Hesitation after Phrases

This seemed strange, until I thought about it. I often hesitate after phrases, rather than making good use of the saved time.

I think it’s because I still hear the words in my head at a fairly constant rate. “You may be able” takes 4 beats, even though it’s only one outline (and a nice smooth one at that).

Has anyone else experienced this?

Any ideas for getting past it?

I push most passages to 60wpm, starting with reading, then copying from the text, then from recorded dictation at 40,50,60,70,80, and back to 60. Sometimes I copy from the text between dictations. If the first take at 60 is fine, I skip the overclocking. On confident days I skip some of the earlier speeds.

Any ideas? Would it be the rather metronomic (is that a word?) way I record the dictation files? Would copying from the plate or a text version help? Should I just keep pushing the speed as I have been and it will eventually shake out?

Thanks in advance,

Cricket for everyone)


16 comments Add yours
  1. The hesitation is after the phrase, not before it. Even when I know it's coming up, I write the phrase and then hesitate before the next outline. It's more noticeable with longer phrases.

    Now that I think about it, though, the passage is, "you may be able to analyze," so "to analyze" might be the problem. It's not a phrase, but whenever we hear "to" we need to know the next word before writing, and "analyze" is a newer word.

    I'm careful about copying the passage first (after reading it at speed), before any dictation. If any outlines become a problem during dictation, I either drill them (if it's a mechanical issue) or recopy from the book (if it's memory).

    I'll try drilling a list of phrases, and paying special attention to phrases when copying for a while.


  2. Hesitation can come from not recognizing that a particular set of words can be written as a phrase, or from not knowing what is the outline of the phrase. Two things would help: (1) memorizing the standard phrases just like one memorizes brief forms, and (2) dry dictation or reverse transcription: get the transcript of the piece you want to study, circle all the phrases, and write the whole piece in shorthand, with the appropriate phrasing. This is not a speed building exercise, but a study in shorthand theory that will eventually help you to not hesitate. I don't think it is a good idea to write something faster and faster when it is being done incorrectly in the first place.

  3. Assuming I write it correctly (I start by copying the passage [1] ) , how fast makes sense? I can usually do 40wpm easily after copying it first. 60 is a push for some passages and easy for others. At one extreme, 20wpm while learning theory is probably too slow, but at the other 100wpm is too fast. What's a reasonable middle-ground while still learning the theory? I've been using 60. If I can keep up, great. If not, it shows me which areas I need to work on. On the other hand, if 40 is fast enough, I might manage more than one passage per study session.

    [1] Once per lesson (Simplified Functional, so about 5 passages per lesson) I try a slow cold take as a test, but correct it before going any further.

  4. Yes, I've tried 50. I can usually build up to it very quickly — copy, 40, and maybe 2 tries at 50 — without over-clocking. 60 usually requires over-clocking.

    Reaching 50 on each passage would get me through the book twice as fast as 60. (As would reorganizing my priorities, but I'd rather learn slowly than drop it altogether.)

    Writing each passage from dictation shows problems more clearly than copying at whatever speed feels good.

    What do you think of drilling a non-connected group of words? If I have trouble with C, then drill ABCDE. I'd end up memorizing it rather than hearing/writing, but it would get me over the glitch.

  5. When I have trouble with a specific word, it's usually new and uncommon, chosen because they use the topic of the lecture, like association and analyze, rather its overall usefulness.

    The phrase that started this thread was, "with-the thought that you-may-be-able to analyze…" I kept hesitating after "you may be able", and wondered if it was because it broke the rhythm of the dictation — 5 syllables in 1 very fluid outline, and I'm suddenly 5 syllables ahead. I felt the need to pause and re-centre myself before thinking about the next words.

    The thought was to drill, not just "to analyze", which was after the pause, but also several words on either side: "with the thought that you may be able to analyze". (Those words are connected — but only in that sentence.)

    My speed would go up for those 10 words in that order, but would it be from general mastery, or just because I've gotten good at those 10 words in that order?

  6. I don't do an intentional preview. Problem areas make themselves known during the first few takes. If they don't fix themselves after about two takes, I drill them. Still undecided if, once the outline feels right, I should add a few words on either side to the drill before trying the entire passage again.

  7. mcbud is offering good counsel. If you don't have a copy, Rational Dictation is the book I'd recommend for anyone who's completed the theory. I've fallen for a big way for the Gregg speed building tapes being posted. For practice and increasing speed, they are superbly organized.

  8. Thanks! I've added Rational Dictation to my list for when the theory is done.

    Years ago, I finished the entire DJS book but only copied at a leisurely pace. Needless to say, I didn't learn it very well, and I don't want to do the same again.

    I'm about 1/5 of the way through the theory for Simplified. Most of the theory so far is review, so I was pushing speed more than is recommended for a first pass of the books. I had hoped to gain speed faster, so I'd spend less time on each passage overall, but it's too early to tell if it's working.

    I'll also start spending more time on the theory part of each chapter, and previewing each passage.

  9. You may try to do a preview and see how it goes. Previews are standard practice when learning (even at expert speeds) to help solidify the theory and have you work on achieving the fastest possible writing speed, without the hindrance of a hesitation. That builds confidence and makes you work at higher speeds. Most dictation practice books contain a shorthand preview for that very reason.

    Previews are not necessary when your theory is solid and you are only working on improving word carrying ability, not on outline construction. Here, you are trying to increase the number of words you can lag behind so that you are still comfortable to get all the words without panicking. In this case, new outlines should not stop you because you have mastered the theory.

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