Writers of other shorthand systems?

I’m curious about all shorthand systems and have looked through lots. I’m wondering who here actively uses more than Gregg, and what they like about the other systems.

I’ve tried to learn Pitman but found the forms start getting tortuously shaped and have a hard time alternating between light and heavy in quick succession.

I took a look at the Cross Eclectic book on Google Books and my brain started to melt at about page 30 with the consonant shading, curve deepening, and the pages and pages of consonant clusters to write with no real words.

Among alphabetic systems, I seem to remember liking Forkner the most, though I think Alphahand also seemed fairly decent as far as alphabetic systems go.

I also use a heavily customized and abbreviated machine shorthand theory professionally.

Anybody else? I’m fascinated by shorthand in general, so please do share! 😀

(by Erik for everyone)

8 comments Add yours
  1. I settled on Forkner as a teen because it's easier to read, but never developed any speed. (The text assumed you had a teacher.) I used it for years when I needed something a bit faster than longhand that I needed to read later, but it wasn't really faster than messy longhand.

    Later, I tried Pitman and Gregg. I'd work hard for a few months, slowly copying the text, then change systems when the going got tough, and put it down for years at a time.

    I even tried TeeLine, which was the first book that had speed goals. TeeLine lost me by being non-standard. A Teeline teacher later confirmed it. She was shocked at making students read each others' work: "But then they won't develop their own style!"

    Pitman lost me because of the tiny circle within a loop. Too small! I was also uncomfortable with the order the shapes are drawn in. A good teacher could have gotten me past it. I liked that the vowels were more specific and the shapes were more consistent.

    This group decided the matter for me. Lots of help and advice. I like the look of Gregg and the feel. Rather than "chicken scratchings" it's "chickens ice dancing".

  2. Great thread. I am also fascinated by the various systems. A couple I've been reading through casually are Cross Eclectic and Boyd Shorthand. Neither remotely approaches the elegance and functionality of Gregg. But each has very clever elements that I am considering playing with. Has anyone worked on Thomas Natural?

  3. Hey I'd forgotten all about Teeline! I learned the basics of it for a while and really liked it. I think I stopped because I didn't like the lack of standardization and the total lack of medial vowels. Maybe I should pick it up again 🙂

    For any curious, there's a copy of an old Pitman book and even Cross Eclectic on Google Books. I looked at Cross more and saw that you have to have impeccably amazing penmanship to be able to use it. The slighest difference in a curve, its depth, its shading, its height, etc. all make totally different words. I did have a chuckle that in the introduction, it says it's the simplest system. Pah!

    I tried to find information on Thomas Natural and couldn't anywhere, aside from book publication dates.

    I also looked at Century a while ago but was very put off that it seemed to be a duplicate of Gregg with different sounds for the shapes. I seem to recall there was a lawsuit between the authors of Century and Gregg, in fact.

  4. I used Evans Shorthand by John Comstock Evans for years. It is a lot less stroke intensive than Gregg, and there are tons of time-saving one-stroke blends and a complete alphabet. (I miss my QU stroke and still hate going back to embellish an outline for the "w" sound. Makes me feel like Pitman with the going-back thing.) The word "wheel" is written in three strokes, the word "straight" in two strokes — and yes, these words are completely spelled out. I ditched Evans after graduating court reporting school and decided to give Gregg a whirl when I wanted to pick the pen back up simply due to the fact there are more reference materials (dictionaries), readings, studies, novels/stories, etc. written in Gregg and I love a challenge. I also wanted to see first hand all about Gregg. Evans only has one book and no dictionary. I do like Gregg. It was interesting to compare the two systems (as if I have nothing better to do – lol).

    Well, that's my story. Good luck to all. Keep stroking!!!!

  5. Hey thanks for the info, jomsteno 🙂 I actually ordered a copy of Evans's shorthand off Abebooks. It was only $1 with $3 shipping, so why not.

    I found a system that seems to be inspired by (or perhaps inspired) Cross Eclectic but without the requirement for impeccable curve shapes since it just has more shapes than Cross. It's called Chartier Shorthand and again it's on Google Books for free 🙂 Looks interesting and I might give it a shot after I try Cross again with a different pen.

  6. Cricket, perhaps you know my history to some extent, but in case you don't, I was at one time a Pitman student. I got between 1/3 and 1/2 of the theory before a life-changing event interrupted my studies. Unfortunately, I have never gotten around to resuming my studies.

    I chose Pitman because, being a student in the 70s, Gregg looked like the boring old cursive in which I'd written 1000s of words, while Pitman looked esoteric—like something from another planet. I still prefer Pitman while simultaneously holding a great deal of respect for Gregg.

    One thing I don't like about Pitman is its overreliance on short forms (brief forms) and special forms, which number into the many hundreds in the apogee of the system, Pitman New Era. However, megaspeeds are possible; there's an extant book called How to Write 250 wpm in Pitman Shorthand.

    I own a copy of Cross's Eclectic Shorthand, but I assess it as too difficult. It must be remembered that Cross's heyday was during a period of time when fountain pens were the writing instrument of choice, making the complex shading easier than modern-day students would find it.

  7. Thanks for making me aware of Evans Shorthand. I've ordered a book (for next to nothing – I love that about learning shorthand!), and am hoping that using this system wouldn't require starting from scratch.

    Is it, like Mosher shorthand, an evolution of Gregg, or is it completely different?

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