictation on the materials you've covered already or are graded for your level in the manual.  If you are hesitating too much on material that is covered, it could just be nerves.  🙂  The truth is, in actual writing you are going to flub an outline once in a while.  And early in the study, more often than later.  Don't beat yourself up about it.  As Dr. Gregg told Mr. Leslie, "you can read it can't you?"  After the dictation session, read the notes, practice the outlines that you messed up, look for any phrases you may have missed and practice those, and then take the piece again.  Do it until you write the material in a way that is satisfactory to you.   Material from the prior lessons will make good dictation material.  It's stuff you know already and you should be able to write the material fairly easily.  Taking dictation is a skill in itself.  It's a different process.  It takes a little coordination when you start.  That could also be a cause of your hesitation — you are processing the shorthand is a totally different way when you hear it, contrive the outline and then write it.  There's a lot going on when you're taking dictation — you are listening, putting aside extraneous sounds or events around you and having to evaluate what's going on while all the while trying to listen, think and write.    Depending on how long the dictation is you may also have to deal with turning the page.  It's not impossible to do all of this all at once, but it does take a little practice.    No one is going to grade your execution of theory as a self-didact.  Don't try to think the outline out and worry if you're using and over ith or under ith or which way the circle should go — just get it down.  You can fix it and reinforce when you read over the notes.  If you take the dictation and you get something down for every word, you've done really well.  Marc is right, neatness counts (this is one of my big problems).  But you can't obsess about writing it right under the stress of dictation while you're still in theory.  Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is shorthand skill.    But do be careful not to load your dictation with words that you don't have the word building principles for yet.  That will do more damage than help.

  38. So far, timed and "correct" dictation is only passages from the text. For that, I do try to get the right outline. If I'm not sure, I get something down and circle it, for later review. Otherwise, I'll never know which words need reinforcement. Hesitating but still getting the right outline is still hesitation.

    My daughter's diary and meeting notes aren't in synch with the manual, so I just get it down. Fortunately, it's a small vocabulary. I only worry about the "right" outline if I know I should know it, or it's used a lot.

    I'm positive it's memory rather than nerves by now.

    Oh, yes, dictation is a very different set of skills. I amazed myself yesterday with my carrying ability — I actually trusted it enough to take a bit of time over a difficult outline. Yes, bad habit to take the time, but good news about the carrying ability. As you said, Rome wasn't built in a day. Often work on one facet counter-acts work on another — it's all in the balance. (My singing teacher often has me do an exercise for a few minutes, than the exact opposite, then back to the piece. The exercises, done excessively, would create problems, but done like this they breaks tension and bad habits.)

    Meanwhile, you've convinced me to increase my target speed 5 or 10 wpm per chapter. That should have me at 120 by the end of the manual. I've read elsewhere, though, that 85wpm is typical for end of manual, so I'll be well ahead.

    My goal for the next while is to learn the theory. Possibly at the expense of dictation.

    Regardless of where I go next, though, 60wpm is worth celebrating.

  39. Congrats, Cricket 🙂 60 is the first step for everybody! I remember when it sounded so freakin' fast to me when I started speed-building. Pretty soon, you'll be dropping 180 and wonder how 60 ever sounded slow 🙂

    An update for me 🙂 I'm finally getting a handle on 200 lit and am shooting to pass one by Christmas.
    QA's also getting a lot nicer now that I have tons and tons of new phrases under my belt. I hope to pass a 200 QA by Christmas, too.
    My goal is to be state certified next summer. My speed goals are one notch above the state test… 200-220 lit, 220 jury charge, 240 QA. I want to make absolutely sure I can pass all three legs the first try… It's freakin $150 to take the test!

    Relating to Gregg, one thing I've noticed is that since I've shortened my writing up tons and tons on the machine, my Gregg's been getting a lot shorter, too 🙂
    I was noodling around with some QA and found myself writing things like: sh-n-u th-d-b o-k-s n-f-t-r h-u-s f-u-d-s-p (she knew there had been an automobile accident in front of her house a few days prior).
    My woes about how long and tortuous my machine theory is have been 90% dealt with. My average strokes per word has gone from 1.3 to the 0.85 neighborhood. Basically a difference of around 450 strokes on an average five-minute 200wpm take. I can definitely feel the difference!

    The last major change I have left to do affects about 5% of the words on average, so it's on the back-burner until I pass some 200s to let everything else sink in.

    I'm so freaking glad to be finally kissing the 180 neighborhood goodbye. I've been slogging away at it for about six months.

  40. Erik, that's awesome! Very dramatic improvements — are you sure you didn't throw out a lot of the theory, or was it mainly being more efficient with common words/phrases? Whatever you did, congrats!

    Also, if you were to recommend a machine theory, what would you recommend? I looked around during my last bout of procrastination, and Phoenix is far and away the most popular at the schools.

  41. Thanks, Cricket 😀 Funny you should ask about Phoenix… Time for a diatribe!

    If you're thinking about Phoenix, even for fun or curiosity, don't! Phoenix was my theory, and I can tell you that I don't know a single working reporter who uses it, and the reporters I do know whom I've shown it to have been very unimpressed.
    It's one of those "stroke it all out" theories, which is fine with uncommon words that you don't really want briefs for, but it extends it to absolutely EVERYTHING, even common words and phrases, making it a huge burden to write. It was why boilerplate QA used to be as hard for me as dense medical lit.

    My changes involved totally redoing the phrasing, learning hundreds of briefs for common words, and learning dozens and dozens of new theory ideas to cut down strokes in general. Comparing my notes with a pure Phoenix writer, about 50-60% would be the same. As the commonness of the words/phrases increases, that percentage would get lower and lower.
    In that last sentence, for example, only the words "and" and "words" would be the same.

    Then again, everyone changes their writing over time. But how much I had to change Phoenix to even be able to physically do captioning speeds (260-300) is absurd. You figure a professional reporter going at nearly top speed can do 4.5 strokes a second. With Phoenix, that caps you out at around 210/220, which means you have to go even FASTER to pass the standard 225 QA test.
    As I write now, assuming I'm 100% solid on everything (not just yet!) and don't hesitate, I could do over 300wpm with the same 4.5 strokes a second. To do 225, all I'll need is a comfortable 3.25 strokes a second when I get there.
    This is just theoretical, but gives you some idea at how freakin' bulky Phoenix is. I still hesitate some when writing because I changed half my theory, but things are getting a lot better, hence hoping to pass my 200s soon 😀

    If I could start all over, I'd've picked a different theory without blinking an eye, just to save myself this painful retraining period. The problem with schools picking Phoenix is that you'll rarely find staff who've actually lead successful reporting careers and have the experience to professionally examine and teach the theory. That's how it was at my school, at least.

    The theory that reporters I know actually have positive things to say about and even integrate into their own writing is Stenomaster. I've been using Stenomaster materials to trim my writing down, with great success. The only draw-back is there are lots more briefs/phrases/rules. Think of it as Anni versus Diamond Jubilee in terms of memory load.
    However, I'll take memory load (which can be mastered) over heart-attack finger speeds (which would never improve).
    So yes, I recommend Stenomaster 🙂 Or at least StenEd, which follows the norms of theories (unlike Phoenix) making it infinitely easier to shorten up with Stenomaster later.

  42. Phoenix was created in 1996, which makes it only 12 years old.   Stenomaster was created by Mark Kislingbury who has frequently won speed records in competitions. I'm pretty sure he must have learned a theory of some sort before he started creating Stenomaster.   And I think Stenomaster may be a little older than 4 years, because it used to have another name, prior I believe, to 2004.   Certainly Phoenix is not popular in the online forums I've seen.   But it's not the only theory out there. NCRA approves the following:   Phoenix Theory Realtime Reporting and Captioning Theory Roberts, Walsh & Gonzalez Theory Star Tran Theory StenEd Theory StenoMaster Theory sidhe

  43. Michael: Funny how that works isn't it? The nail in the coffin for people curious about Phoenix should be that it did away with some standard phrases and briefs that have been in shorthand since even before Gregg shorthand. Phoenix's "put the 'short' back in 'shorthand'" claim on their site must be talking about a different theory.

    The thing about Stenomaster is that, being around for only four years, not many schools have adopted it. However, the proof is in the pudding. The working reporters I've talked to all over the country and in my town who know about it (a lot more than who know about Phoenix) are very enthusiastic. It was through the recommendations of at least a dozen reporters that I shelled out the $250 for the book, and the rewards for the vastly shorter writing I've gained from it have been worth the investment 🙂 The one SM student I know passed his CSR with five errors total after studying SM for two years. I hope to follow suit this summer 🙂

    "I'm pretty sure he must have learned a theory of some sort before he started creating Stenomaster."
    I believe he learned a combination of StenEd and Philadelphia Clinic, which is famous for its "Philadelphia Shift" which I still find kind of awkward to do.

  44. For the uninitiated, the Philadelphia Shift is where you stretch your ring finger and pinkie over one key to be able to hit -SD (and potentially -TZ). When in the normal position, all four of these keys are dealt with by the pinkie alone, so -SD (a diagonal stroke) isn't possible without your ring finger.

  45. Yes, they're the norm now 🙂 I have an extended asterisk key, too. I think you're thinking of doing -TD and -SZ, which is what those are for. The keys being like this:
    TD
    SZ
    Makes it impossible to stroke -SD or -TZ with your pinkie alone, regardless of having an extended D and Z key. Hence the shifting over 🙂 Or did I misunderstand you?

    I mostly use -SD for "said" and "second" in phrases, and various random things. Philadelphia writers use it for words ending in the -sed/-zed sound, but that's a pain because it has limited scope in how many -sed/-zed words it can actually be used with.

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