Learning strategy?

JUSTO said (in another thread):
> I have been learning Gregg Diamond ( Spanish ) for one year and it is not difficult but
> it is very laborious learn shorthand. I recomend you learn Gregg 90 Why? becouse
> it is easy of all of  them, if it full you needs it is ok, if not you can learn another system
> but you have a knowledge of it that make easy learn another system.

What do the more experienced writers think of that approach; i.e. learn the simplest version first and then “upgrade” to a faster, more complex version if needed?

Someone already commented that it’s completely feasible to move to Anniversary or Pre-Anniversary from Simplified. Is it reasonable to take that to its logical conclusion, and start with, Series 90 as JUSTO suggested; then if needed move to Centennial or DJS; then, again if needed, to Simplified; and then finally to the real Man’s Versions – Anni or Pre-Anni.


(by thomsk
for everyone)

11 comments Add yours
  1. I don't know the later series. I'm one year into teaching myself Anniv and Pre-Anniv. Having read through the Simplified manual, it seems to me that Simplified sacrifices quite a lot for the sake of lessening memorization load. Back-learning from Simplified to Anniv/Pre-Anniv would probably not be too difficult. I imagine it would be quite difficult to back-learn from later systems, though. For my money, Anniv and Pre-Anniv are the systems to learn, heavy memory load notwithstanding. For my part, learning to read at a high level of proficiency came very quickly (in only a few months). Learning to write at a moderate level of proficiency also came pretty quickly. And day by day, my speed and fluency are increasing. Much of that increase I chalk up to practice. But even more of it I chalk up to the genius of the systems themselves — the many and varied possibilities they give for abbreviating both words and phrases. I am constantly learning new tricks from the very substantial Anniv and Pre-Anniv literature (manuals, speed studies, etc.). A lot of the amazing flexibility of early GS was lost in the later systems, starting with Simplified. For most purposes (assuming you're not a professional court stenographer), one of the later systems will probably be tool enough. But why not dive in at the deep end? The potential rewards are much greater, and the learning curve — though steep — is a lot more fun.

  2. If I make a mistake please excuse me, english isn't my native language.
    If you know someone who read Spanish I can write plenty of details how I have been studing shorthand and why for me is better learn gregg 90 first.
    and if you can translate it to english for everyone better.

  3. Spanish I'm not sure. As an English learner, here's my opinion.
    As mcbud said, learning from DJS to Anniversary is big. I did that. Not intentionally. I learned DJS and then thought I wouldn't need shorthand so I gave the books to a thrift store. Then I needed it again, so I went to a thrift store and found some more Gregg Shorthand books. Anniversary. I didn't realize it (no shorthand website), just thought it was older and somewhat different. Even though there was a learning curve, I thought it was neat to have these old books and so I stuck with it. It wasn't impossible, but I don't know if it was a lot easier after learning DJS.

    Actually I learned Speedwriting first and having a in-class (night class) experience helped me with shorthand in general. But not much, as eash shorthand system have their own variety in the way it's presented and how they choose to do the outlines.

    So it's not impossible to change from one version to the next, it isn't easy. If you don't know the brief froms from anniversary or even the abbreviated-words, such as b-r-i is 'bright'. And the omission of "r" in Anniversary was a big one for me. 'heart' is written the opposite direction of 'hat' (both h-a-t).

  4. S90 in English is very different from S90 in Spanish — in fact, I like S90 in Spanish, while I abhor S90 in English (though the books are very nice)!

    The problem with S90 in English is that it writes out everything and words are unnecessarily long. The system does not abbreviate much. In addition, brief forms in S90 only represent one word — that's a huge speed barrier.

    Interestingly, DJS, which looks very similar to S90, is much faster because it has slightly more abbreviations. (Incidentally, I don't like DJS in Spanish!)

    If you are just "testing the waters", I would recommend DJS or even Centennial. However, the leap from these two to say Anniversary is big, although not impossible to make. Simplified is a good compromise if you want to then switch to Anniv/Pre-Anniv.

  5. It's very interesting reading this thread. It's encouraging! I was getting a bit discouraged with my
    Pre-Anni and Anniversary efforts and was wondering if I ought to have taken up Simplified or DJS. I so like the explanations in these early manuals. I just wish there were more exercises for beginners. It takes a bit more effort to make up my own.

    I checked out a Simplified Manual from the library. Was quite disappointed at the lack of explanations and went back to the older books.

    I have a 90 college textbook which I got at a thrift store. I've bought and given away shorthand books for decades, always meaning to take it up. Goodness, what a different approach.

  6. I concur with the previous poster: I've been working with several different Gregg texts over the last month or so, starting with a slim wee "Victory" edition, then moving on to the first Simplified manual for colleges, then the Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified.

    I've learned enough to start jotting notes for myself in Gregg — and even be able to understand afterward what I meant! But the general manual and the college manual both seem to consist solely of reading material (nowhere does it say "Read these then write them out", though I'm guessing that's what's intended), whereas the wartime book, even though it's so small and not "simplified" actually seems to be much better thought-out in terms of adding learning points gradually, providing opportunities to practice using Gregg, and giving the student a feeling of success as s/he goes along.

    The reading exercises in the other books take great leaps from what's been demonstrated (employing new linked phrases that haven't been shown before, for example), and provide no interpretation, so I find myself repeatedly hitting a wall and, having no teacher to turn to, wondering if I can really do this. The lessons are so short and add so much so quickly without explanation, it's demoralising. Except I'm already able to write! So I think I'm going back to the original book to see if it, indeed, will prove to be the victory edition for me. And, perhaps as as last resort, I'll just keep writing, practising, and reviewing the various rules/forms, until I can go back to others' written text.

    All this aside, I'm loving Gregg (having first investigated all the other major forms of shorthand, finding it the most logical, modern — in terms of not requiring a variable-width nib — and attractive). As an author and copywriter/ghostwriter, I can't wait until this becomes a natural skill. I've finally taught myself to type properly over the last few weeks (no more typing with lobster-claw hands), but I think learning Gregg will prove to be an even more valuable skill.

    Thanks to the posters and moderators here for assembling and pointing to such great resources, too! I have a feeling they'll fill in some of the blanks I've encountered.

    All the best,

    – Hamish

  7. I bounced between editions every time I hit a road-block. Not recommended in general, but it had the benefit of seeing several explanations of the same points. Some books covered diphthongs better, others did a better job of proportions, others of good habits like the take-off line. So reading them wasn't a total waste of time, even if sticking with one edition would have been faster overall.

  8. At the risk of offending those of you who are familiar with the various versions of GS (no offense intended): why might one find post-Anniversary versions of GS preferable to Anniv or pre-Anniv? I have this notion that a lot of the flexibility — and elegance — of GS was sacrificed in later versions. But I confess that my bias comes from the fact that a) I have put all of my own energies into learning Anniv and Pre-Anniv (and think they're both — esp. in pick-and-choose combination — brilliant), and b) I have read through part of the Simplified Manual. On the basis of the latter, I have assumed that post-Anniv versions of GS are simply stripped down versions of GS that promote much faster learning on account of much lesser memory load. Since so many people do advocate later systems, though (and since I, myself, have never read the manuals for those systems) I wonder if my bias is misguided. It never occurred to me that post-Anniv versions of GS, rather than simply shedding features of Pre-Anniv and Anniv, might in fact have innovated on earlier systems in ways Gregg himself might have appreciated. Could someone please enlighten me on the question of whether and how later systems innovated on the earlier ones?


  9. I have to absolutely trust that I'll be able to read my notes back, or I won't use it outside my practice book. Anni doesn't give me that confidence because I'm not convinced that I'll use all the features often enough. I'm more likely to use a feature right after working on it, then forget it by the time I'm read my notes. I don't need verbatim speeds, just good notes. Getting fast enough to record meetings verbatim isn't realistic, so my goal is fluent enough to split my brain between summarizing and recording.

    Post-Anni speeds things up in a few ways.

    They leave out the vowel diacriticals. I agree with delaying them, but not with entirely leaving them out of the system. (It's interesting that Gregg's publicists bash Pittman for limited vowel information, then leave out their own diacriticals and, in many syllables, all vowel indication. The line between brief form and leaving out the only vowel is fuzzy.)

    Post-Anni also removes the distinction between I-A and EE-A, which hasn't bothered me yet.

    Somewhere I saw a chart comparing the brief forms in each version. Anyone remember where? It may have been in my list of grand plans. Another grand plan was a chart cross-referencing all the theory between versions.

    Sometimes the lower memory load means you get to speed-building and "real" dictation faster. I'm not sure if that really applies to Gregg, though, since everything is built on to the same core. In GSF, there's are 53 lessons of new material, but the book states: "If you had to, you could construct a satisfactory outline for any word in the English language after completing Assignment 31."

    JR Gregg's goal was to "free the masses from the tyranny of longhand". I doubt he had anything against verbatim, but his vision was more inclusive.


  10. Part of the reason for the simplifications was that by the time the Simplified series came about, shorthand was being used for business correspondence almost exclusively. Also, DJS was the first series to be constructed around the needs of the business stenographer. Hence the need for special abbreviations, phrasing, and additional speed potential was greatly diminished. In addition, there was the idea that by simplifying strokes (and spelling out more), a person will write faster because one will not need to memorize as much.

    The Simplified series was initially supervised by Gregg, but he died before its release. If you look at an early version of the brief forms for Simplified (which I believe I posted here before), it looks awfully similar to Anniversary. By the time Simplified went to press (a few months later), they had eliminated a lot of principles and brief forms as well. So something happened — not sure if it had to do with Gregg's death, but the final Simplified product did not resemble what they had planned at the beginning.

    I agree with your assessment about later series of GS. To me, they are not as clean and they are inefficient. But again, the early versions require constant study to really get good at them. So to answer your question, the innovation in the later series was the ease of learning.

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