Can anyone comment on the difference between Gregg (Anniversary, say) and Handywrite. Specifically:
a. What are the respective speed potentials?
b. Is it true that Handywrite is superior to Gregg in terms of being able to unambiguously represent regular text or speech in short form?
(by thomsk for everyone)
Don't have a clue what the speed potential of handywrite is, but my guess would be: not very fast. If you look at the handywrite site, as far as I've been able to find, the reason for the system is to get down all the sounds, and though the actual alphabet is faster to write than longhand, it's still much more stroke intensive than Gregg — even maybe S90 Gregg.
Pre & Anny, Simplified and DJ were all designed for speed — though granted by the time you got to DJ, it needed a significantly more advanced series of books to teach the verbatim reporting rather than corresponding style.
If you're looking for speed, go with one of the proven court reporting versions. The reality is that once you've mastered the system, there's not much you can't read. Sometimes an outline, written in my own hand, isn't clear. After transcribing a few more lines, it becomes clear. But I can still read things I wrote years ago, even if I spelled them badly.
For those of you living in Canada, Happy Victoria Day.
FYI, I mailed the creator of Handywrite to ask his opinion on this. His reply was essentially this (I'm paraphrasing):
The ability to avoid ambiguity in Gregg is essentially related to your overall skill in Gregg. So for advanced users, it may be hardly any more ambiguous than Handywrite, particularly when reading your own shorthand (reading that of others may be a bit more difficult). With Handywrite, however, it is possible to be as unambiguous as longhand very early in the learning process (i.e. as soon as you know how to write clearly at all).
Handywrite will always be slower than Gregg, because of Gregg's more extensive use of abbreviations. That said, there's nothing to stop someone, in theory, from adding abbrevs. (Although I suspect [thomsk comment, not Lee's] that adding those abbreviations would then risk introducing ambiguity into Handywrite).
My own conclusion then is that there is a basic tradeoff between unambiguity and speed. Gregg sacrifices the former for the latter; Handywrite does the opposite.
And my very uninformed, newbie opinion is that Gregg probably makes that tradeoff more efficiently than does Handwrite. In other word in Handywrite you pay more in terms of speed to buy unambiguity, when compared with what you pay in Gregg in terms of ambiguity in order to buy more speed.
So, I think Gregg wins for me, for my purposes.
And one thing to keep in mind is that things that seem ambiguous when first introduced in Gregg end up having negligible ambituity later on. I remember being shocked by -e for -ly and going "but how do you distinguish eerie/early?" but after years of learning and using the system, I can't think of a single thing in Gregg that is just 100% ambiguous even 50% of the time. Otherwise, how could it be used (there are still pen court reporters out there) to produce verbatim transcripts?
Well, there is a way: for eerie, put a dot under each circle vowel, :-).