Shorthand Terminology

I’ve occasionally run across terms that are apparently part of a vocabulary unique to our field. Examples would be (from Reporting Shortcuts 1922):

Word-carrying faculty – The ability to trail a speaker, recalling the spoken words ahead of writing them down.

BUSTED – What happens to a shorthand writer after falling hopelessly behind and losing a chunk of dictation.

A few terms I still haven’t grasped include solid matter and connected matter. I assume “literary matter” is just a selection from some classic work of literature.

(There are a few others that I’ve run into but can’t recall offhand, so I thought perhaps we could return to this thread when new terms pop up?)

Any help on those two terms would be appreciated. In fact, if anyone knows offhand a list of the differing types of dictation material, including those two, that would be a bonus!   🙂

(by Joel for
group greggshorthand)


3 comments Add yours
  1. The two terms are better understood with respect to others.

    From a structure point of view, dictation matter can be isolated or connected. Isolated means that it does not form part of a bigger selection, such as dictating individual words or individual sentences. Connected matter means selections with sentences that make part of a whole. According to its content, connected matter can be solid (also known as literary), testimony, or jury charge.

    Solid matter basically refers to letters or speeches, such as the statement of a case in a trial, those from the congressional record, convention addresses, etc. Testimony refers to questions and answers from the lawyers/prosecutors to the plaintiff & witnesses in a trial. Jury charge refers to the instructions to the jurors from the judge, with law definitions applied to the case. Notice that solid (or literary) matter can be thought as a catch-all term referring to anything but testimony and jury charge. In speed contests, letters are not part of solid matter, only speeches.

  2. Thanks for the explanation, Chuck. 🙂

    So even in cases where, for example, the great Mr. Swem would be reporting press conferences with multiple participants along with President Wilson, or reporting a reception for Wilson in some foreign country, all of this also falls under the rubric of "solid matter." I also didn't grasp that "literary" and "solid" referred to the same type of material.

    From reading Mr. Bottome's The Stenographic Expert, I can see why "jury charge" has its own category, as I recall there were some peculiarities involved with reporting that material.

    Well, I'll check back when I run into another one of these terms. Perhaps we can get a small glossary list together eventually.

    And reeves74—glad you're part of the team! 🙂

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