A question about moving between versions

I am new to this group and have enjoyed the postings on this site very much.  I began speed writing while in grad school and recently became interested in GS.  I write allot and will mainly use GS for my own writing and occasional notes.   Thus, I began learning anniversary and then decided I should start with simplified since it appears easier to learn and will meet my needs. 
I really like the functional method described in this group’s postings and ordered the GS Simplified Functional Method.  I received the DJ series by mistake.  I have since reordered the Simplified version. Would it be feasible to begin with DJ, then move to simplified down the road?  I am not talking about a few lessons in one and then a few in the other.  I am talking about learning all of the DJ theory which will allow me to begin writing and working on speed and then moving into simplified to pick up brief forms and principles for increased speed later on.   
What got me thinking was the 1964 study listed in the documents area comparing DJ with Simplified.  It seems that it would be good to get to where I could write with some speed and then make a jump. Also, the article on speed training by Swem recommends going back through theory while working on speed.  Would it be a bad idea to get to 80 or 100 wpm in DJ, then move into Simplified working mainly on speed while incorporating new brief forms and strokes as I go?  
What I can’t tell is how different the systems are aside from vowel marks, phrasing, and brief forms. These seem like adjustments that can be added along the way.  Is there more? 
Thanks for your help and for this great group!
Ryan
(by Ryan for everyone)

28 comments Add yours
  1. i started with simplified and moved "back" to anniversary and didn't consider the transition to be too difficult. but every now and then my simplified habits will come out when i am writing very rapidly. so i would say to start with the system you want to be "native" to if at all possible because once you start to write really really fast, you'll be faced with two different versions of some words. the decision in your mind to just crank out the DJS full transliteration or to remember a simplified brief may cost you a word or two through mental hesitation. if you change your mind later, it won't be that difficult to revert back to an older system but i just think it would be easier to run the entire track in one system.

  2. Well, my philosophy is why learn something now, to then later on unlearn it? DJS is simpler to learn because you write out more, at the expense of speed. I'm not so sure you will be at 80-100 wpm when you finish your DJS book. Learning the briefs and phrases from the beginning is a great advantage. Having said that, many people have learned DJS and then switched to Simplified or Anniversary. Your mileage may vary — it depends on how much effort you put on. Also, there are some theory differences between DJS and Simplified, so when Swem talks about going back through theory, he didn't mean learn new theory, but review old theory.

    Read the following post before you make your decision: Simplified vs. Diamond Jubilee It contains a list I put together of the differences between Simplified and DJS.

    I hope this helps.

    Chuck

  3. Agreed. "tis true in high school I learned simplified but since I was interested in anniversary and most of the texts were readily available back in 1958 my teacher encouraged my "anniversary" aspirations and provided additional material and support. I believe you should start with the version you intend to use. Since I've been writing Gregg for five decades I have added some pre-anniversary items as well as a portion of the brief forms and shortcuts outlined in the "expert" speed books which were designed for court reporting. You'll find, particularly in anniversary and simplified, the many phrases and shortcuts once learned come very naturally.

    As stated above if you were really taking notes "live" it' can cause hesitation if you start writing the first outline you learned and then try to correct it to an earlier version of Gregg. Louis Leslie wrote that his mother inspired him to create the original functional texts because she learned shorthand by reading letters that he had written her and that showed him reading shorthand was an excellent way to absorb the theory. DJS dropped a few of the blends and many phrases and briefs which might have been practical in business offices in the mid-'60's, but are a real detriment to speed building. Of course it's fine if you have no desire to be able to "take dictation" and simply use for personal notes but in the end I'm sure you''d be happier with Simplified or Anniversary. Good luck.

  4. I did all the DJS theory before I realized there were different versions, and before I learned you shouldn't just copy at a leisurely pace. I'm now doing Simplified (on and off), but pushing the speed a bit more each chapter.

    Reading DJS while waiting for Simplified won't hurt, but go easy on the penmanship practice. DJS doesn't include all the strokes in some of the families. My t and d were too long, since I didn't realize td was in the family. On the other hand, it has nice enlarged views of several strokes, especially in the review chapters, which are useful. When Simplified arrives, re-read the early chapters, even though they are very similar. They're just different enough to catch you by surprise.

    I received a 2nd year Simplified book by mistake, and was able to read the appendix based on DJS theory. Writing, however is a different story. As the others said, you'll gravitate towards using the first way you learned something. Mid-frequency words are the worst. They get firmly embedded, then don't get enough practice in the new version to take hold.

    The Anni/Simplified divide is bigger than Simplified/DJS. The reversed loop for R is a big change.

    I'm slowly (very, very slowly) building a library of dictation files from the Simplified manuals at http://www.cricket.onebit.ca/Shorthand/HomePage .
    (Only two chapters so far, and not the early ones.) If you make any recordings for yourself, or can add more cross-references between book editions, I'd be happy to put them up.

  5. Having recently switched from Simplified to Anniversary, I can say that knowing an existing system certainly helps the absorption of the new system. But, as mentioned above, the previously learned system will eventually get in the way when you really try to move up the speed building curve.

    It sounds like what you are asking is: "Will starting with an 'easier' system get me through the beginner stage faster than with my chosen 'harder' one?" It does seem like you could be up and writing sooner with DJS than with Anniversary. After all, there's less to learn, right? The problem with this is that the later systems are not really subsets of earlier systems, they are branches. This means you always add a certain amount of inefficiency when trying to learn both.

    In the end I think it will take a bit longer to learn DJS->Simplified than if you learned Simplified alone.

  6. As an addendum I'd like to point out that the "reversed" circle to indicate an "r" following which was used in Anniversary and pre-Anniversary editions is simply, as pointed out in issues of The Gregg Writer in the explanations for students essentially simply omitting the "r" in your writing. A simple example: they show "hat" written "dot-A-T" then "heart" written "d-A-R-T" then cross the "R" out and write "dot-A (written as though the "R: would follow)-T. Which makes the new outline "h-reverseA-T". Perhaps it sounds complicated but it really isn't In fact once you become accustomed to the reversed circles you automatically realize they indicate there is an "R" in the word the outline stands for.

    I agree with skoozey that if your ultimate goal is mastery of Simplified, you'd be best off to start with that version. Of course, being somewhat of a curmudgeon, I believe you'd be even better off (how can you go from "best" to "better", LOL) by starting with the 2-volume 1936 functional Anniversary version by Leslie which painlessly allows you to absorb the complete system as taught in public and private schools for more than two decades. The big advantage of Anniversary is the additional interesting reading material which is available. Up to you.

  7. Thanks for all of your great advice! The idea that there will be a confusion between outlines at higher speeds of writing makes a lot of sense. The copy of simplified functional method arrived and i have settled on that version of Gregg. I have also ordered the dictionary and have the Simplified manuel second addition. I saw on amazon a book of most common words for the simplified method, is this worth getting?

    Thanks again for all of your responses.

    Ryan

  8. The book to get is "Most-Used Shorthand Words and Phrases: Classified According to the Lessons in the Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" by Gregg, Leslie, and Zoubek, because it is correlated with the lessons of the manual. There is a book titled "Word List of Gregg Shorthand Simplified", that is the same as the "Gregg Shorthand Dictionary Simplified."

    In my opinion, they shouldn't have produced easier versions of Gregg beyond Simplified, as Simplified is "simplified enough" in comparison to Anniversary. But we won't rewrite history here …

  9. A lot is said about memory load. I understand that GA requires more short forms, principles and phrases to be learned than does Simplified. However, from what you all have said about outline confusion between systems, that to really build speed the writer must have the outlines memorized (eventually). I see this already as i am building my reading speed. Like reading print, I notice that i see an outline (full word or group) and not just the individual letters/principles. If this is the case, then isn't "memory load" only an issue early on. Doesn't every version require outline memorization to be at the top speed of the specific version? Doesn't the functional method help with this? Rather than rote memorization the memorization is happening naturally through repeated us as when a child learns a language?

    If these are true then i agree with Philip's suggestion to just jump into Anniversary. BTW, i am at lesson 15 in the Simplified FM. I say this so as to not give the impression that i am not starting. What i am actually doing is trying to make sure that when it comes time to write that i am in the best version.

    Thanks again,

    Ryan

  10. Memory load is only an issue when you don't practice, especially in Anniversary. One thing that maybe you have not realized is that Anniversary not only has phrases and brief forms to memorize (which are more than the Simplified, DJS, and later versions of Gregg), but a great number of the words in Anniversary and earlier versions are built by what is called the "abbreviation principle", which basically implies to create outlines with only the necessary strokes to recreate them in transcription, all according to rules. In other words, the abbreviation principle is like learning additional brief forms. This can be daunting if not practiced. Simplified and later versions of Gregg greatly reduced the number of words that use this principle (in fact, I believe it's only one page in the manual), in favor of analogical endings: write words that end the same, the same way. For example, in Anniversary, not all words that end in "-ate" are written the same way: certificate, dedicate, delicate, inaugurate, vibrate, renovate. Some of these are written without the t (vibrate), others are spelled out completely (dedicate), in others the ending is partially (renovate), or completely eliminated (delicate), or truncated before the ending, applying the abbreviation principle (inaugurate, certificate). Which one is which? Only if you practice and study you will know. That's where the memory load comes from.

  11. Memory load is only an issue when you don't practice, especially in Anniversary. One thing that maybe you have not realized is that Anniversary not only has phrases and brief forms to memorize (which are more than the Simplified, DJS, and later versions of Gregg), but a great number of the words in Anniversary and earlier versions are built by what is called the "abbreviation principle", which basically implies to create outlines with only the necessary strokes to recreate them in transcription, all according to rules. In other words, the abbreviation principle is like learning additional brief forms. This can be daunting if not practiced. Simplified and later versions of Gregg greatly reduced the number of words that use this principle (in fact, I believe it's only one page in the Simplified manual), in favor of analogical endings: write words that end the same, the same way. For example, in Anniversary, not all words that end in "-ate", such as certificate, dedicate, delicate, inaugurate, vibrate, renovate, are written the same way. Some of these are written without the t (vibrate), others are spelled out completely (dedicate), in others the ending is partially (renovate), or completely eliminated (delicate), or truncated before the ending, applying the abbreviation principle (inaugurate, certificate). Which one is which? Only if you practice and study you will know. That's where a great majority of the memory load comes from.

    However, you are absolutely right in noticing that by reading shorthand you will be able to cement those outlines in your brain and, as a consequence, write faster. In fact, even if you don't write often, reading shorthand regularly is a great way of keeping the outlines fresh and reinforcing the rules.

  12. I commend mcbud's succinct summary of the differences between Simplified and earlier versions of Gregg. Although the Abbreviating Principle sounds like a lot of memory work, the way it is presented in Anniversary and earlier versions make it quite easily absorbed by the student provided that he/she faithfully daily read texts incorporating that approach. Many issues of The Gregg Writer are available on eBay and Amazon which contain entertaining articles and stories written in shorthand. If issues of that magazine are not readily available, books like the Fables collection, Alice in Wonderland, and others can still be obtained. Also the mid-'40's Speed Building for Colleges is a terrific review of the theory and offers a wealth of enjoyable reading material. The version you chose should really depend on what you want to accomplish by learning Gregg.

    I also agree with mcbud that no further versions of the total system should have been released after Simplified which still offers the speed capabilities which were severely reduced starting with DJS and later versions.

    So, my advice for what it's worth, is that someone who wants to learn Gregg pick either Anniversary or Simplified. Note that if you actually have learned Anniversary, it's quite easy to read shorthand written in later versions although you may wonder why they write some outlines so fully.

    No matter which version is selected, the Functional Manual is definitely the best start for a beginner.

  13. This is another reason why reading is so important. In longhand, each word can be read out of context, and the entire word is there. Reading gives us confidence that it's okay to leave out bits — if we can figure it out in someone else's work, we'll figure it out in our own. Once you get used to filling in the gaps, it's easier to read prose than lists.

    It's like high school physics, with frictionless blocks that hold electric charges perfectly, and ideal gases. We all know the real world isn't like that, so unless we go on (or have a really good teacher) we consider the entire class useless. (It's not. The real world is close enough to frictionless and ideal surprisingly often.)

    Lists of words that follow principles have their place, but reading real books, not artificially-generated to show a shorthand concept, bring shorthand out of the lab and into the real world. Much to our surprise, it works!

  14. Thank you all for the great insight and advice. I am plugging away at GS using the second addition functional method. I also ordered "Expert Shorthand Speed Course, Simplified Edition." I am enjoying the study and looking forward to actually being able to write with in GS. I have not thought of looking at DJS but because i had ordered and have received several GA books i think eventually i will go that direction. The extra reading material is appealing but for now i am content to focus on GS. Thanks again.

  15. I believe you'll be very pleased with your choice. I would recommend that after you complete the Simplified Functional Manual you go through the Simplified Gregg Speed Building for Colleges for a complete review of everything BEFORE you start the Expert Shorthand Speed Course because of all the additional shortcuts in the last book but you should know if you need a review or are ready to become and Expert when the time comes. Good luck!

  16. I just ordered "GS Speed building for colleges, Simplified," thanks for the advice. So i guess that ordering the "Expert" book was a bit pre-mature? I'm sure there will be many more questions along the way. Thanks again.

  17. It's very important to completely absorb the theory to be able unhesitatingly to create outlines from words you've never met in dictation prior to studying the shortcuts which were designed for actual reporting. You'll see in the Expert book that it's full of excellent articles and meeting sessions. Also the foreward, I believe, cautions you that in real life you should not overuse shortcuts … if the words the outlines stand for are not a frequent portion of your vocabulary, you'll slow down when writing and pondering to recollect them. Even once you begin with the Expert book it will aid you to regularly spend a few minutes daily reading additional shorthand plates to keep the outlines fresh in your memory. You appear to have a good attitude towards the task, I'm sure you'll enjoy its execution.

    I feel reading cannot be overemphasized even after completing the Manual. When Simplified was introduced to the public school system, it was assumed that shorthand study would be absorbed and reviewed over two school years (4 terms). The Manual was for the first semester. three additional books — Speed Building, Dictation, and Transcription — for the remaining 3 semesters. This 4-volume series was continued with the DJS release.

    Such a 4-volume series had not been deemed necessary for Anniversary or pre-Anniversary for several reasons … the additional reading materials available, The Gregg Writer magazine to which students were encouraged to subscribe, several advanced texts offering theory review, and the fact that not too many years ago business students often entered the workforce immediately after completing introductory lessons or graduating from a business school.

    I've mentioned before, and will repeat, it's a shame shorthand is no longer widely taught (if at all) because it was and is a very useful tool for anyone who wants to take accurate notes on lectures and meetings quickly. Enjoy your studies!

  18. Here's the latest in my studies. I worked through Simplified functional through theory. I admit i went too fast. I can read it well but my writing is lacking. Once i realized i needed to go back through the theroy and really nail down the writing i decided to just jump into GA.

    As I indicated earlier in this thread, i intended to go to anniversary eventually anyway and so i think it makes sense to take what i've learned so far in simplified and jump into GA. I have the manuel, the speed studies third addition and the functional volumes. I am wondering in what combination to use them. I really like the explanation of the manuel and the way the Speed Studies goes along with it. Yet i also like the functional method's extra material and the key in the back. So i guess i am asking is how should one approach using all of these tools? I know i want to avoid moving to fast but i also want to avoid moving too slow. BTW, i am putting in about an hour and a half of study each day (for the time being). This seems like enough time to move through one unit from the manuel per day until the material gets more complex or my ability stalls. I know this has been discussed to some degree but i think i am interested in hearing how the functional method interacts with the regular method (manual +speed studies+fundamental drills).

    Thanks for your help.

  19. Sorry, but I'm going to sound a little critical here. I believe you have approached your study of Simplified Gregg the wrong way, even if your intention was to change to Anniversary. Shorthand is not to be rushed or skimmed over, and to me, going through theory in less than a month is an absolute no no. My bet is that if I give you a simple dictation test at say 40 wpm (which is really slow), you would stumble. Moreover, if I tell you to write all Simplified brief forms from memory, you wouldn't be able to do so. You should have started to write starting on Assignment 21 (where it clearly states "Reading and Writing Practice"), and you should be able to write from dictation at 60 wpm comfortably once you finish the book. I highly doubt you're able to do either one.

    What's the way to study? Mastery before speed. You don't progress to the following lesson until you have studied the previous lesson well. This is crucial. If not followed, you will be wasting time in the future, by having to go back to recall something that should have been learned well in the first place. The main book to study from is the functional method book. Once you have studied the lesson from the functional method, then you go to the equivalent lesson of the speed studies and fundamental drills as reinforcement. Lastly, the manual is used as a reference for clarification of theory.

    Since you are studying on your own, you should have a way of evaluating your progress for each lesson. Here are some pointers. Can you recall the principles? Can you read the lesson as if you were reading a book, or are you reading word by word? Can you recognize the brief forms and phrases and write them automatically? When you write, are you actually writing, or are you "drawing" the outlines? Moreover, are you doing penmanship drills, such as practicing the strokes and imitating the writing in the books as close as possible?

    One good thing to do at the beginning of writing is to write the lesson from dictation with the book open so that you get comfortable. Another drill is to write a passage for a minute, and increase the speed for another minute. There are many combinations — once you are ready to write, we can give you further guidance.

    Let us know if you need additional help. Post your questions. We're here to help you, but at the same time, we would like to see you study in a smart way so that you won't waste time and get you writing quickly at a decent speed.

  20. You are exactly right. This is why i am adjusting. I was moving along too fast and my writing was lacking severely and therefore i was not gaining mastery. This is why i changed. I realized i am going to have to go slowly and gain the skill one lesson at a time. Having gained some good exposure from the Simplified, i decided to slow down and jump into Anniversary. I am working very hard on penmanship and i am writing from dictation before i move to the next lesson. Since you say i should use the FM as the main book to study would you suggest i stop writing until lesson 22? If so how should i employ the speed studies book prior to writing?

    I also appreciate your suggestion on drills. In the first one you mention, with the book open, is that so i can check an outline while trying to write from dictation ( i assume by dictation you mean i have recorded the lesson at a slow pace)?

    Thanks Again,

  21. Since you say i should use the FM as the main book to study would you suggest i stop writing until lesson 22?

    Yes.

    If so how should i employ the speed studies book prior to writing?

    Read, re-read, and triple read. Make a note those words that are difficult or cause you to stumble. When you reach Assignment 22, I would suggest you to go back to Lesson 1 in the Speed Studies, and start writing passages for additional practice. When you go back, you should be reading at a good speed.

    I also appreciate your suggestion on drills. In the first one you mention, with the book open, is that so i can check an outline while trying to write from dictation ( i assume by dictation you mean i have recorded the lesson at a slow pace)?

    Yes. It is so that you become accustomed to it. Later on, the dictation is from closed book.

  22. Triple read? Well, I think that's a problem. One should continue to read and reread until the shorthand can be read as fluently as one reads printed text. For some, that means reading it three times; for others, 15-20. I know that's not exciting and it's hard work. But all that repeated reading and work pays off when theory is finished and speedbuilding begins.

  23. For someone just starting out, the above comments might seem a little intimidating. Picking up works that have hundreds of pages in them and re-reading a single page over and over again could make shorthand seem like a mountain of a task. For those who are worried let me just say first, that shorthand is a very worthwhile skill — the kind of valuable skill that is worth investing in.

    But more importantly, piqueroi, mark and mcbud are urging those who are beginning to study to start out in first gear. Not third or fifth gear. Most of us who have tried this have soon stalled out, had to dust off our egos, and pick up again in first gear. Taking the time to be really solid on the basic first lessons, brief forms and mental fluency on easy material will allow you to slam into higher gears in short order. It won't be long before you are plowing through the steno books.

    If you want to learn shorthand fast. Start very, very slowly and be relentlessly consistent.

  24. The Graded Readings books are good for this. Same with Speed Studies. Reasonably interesting reading keyed to each chapter. Can't say the same with Fundamental Drills — the chapters I did were very boring.

    The Anni 1929 manual says they teach the most common sounds and words first.

    "One of the first steps in planning the Anniversary Edition, therefore, was an exhaustive analysis of the words contained in the Horn and the Harvard studies of the comparative frequency of words. As one example of what this analysis showed, it was found that the learning of the twenty most common words in our language was spread through seven lessons in the 1916 manual. In the Anniversary Edition these twenty words are presented in the first chapter. Moreover, the matter presented in this chapter gives the student a writing power that will enable him to write 42 per cent of the running word sin non-technical English, as well as many hundreds of other words."

    Admittedly, 10% of running prose is the word "the", and the remaining 32% are other short, function words rather than content words, but at least it's a start.

    When the kids were just learning to read, the rule of thumb was if the book had more than five words they couldn't read easily, the book was too hard for them.

  25. My apologies for posting this question in this particular thread, but I was unable to figure out how to start a new thread. So, changing subjects totally, I am learning Gregg Simplified and I came up with the odd situation for which I cannot find an answer. The word "scapegoat" has the "a" after the "sc". But the word "landscape" does not have an "a" after the "sc". Why is that? More importantly, is there any explanation given in the Simplifed manual? It is these little things that drive me crazy!

  26. Hi questi:

    The writing of "landscape" was adopted from the Anniversary writing, which omits the "a", and writes the "s" as a right s. The word is written the same way in DJS. In Pre-Anniversary, it was written with a left s. The "a" is not added until Series 90. Now, why is it written in Anniversary that way? Because you don't need the extra "a" to know that there is only one word that would correspond to that outline: scapegoat. That's the essence of the Abbreviating Principle, which is talked about in Simplified in Lessons 39-41, but they never point out what the principle really is! The principle says that we write only enough of a word to be able to transcribe it.

    New threads can only be started by members — that's a Multiply restriction. Since you weren't a member at the time you posted your question, you could not do that, but now that you're a member, you can start a thread.

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