Newbie questions (Fifth attempted repost)

I’m completely new to shorthand, but I’d like to learn it to help in taking business notes, both personal and from meetings. I’ve had a look at the table at which is really helpful, but I still have some questions. I’ve already started practicing reading from “The GREGG Shorthand Manual Simplified”. So:

1. If I want the option of achieving the highest speeds, I’m assuming I should be using Pre-Anniversary, Anniversary, or Simplified (the one I’m reading). Is that correct?

2. In terms of speed, how much faster is Pre-Anni or Anniversary, versus Simplified?

3. How about speed differences between Pre-Anni and Anniversary?

4. How would one choose between Pre-Anni and Anniversary?

5. I understand the memory load is lower for Simplified. How much lower? How much easier does it feel to learn?

6. From my reading around, I’d gotten the impression that Simplified was the best supported of the three fast systems. The fact that the textbook is still available new on Amazon seemed to confirm that. But then the link I posted earlier seems to imply that Simplified is not as well documented. What is the actual case?

7. If I want a “safety in numbers” approach – i.e. if I want to study the one of the three fast systems (Pre-Ann, Ann, or Simplified), is any one of them head and shoulders over the others in terms of popularity, training materials, books, etc.

And now a couple of general questions (but still pertaining to one of the three systems I mentioned)

8. If I wanted to, is it realistic for me to replace handwriting with shorthand completely (assuming that I’m the only one ever to read what I write)?

And – related to that I guess:

9. I read somewhere that Gregg was really intended to be transcribed into typing as soon as possible. The implication was that after a while, you may forget what you wrote. Not sure why – maybe it’s because Gregg writing can carry ambiguity. What do you think?

Thanks *very* much for your help. —

(by thomsk for everyone)

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7 comments Add yours
  1. You've been reading opinions, clearly.

    Most of the Gregg versions are very well supported with texts, and magazines. Pre & Anny had the "Gregg Writer" and Simplified and DJS & S90 had "Today's Secretary"; Centennial has only the texts, but my guess is that a Centennial writer would easily be able to read mosts DJ & S90, but find S90 a trifle odd as more is written out.

    Gregg Writers and Simplified versions of "Today's Secretary" are easily available. DJS & S90 versions of Today's Secretary are harder to find.

    Pre & Anny had the most literature support.

    I'm a DJ writer and it fits for my needs. The only working pen-writing court reporter we have in the group writes the advanced DJ style.

    So Simplified is a good choice.

    That business of Gregg notes going "cold" and hard to transcribe is a bunch of hooey in my humble opinion. We can all read the text books without any trouble. We can all read the magazines without any trouble. Although I've not seen many people who can write DJ, I've mostly been able to read other secretaries Simplified and S90 without too much trouble.

    And as far as I know, V Lindsay uses the services of a typist who reads her advanced style of DJ without much difficulty.

    Simplified is excellent. If you want to get to 200 words a minute, you can probably do it in Simplified. If you know Simplified and want to switch to Anny or Pre, apparently it's not that hard.

    If you want to be able to write 300 words a minute because you live in New York where everyone talks that fast (grinning, seriously, grinning, Marc) you might want to go for voicewriting or StenoMaster uber-short machine shorthand theory. And still put in 3 to 8 years to do it.

    But if you want to write between 80 and 160 — then Pre & Anny, simplified, DJ or Centennial would likely answer that need.

    Blah, blah, sorry for the sermon.


  2. As far as the ambiguity goes, make a point of reading your own work regularly. It will help you catch bad habits, like circles that aren't clearly one size or the other, before the habit is embedded. Also, read stuff written by many different writers, so you get a feel for how much you can vary. It will also help you read your own notes, which probably won't duplicate the text exactly.

  3. This is really fantastic stuff! I've decided to teach myself the basics of shorthand this summer, and just got my book from Amazon teaching Simplified. I'm a journalist, so my goal is to be able to take more accurate notes at press events, and get more of the information/quotes that I miss right now writing in longhand. I'm having a blast so far with it, although my head is swimming with forms (I'm only on lesson 2, and trying to take the time to practice each new character set quite a bit before moving on to the next.) Someone here mentioned that there are some reading materials out there to practice with, although mostly business letters for the Simplified version – are any of those online anywhere to print, or do you need to buy a book to get hold of them? As I'm going through each lesson in the Simplified manual, it would be great to have some additional words/sentences to practice reading and writing.

    Also, out of curiosity, the only characters I seem to be having a hard time making consistent is the O R L movements. For some reason, keeping the length for each one distinct is catching me up – I always want to make my Os have the tail of an R for some reason. Anyone else have that issue early on, and have any tips for beating it before it becomes a bad habit?

    Thanks everyone, and this is an awesome group! I plan to lurk around a lot as I get more and more into this awesome hobby/tool.

  4. Welcome to the group and to the study of shorthand! If you stick with it, you'll find that it will help you tremendously in your note taking.

    With respect to the length of the characters, what you are experiencing in terms of keeping the length of the characters consistent is very common at the beginning. The general rule is to exagerate the differences between the strokes: in other words, make small strokes small, and big strokes big. This will help you create the sense of proportion. As you progress, you will be able to control this movement. The o should be really tiny, open slightly for the r, and exagerate it for the l. Practice also with the strokes of n and m: n really small, m bigger. For the circle vowels, it is the same principle: e circle very tiny, a circle big. Also, remember to write the characters with a small flick of the pen at the end, so that the last part of the stroke is naturally tapered: this is called the "get-away stroke". This imparts speed.

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