Markings for short and long vowels???

I’ve just discovered that post-Anniversary versions do not have the markings for short and long vowels.

Can those of you who know the development of the versions comment on why they were abandoned?
Also, do you use the markings or not?
Anything you could post would be a help.
Thank you very much.

(by Shorthand-learner for


11 comments Add yours
  1. Why on earth if you're taking dictation or writing continuous prose would you take the time to "mark" long or short vowels? When transcribing or reading what the word is should in most instances be obvious in context. If you have any copies of connected reading matter, even in Anniversary, you'll notice that after the markings were introduced at the very beginning they were not employed in the shorthand material afterwards. They might be useful if you were making an isolated list for someone else to read but I don't believe they were ever used for practice letters and articles.

  2. I only mark specific words (for example: owe vs. of). But for the most part, marking is not necessary, as context will dictate the correct word. In fact, in fast writing, I even don't write the I circle — instead I write it as an A.

  3. I was wondering this yesterday, too: How will I ever "just know" what the vowel should be when there's nothing to clue me in?

    I do understand that going back to put little diacritical marks over all my vowels would negate any speeds gains (and be yet another thing to learn!), but when I go back to my notes, I often experience a mental stutter as I sound out the word until I have an "Aha!" moment, but it means I'm reading like a first-grader.

    My biggest time-waster, though, is bad proportions — making a short stroke too long, so a T looks like a D, an N looks like an M, or trying to make a distinction between similar blended consonants (when I remember to use them).

    Phew. This ain't easy to do on your own! It's still fun, though, and in just a few months of very casual practice, I've reached a level where it's useful.

  4. "I even don't write the I circle — instead I write it as an A."
    I think this is interesting… Do you feel that it is faster to use the big A instead of the little I? Some people say that the shorter symbols are faster to write. But I really don't know if in fast writing the extra control to write little symbols does not make the writing slower.

  5. What I meant was the broken A circle (the AI), not the little E. In fast writing I don't break the circle, so for example instead of writing l – ai – n for "line", I would write "l – a – n." The little circle vs the big circle is very important, and that I make sure I make a distinction!!!!

  6. The marks were left out of later versions because they are rarely necessary. I suspect new learners got used to putting them in and reading with them (as you are doing), when they should have gotten used to leaving them off.

    Don't worry about reading like a first-grader. We all started there. (I told my kids' teachers that all parents who get frustrated with their kids learning to read should take up shorthand. We forget how difficult it is!) Reading the same passage many times, across several days, helps more than you'd expect. Rather than having to break down each word, you start just knowing what the word is — which is the goal, especially for common words.

    Pay close attention to proportions. Most shapes have three sizes, although often the third size is in the later part of the book. Circles only have two sizes.

    My kids' daily printing practice is much neater if they begin the session with the core strokes. Start with one row of each size, then a row alternating sizes, then several rows where the only difference is the length of one of the lines. For example, Bay, pay, say. Tay, day, today. u-A, ray, lay. Ail, air, ow. Speed Studies and several of the later core books list more families. (The earlier books often had just the theory and you had to buy extra books for penmanship and reading material. The later books combined them.) This is a good warm-up even after you've finished the theory.

    I sometimes turn a sheet from my notebook around and put it underneath the page, so I have a grid. This helps keep the horizontal proportions consistent.

  7. Cricket, thanks for your post. I'm so glad you mentioned on your blog about the Speed Studies. I've been using it and enjoying the exercises. I chuckled at your mentioning that one reads like a first-grader. "Yep", it does seem that way. Learning other languages is like that.

    I'm still at the stage of greatly exaggerating the proportions of the outlines.

    Thanks again, everyone!

  8. Yes, thanks for the pointers! I've been taking notes on blank paper, but I think I'd benefit from going back to the ruled pad I made.

    My ongoing struggle with TH (versus the curved blends) was solved by that chart you linked to! I flipped through my DJ 'Colleges' book, but didn't find (at a quick glance) any specific reference to these proportions. So thanks again!

  9. Local business stores still carry steno pads. Gregg is usually taken at 3 lines / inch. The original experts say to use whatever size works for you, and have some extreme examples, but suggest you start at the text's size, which is 3/inch.

    I used regular lined paper for a while. The lines are about 1mm closer, so I had to either double space and make "b" just a bit bigger than the line, or shrink everything. I've settled on the stenopads for now because I bought 10 on sale.

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