I Just Started Simplified…

I just started simplified (yesterday) and the potential amazes me XD. I have been practicing on my own, memorizing the alphabet and some of the brief forms, as I do not have my book yet (it will get here in about 5-7 days). I have been practicing a little over 3 hours a day. What speed could I hope to achieve by the time school starts (September)? (Im am currently at about a measly speed of 3 words per minute XD)

(by chetjan for everyone)

22 comments Add yours
  1. Shorthand is like a language. You can't learn it in two months, you can't cram it. The rules have to be ingrained through repetition and experience. For that reason it is just as interesting in the first month as in the 13th month. By September you won't be able to use it practically, but if you're lucky you won't have lost interest and you will see the future ahead.

  2. Sorry for the miss clarification, I do not expect to achieve a decent rate for about 3-5 years. Currently my cursive speed is a little slower than average (average being 22 wpm). What I am wondering is if I can manage to get about 15 to 20 wpm writing in shorthand (by September) so that I can practice my shorthand by taking notes in class. (I will continue to practice outside in either case.) Can I expect that? If not, when should I expect to be able to start using it in class?     Btw, thanks for the post, I'm glad to see this board is active.   P.S. I am going into the 10th grade, not college yet, so my writing speed does not have to be terribly fast, as the teachers still print all important information on the board.    

  3. You should be able to double your longhand speed fairly quickly.  The delay in writing comes from hesitation.  The trick is to learn each lesson and learn it well before moving onto the next.  Shorthand knowledge is cumulative, principles building on earlier principles.   If your practice is regular (and you should do regular and systematic practice each day).  It's better to do 30 minutes of concentrated study each day than to go days between sessions and do hours of practice when you do pick up the book.  Even if all you can do is read the current lesson and past lessons, you need the constant reinforcement.  Reading is also a very good way to impress the correct forms on your mind.    By the time you finish theory, it's likely that you'll be able to write 60 to 80 wpm.  Being self-taught, your biggest problem is going to be getting dictation.  No real speed progress can be made without it.  It's not an insurmountable obstacle.  There are subscription services (that aren't all that expensive) that can provide you with material.  Also, if you're really into it, you can also learn to record your own dictations.  It's a little weird hearing your own voice talking to you, but you gotta do what you gotta do.    When you're ready for that, I can provide you with a table that will show you how many words you need to dictate in x number of seconds to measure dictation speed.  All you need is a stop watch and a recording device.   There are lots of folks around here who can help and answer your questions.  This group has always been a great source and support for new shorthand students.    Welcome to the fold.  🙂

  4. And congratulations for starting early.  When you start your first college course, being able to take shorthand notes will really be valuable.   I started learning Notehand (a very simplified Gregg) when I started a graduate program.  My own experience is that it's easy to get discouraged when you realize that you can write a word in longhand more quickly than you can figure out how to write it in shorthand.  I first started using it for taking notes while studying.   That was many years ago and for years afterward I didn't need any ability to take notes quickly.   Now I'm starting another graduate program, and I wish I had kept it up.  I've decided to upgrade my skills and I'm starting at Chapter One in the Anniversary manual.  I think the advice to work thoroughly through each chapter is really good.   What do you plan to major in when you go to college?   Enjoy, it will be worth it.

  5. Yes, congrats! I started in Grade 11, mistakenly thinking that what the "secretaries" took a year to learn, I could do in a week, self-taught from a library book. Yep, I was an arrogant geek. No such thing as an online group back then either.

    Years later, I still wish I'd taken the course and gotten fast the first time. I'm living proof that the "boom or bust" method doesn't work.

    Even at my speed, I find it invaluable. I can get down thoughts fast, and keep my notes private. I'm often complimented on my minutes. Even the most informal group has people who can't make the meetings and like to be kept up to date.

    My grade 12 English teacher said we should take notes in full sentence form, because we needed the practice, and he wanted to mark them. Full sentence for personal notes? Totally wrong! Learn to write the important words only — although you should see the other threads about outlining vs verbatim — each has its place. And if you still need practice writing sentences in grade 12,… I told him I took my notes in shorthand (almost true) and would gladly transcribe them as an assignment. He only asked for the notes once. Yep, shorthand is a good way to get out of stupid assignments.

    Try the shorthand dictation program at http://www.cricket.onebit.ca/Nonfic/DictProg
    Still a bit clunky, but workable. Group members can ignore the donation. A thank-you, or comments to improve, is just as good.

    Best of luck!


  6. Thank you all for all the help, encouragement, and advice. I really apreciate it. I checked out out the website and it has been very helpful.   One more question if you guys do not mind: I am currently writting on regular paper, but when I get to school I will be writting on lined (college ruled). Will it be easy to do the switch, or should I go and buy some to practice on? (I am currently in Denmark on vacation).     P.S. I know it's not much, but I just broke 10 wpm on regular dictation, and am at a little over 50 on the lesson that I have practice :). I can really feel that I am improving, and it seems shorthand will be one of the most usefull skills I have learned.

  7. The great thing about shorthand, is that you'll be having those ahah "I think I'm improving" moments in 2 months from now, six months from now, 1 year from now and 2 years from now.

    I have lost little enthusiasm in the last 10 months of learning, although I don't practice for as long now. Every few diary entries, I take a look at my shorthand writing and think oh my how much more beautiful it is than a week ago.

    A piece of advice for your learning. Write with a light touch. It is too easy with a ballpoint to press really hard and it is great for your penmanship to have a light touch.

  8. My first reaction is, Why can't you use a Gregg-ruled notebook, but then I remembered how convenient it is to keep notes and handouts together.

    I find it hard to switch back and forth. My hand gets used to 8mm (Gregg-ruled), but if you do that on 7mm (American college-ruled, regular lined paper), it goes over the lines and you have to skip lines. If I try to shrink it, my B's and V's shrink, but not my S's and T's, so it's hard to read.

    If it's easier for you to use 7mm paper for your notes, I'd say switch a few weeks before school starts.

    Also, be aware that the T/D sequence has a longer one, TD. I didn't know that, so my T's and D's were too long. Does your book have an alphabet summary? If not, check the one on Andrew's page, so you don't have the same problem. Most strokes come in three lengths.


  9. There's wide ruled paper/notebooks available here in Canada, so I'm sure you can get them in the US. It's closer to 8mm ruled.   Cambridge makes notebooks with "wide" ruled paper, and you can always buy wide ruled looseleaf.   I once arrived at a meeting with a new stenobook — which turned out to be "narrow" ruled. Probably 6mm. I wrote really small that day, but was able to transcribe without any trouble, maybe because my favourite dictionary is the miniature DJS. To read it, I practically have to use a magnifying glass.   I've stopped using a steno book for my committee minutes. As you pointed out, Cricket, I wanted my notes with the other materials from the agenda, so I use wide ruled looseleaf, folded not-quite-in-half.   sidhe

  10. Hello all!,

    My name is Benjamin and I too just began Simplified. I am studying Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified. Did anyone else study this book or are currently studying it?

    I see a Penpal section on this website, and I just posted my information. Is anyone willing to be my accountability partner to help ensure my new hobby burns brightly?

    Lastly, how do I post questions? Am I supposed to post a "New Discussion" every time I have a simple question?

    Thank you all!

    – Benjamin –

  11. Hi bdg 🙂 I learned Simplified when I started in 2002ish. I moved up to Anniversary, but still know how to write Simplified. I got to 140wpm with it before devoting all my attention to machine shorthand.

    I'll very gladly be your pen pal 🙂 I'm on there somewhere in the hoards of addresses.

    As for questions, just start a thread for all your questions so you can keep them in one place.

    Best of luck!

  12. Erik,

    Thank you so much! This pleases me. My first question is:

    When you say you moved up to Anniversary, does that simply mean you memorized a LOT more brief forms? Also, can one who have learned Simplified read Anniversary materials (books and etc.)?

    – Benjamin –

  13. Anniversary has more brief forms as well as some other word building principles that were omitted in Simplified.  For example, there are a number of disjoined word beginnings and endings that were dropped for Simplified.  Also, reversing a circle to represent r was dropped for Simplified. 

  14. Not only you learn more brief forms with Anniversary, but you also abbreviate words much more often than in Simplified.  However, once you learn Simplified, you can take the additional principles from Anniversary with very little difficulty, because the bulk of the system is pretty much the same.   Welcome to the group. Simplified Gregg is a great choice.

  15. Hey Ben,
    I have worked on the Shorthand for a while. Good luck to you. I would try and work on it every day and think about shorthand during the day. You will improve.
    I have worked through the book several times.
    Good luck and plan for one lesson a day no matter what. Unless you're sick.
    Keep us posted on your developments.

  16. Mark,

    I appreciate your support and the help from all of you! I am very excited about my new hobby and I'm excited to have gregg be so versatile in my life as it is in yours. Anyway, enough rhetoric. As Erik told me to do, I will create a new thread for all my questions. First, while I'm in this thread, my first question is for you Mark:

    I'm currently studying lesson 4. Now, when and how should I begin writing? From what I've read about shorthand so far, it's clear that proper writing (porportionally and etc.) is essential. I've practiced writing a little, definitely not as much as reading, but I want to make sure I'm practicing writing correctly. What should I be doing with each lesson in terms of writing? Does the book answer my question? Thanks so much Mark!

    – Benjamin –

  17. Chuck and Mark,

    I am learning from Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified (2nd edition). I will accumulate all this excellent teaching and then upload a nice document entitled "Learning from Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" when I finish the book. Thanks!

    – Benjamin –

  18. I am not Mark, but let me answer your question.  And the answer is … it depends on which book you use.   The first lessons are designed for you to get acquainted with shorthand, so the emphasis is on reading. If you notice, the title of the reading sections is Reading Practice. If your book does not contain the phrase Functional Method in the title, you will start writing on Chapter 2 (Lesson 7). If the book is the Functional Method manual, you will start writing on Assignment 21.   Specific instructions for reading material are found on Chapter 2, but for writing:   1. For Lessons 1-6: Read the shorthand word lists and the shorthand connected matter in each assignment at least twice. Spell each word aloud, then pronounce it aloud. 2. For Lessons 7-70: Make one complete copy of all the words in the word list. Do not copy the longhand, just the shorthand. Arrange the words in the word lists one after the other along the line of your shorthand notebook, writing only to the center line until the first column is filled before starting the second column. Spell each word aloud as you copy it; pronounce it aloud after you have written the outline. For the Reading and Writing Practice sections, read the connected matter in shorthand once aloud. Make one complete copy of the connected matter after having read it. As you write each word, say it aloud.   These instructions apply for the Functional Method manual as well, except that bullet 1 applies to Assignments 1-20, and bullet 2 to Assignments 21-70.

  19. Another book, from another system, recommends this for vocabulary drill. There are a lot of things you need to do in addition to vocab drill, but it's nice to have a variety of exercises to choose from.

    Write the longhand words down the side of the page, in one long column. Then, refering to the last column, write the shorthand. Check against the text. Fold the page so you can only see the the last column, and write the longhand. Check. Repeat, so you end up with several alternating columns.

    I find the longhand columns are time-consuming, so I write the bare minimum I'll need for the next column. Mix up the order of the words for each page.

    Best of luck!


  20. I think I have the same book as you. Good luck on it. It has helped me a lot. Two things that have helped too — Practice every day and read as much shorthand as possible. I am a reporter and try and use shorthand to take notes. Sometimes I can keep up for a few sentences but for the most part I can't write fast enough to keep up for an entire interview.
    Still I'm trying to get faster. I also use shorthand for my own journals and have really enjoyed it. I can read a passage from 10 years ago and still transcribe it.
    Keep up the work. And keep us posted on your progress.

  21. bdg: Sorry for the late reply. The others hit the nail on the head. Anniversary and Simplified are in the same family, whereas Diamond Jubilee and others later on are different in some basic ways. So moving up to Anniversary mostly entails vastly expanding your briefs vocabulary, learning new phrasing methods, the reversed R, and a whole mess of new prefixes/suffixes to play with. It's mostly in the details.

    Of the two, I still like Simplified a little more because all the tricks of Anniversary are really if you're wanting to go verbatim and need every trick you can get. Simplified seems to save the good stuff and shed the things only court reporters really need.

    If you like, I can write you a Simplified and Anni version when we correspond, if you're curious and want to see the difference. I do tend to phrase very heavily, but I still remember how to write Simplified so no worries! 🙂

    I look forward to hearing from you 🙂 Let me know if you have trouble finding my address.

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