Centennial vs Simplified?

I’m thinking of trying Centennial or Simplified. I would have assumed that Centennial is the best one, because it’s adapted for more modern English usage, but Simplified seems popular too. What are the comparative pros and cons of Cent. vs. Simp.?


(by sonjachick for everyone)

Previous post:
Next post:
24 comments Add yours
  1. Wow, awesome document!

    Looks like I should pick Simplified if speed is more important to me. From "fast" to "slow" sounds like a big difference. If we took the average wpm of a skilled stenographer, would the difference be big? For example, how many percent faster would Simplified be, compared to Centennial?

  2. I'd pick based on the availability of materials.  And if you can actually look at the books before you get them you may find that one has a better "look and feel" for you than the other.    That said, Centennial still probably isn't your best choice.  Materials for Diamond Jubilee Series and Series 90 are much more readily available, and generally cheaper.  And since Diamond Jubilee is the model for this newer cluster of editions, I'd make the choice between Simplified and DJS.  The second edition Simplified text is still in print (I think) so you should be able to buy it new if that's what you want.  For other texts you're going to be looking at the used-book market (abe.com, E-Bay, Amazon, etc.)   Most Centennial books that I've seen various places are way over priced.    Alex

  3. In general, the more modern series of Gregg are easier to learn than the older series, because you will be spelling out more words and using less abbreviations. For that reason, Centennial will be easier to learn than Simplified. That comes at a cost of speed — you will have more speed potential with Simplified. Also, be aware that versions of Gregg starting with Diamond Jubilee (including Series 90 and Centennial) are more geared towards business dictation, so the vocabulary is more limited. You can write modern English with any version of Gregg. The difference between the versions lies in the degree of memorization and rules, with in this case Simplified having more rules than Centennial. Both versions require dedicated study, but Centennial would be a little easier to learn. It depends on how much time you want to put on, and what are your goals for learning shorthand (casual use, verbatim reporting, business).

  4. On both Amazon and eBay there's a wealth of Simplified texts available. I'd recommend the 2nd edition (1955) which was in print until very recently and can still be purchased "new". However, if you don't mind a used book in good condition, I'd suggest the Functional Method version of the second edition, simply because it provides a key to most of the shorthand text, which you'd find very helpful if your tackling Gregg without a teacher and with no prior experience. Good luck!

  5. I know how you feel, wanting a hard number for speed!

    Just to make the non-answer more complete, it also depends on how advanced the writer is. Most systems have "advanced" tricks, some in the later chapters of the book, some in other books, which show how you can safely leave out even more information, and have short forms and phrases.

    Stenographers often add brief forms specific to their field. There's even a Gregg book for aviation! So a stenographer who is great in one setting may be only average in another.

    Court reporters are the most general. They need to handle anything the case is about. They also study the vocabulary before a case starts, practising the unfamiliar words and noting subtle differences like silicon vs silicone, absorb vs adsorb.


  6. With respect to difference in speeds, I cannot tell you a specific percentage, but Simplified was used for speech and court reporting. I'm not aware of such use for Centennial, as it is a relatively "new" series and it wasn't widely taught.

  7. If you decided to go with Simplified, get the Functional method manual, either the first or second editions. The reason for that is that it contains the key to the shorthand at the end of the book, whereas the regular manual does not. Also, there is no difference in terms of the lessons between the first and second editions, other than in the second edition, the markings for distinguishing vowel sounds were eliminated (whereas they were taught in the first edition). Both first and second editions are available in now eBay for about $5.00.   Below are the covers for each:   First edition:     Second Edition:      

  8. Yes, the functional method is precisely that: you won't write a single shorthand stroke until you are familiar with the way it is written. That is done by reading exclusively until lesson (or assignment) 21. In the second edition, the functional method manual has slightly more material than the regular manual. The first editions are virtually identical in terms of the shorthand.

  9. I cannot give you an "official reason", but I believe is that for the most part you could figure out the right word (or the right spelling of the word) by context, so there is very little need. Though I use them on occasion.

  10. Truthfully, I've never used the diacriticals unless I needed to make a positive distinction for an unfamiliar word or if working from a word list where two outlines are the same and only the vowel is different.  Once you get going, you find that you don't really need the diacriticals.

  11. I found some Diamond Jubilee books at my library. Wow, very easy to learn.

    I thought there would be a learning curve to Gregg, but my strong background in linguistics and phonetics is making me go through the material really fast.

    The real challenge is to be able to write and read with speed, but that will come with time.

    It now makes me wonder if Diamond Jubilee (with expert brief forms) is enough for me, or Simplified… oy! 🙂

    Besides using different brief forms, are there any differences in those two systems?

  12. There is a difference between the two versions.  Simplified has more abbreviation and a few more brief forms.  There are writers of DJS that got to be very fast.   I think the Expert Speed Building shortcuts help.    As the focus of shorthand moved from verbatim reporting to the regular use in the busness office, the system got longer and reduced the memory load.  Verbatim speeds were not needed in the office.    DJS is a very popular version of Gregg Shorthand.  The only drawback to the more recent versions is that there's less supplemental reading materials.    Welcome to the fascinating world of shorthand.  🙂

  13. Are there any differences between, say Simplified and Diamond Jubilee, besides the brief forms?

    In other words, are there any differences in how letters are shaped or joined? Or is that all exactly the same, and only brief forms differ?

  14. The basic structure of the system remains the same throughout the versions.  As the versions progress, you write more out and the outlines get longer.  The memory load is reduced by not having to memorize as many brief forms and abbreviating devices.

  15. Yes. Except for one blend, the alphabet is the same, though the way it's used may be different. Here are some of those differences:

    1. Pent/Jent: DJS eliminated one of the blended characters (the pent-/jent- blend), which means that words that have those syllables would be spelled out ("gender", "carpenter", "agenda", "gentle").

    2. Dev/Div: Another simplification was that the combination tev-/tiv-/tef-/tif- was no longer expressed by the def-/dif- blend (so words like "active" will be spelled out).

    3. T after C: The combination -ct (like "react", "act", "inflict", "activity") is now written (in previous versions the "t" was omitted).

    4. O-hook joinings: The way you join the "o" to the consonants was changed in DJS.

    5. Past-tenses: Past tenses are always written in full and connected to the verb in DJS, and are never abbreviated.

    6. Ow- diphthong: The combination ou/ow, such as in "around", "round", "allow", "amount" is written in full (instead of omitted as in previous versions).

    There are other minor differences, but this list gives you the gist of differences.

  16. I laugh at myself–I find it utterly fascinating to learn about the changes made to each version of Gregg s/h.  I'm happy with the DJS I learned in the early 80's (and Spanish S90).  Maybe it's because I'm almost a half-century old, and there's a limit to how much I can "load" my memory these days.   It's terrific, though, that there are folks learning the earlier versions, who will probably write a LOT faster than I ever will…

Leave a Reply