Reading your Shorthand notes/journals

I’ve heard that Gregg Shorthand is mainly based on outlines of words and that it is mainly intended for writing things that will be re-written out later.  My question is this:  Are you able to read things you’ve written a very long time in the past?  Would Gregg be helpful for things that you do not intend to re-write out longhand later? 

(by cerinye for everyone)

Previous post:
Next post:
10 comments Add yours
  1. Well, some of the text books were written as long ago as 1932, and students don't have any trouble reading them now.   Once you've learned the principles of the system, and your writing is reasonbly legible, there's no reason not to be able to read it at any time.   IMHO   sidhe

  2. Shorthand legibility is something that I've tried to gather as much information from, from people in this forum. I've been learning Gregg for one year and find that I read at around 130wpm with reasonable accuracy. There has been some people claiming to at their peak, being able to read shorthand as easily as longhand (forgot who.)

    In a national shorthand championship, it is written that a 215wpm dictation (thats really fast) was read back at 212wpm (also really fast reading) by Charles Lee Swem. This by itself proves that it can be done, but this guy was really exceptional at shorthand.

  3. I took all my college notes in shorthand over 30 years ago (let's not go there, OK?) and can still read them in their original shorthand. I never transcribed.

    If one writes according to principle, reading back cold notes–even ones encased in ice like mine are–should not present a problem.

    Of course, if you don't use shorthand for 30 years, I'm not sure you could easily read your own old notes or even the textbook, for that matter.


  4. I can easily reread my journals etc. However, when taking actual word-for-word dictation, one tends to abbreviate a LOT more (just like you would in longhand: if the professor says something about telephony and you're in a hurry, you'd probably write "P says about T", and be able to transcribe it later without too much trouble–although maybe not so much six months later.) This is not proper Gregg shorthand but it's a shortcut one often takes when falling behind.

    But when you're writing for writing's sake, or in cases like the books published in shorthand, everything is in proper Gregg shorthand (which is still a gazillion times faster than writing out longhand) and can be read by anyone who knows the system, even a hundred years later.

  5. Merove4, in my opinion, you will find that
    abbreviation is a natural process; however, the only caveat is that you must
    also write in order to read for the long term rather than the short.  As
    you have discovered short term memory holds an impression of most of the
    dictated session and aids in the transcription.  I remember having had to
    take dictation for days before I had a chance to get back to transcribing my
    notes.  Short term memory did not help me at all unless the term was so
    frequently recurring that I had consciously devised an abbreviation that could
    be used without hesitation.  I would, therefore, hesitate to abbreviate
    unless such was the case.
    Since we are on the topic, my method of developing
    brief forms was to review my notes over time in order to recognize recurring
    words and word patterns.  From such review, I devised short cuts and
    special abbreviations.  At the time, I was recording stenographer for the
    National Education association where I would constantly sit to take dictation
    for both individuals and meetings for hours at a time. 
    Today, I am a project manager with an IT
    emphasis.  I still take shorthand notes to
    produce transcripts of meeting results.  I would rather write my notes
    in shorthand — which seems more natural to me now — than writing a word of
    I believe that the biggest challenge that any
    shorthand writer must face is that of trusting his/her notes.  I would
    advise not to create short cuts (brief forms) that you have not had time to
    practice and adopt as a legitimate outline.
    Keep practicing.  Good luck and keep in

  6. TeeLine has a reputation for being write once, read never. However, one of the features of that system is that you are encouraged to customize it — heavily. (It was created by a Pitman teacher, to avoid the problems his students had with Pitman.) I've rarely had a problem reading old Gregg texts.

Leave a Reply