Other shorthand systems?

Hi Everyone,
    I’m curious to know 2 things (apologies, in advance, if there’s already a thread on this; I didn’t see one):

1. what different shorthand systems do others know?  I imagine there are at least a few Pitman writers on this listserv.  Do any of you write in other shorthand systems as well?

2. does anyone write hybrid shorthand incorporating elements of more than one system?  I’ve been learning some positional systems (most recently, Thomas Natural Shorthand), and have been playing around with incorporating both specific forms from these systems, as well as certain positional principles into my Gregg Anni writing.  Just wondering if anyone else is on the hunt for interesting features/efficiencies in other shorthand systems?

Happy scribing

(by A
for group greggshorthand)

20 comments Add yours
  1. Incidentally, since you're studying the Thomas system, Minnie De Motte Frick wrote a book called Talk and Take Thomas Natural Shorthand. There's a copy available right now, if you go to bookfinder.com and type in "frick" for author and "shorthand" for title. (There are two entries listed, but they are probably pointing to the same copy.)

    Mrs. Frick devised the Analytical Method approach to Gregg Shorthand. Her book on Talk and Take Gregg Shorthand is posted here. Her book on the Thomas system is probably similar—and probably as rare.

  2. I´m a stenographic hobbyist. Like Marc Semler´s story about the employers wanting something nice to look at, my story was that there was a move to replace males with females in the workforce during the sixties. So after I learned Simplified, I found myself at odds as to what to do with it. So I saw one of those ads for La Salle Extension University and took Stenotypy for many years. I loved it except that I found out afterwards that you needed a license to make money at the stuff and also an apprenticeship, which one couldn´t get unless you knew a practicing court reporter. I found out fast that everyone had a son, daugthter, niece, or nephew who wanted to be a court reporter also. So much for that. But I still loved stenography and found that there was a thing called linguistics that made stenography worthwhile. So I started to collect stenography books and taught myself Benn Pitman shorthand. Later I would learn German and studied Winkler-Enheitkurzschriften and then Pitman German Shorthand. Probably the most efficient one is, of course, the machine that is however the most expensive one to learn seeing that you must buy a machine. When I studied it, the machine was $250 and used paper tape. Now the machine is connected to a computer and costs $5,000. As far as the pen stenographies go, the Pre-Anniverary or the Anniverary Gregg are the best ones probably. There is a Reporting Gregg that I used to have the book for, but I sold my library of about two hundred shorthand books. It´s not a good idea to mix the systems. Stenography is like photography in that one should stick to one system for the sake of maintaining speed and accuracy and not having to repeat the same trials and tribulations over and over again. My main interest has been since my unfortunate encounter with sexism has been the theories more than the speed on all but the Anniverary and the Stenotypy, which have slipped by in the passing years of not practicing very much. I would love to see stenography become a competition sport because there are a lot of benefits in practicing the art for speed. After all is said and done, isn´t it just as reasonable that writing shorthand at a fast speed would be just as thrilling and useful as hitting a baseball with a bat?

  3. Thank you all for your posts. Valo, out of curiosity, is there any information on the Carissimi system? Are there any method books? Was it created specifically for Spanish language transcription?

  4. About Carissimi, I got a manual from a shorthand reporter of Uruguayan Representative Chamber. The manual is about 30 pages typed in typewriting machine. I can send it to you if you want to (or everybody else). I don't know if there's a printed book about it.

    Carissimi shorthand was created speciffically for Spanish language, because one of its characteristics is to write words syllabically. It's very easy for learning and takes no more than two days for knowing it completely. It's positional like Pitman, but not about shading.

  5. I write Forkner slowly. I copied the entire book without realizing I should push the speed.

    I'm learning Gregg Simplified, but it's low priority, so I do well for a few weeks then other things push it away.

    I did maybe 1/3 of a Pitman book and 1/2 of Teeline. Pitman was just copying, the Teeline book had speed goals.

    Shorthand systems are like languages. You can know several, but it's a bad idea to mix them during use.

    "Will" is L in Gregg and W in Forkner. "Of" is O in Gregg and V in Forkner. "The" is TH in Gregg and H in Forkner.

    Forkner distinguishes between S as part of word end, S possessive and S plural.

    Forkner has a special letter for most preffixes and suffixes. Gregg reuses an existing letter.

    Forkner adds a small space for R. Gregg just leaves it out.

    If I'm using both regularly I can flip easily. (I still trust Forkner more — it has more strokes, but is easier to read out of context.) However, if I use one that's stale, I hesitate. Thinking V for "of" just doesn't feel right.

    My time with Pitman was useful, since needing to have both light and dark lines showed me my nice, light Gregg was actually pretty dark (and therefore hard on my hands). The Teeline book is the only one I've found that has speed guidelines in the student manual.

  6. I respectfully disagree that it's a bad idea to mix systems, unless, of course, it's a goal of yours to write shorthand that can be read by others. Long before I had attained proficiency in GS (Anni+elements of pre-Anni), I routinely incoporated elements of GS in my longhand writing, which made for more efficient longhand. Now that I am proficient in GS (for the most part, I take all my notes in GS now), I routinely incorporate elements of other systems (signs, etc.), in my GS writing, which, I find, often makes for an even more efficient writing experience. For my money, GS is the best system I've ever encountered — by virtue of its speed and learnability and the overall elegance of its design. But I think there are efficiencies in other systems that improve on GS. I have enjoyed experimenting with adopting both certain word or phrase signs from other systems, or incorporating certain principles from them.

    Not that I'm advocating that anyone do this, I simply find it very interesting and wonder if anyone else does as well. My own interest in shorthand systems, in general, has less to do with writing speed (though I am interested in developing greater speed than I have; I'm not a professional stenographer, though, so there are limits to my speed needs, and I've more or less reached them already). I'm much more interested in the carrying capacity of shorthand systems, namely, in how compactly transcriptions can be rendered and still be intelligible to the writer (and, perhaps, others) over the course of time. GS is a first-rate compromise between speed and intelligibility, and yields a reasonably compact result. By mixing systems — very likely at some cost to speed (not a big concern to me) — it seems to me that far compacter results may be achievable (with acceptable cost to speed).

    Anyway, it's fun to experiment along these lines. Happy writing.

  7. Librum,

    Are you combining elements from other Gregg versions, or completely different systems such as Pitman and Forkner?

    The Gregg versions are all variations on a theme. They have the same alphabet. There is very little conflict between them. "Will" is always L. If a pre-Anni brief form appears in a Simplified passage, you'll either read it correctly or it will be nonsense. Many people have combined them successfully. Most of the advanced material for Simplified is the brief forms and shortcuts that was removed. So, for versions of Gregg, we agree — they mix well.


    Another danger of mixing two very different systems is that what seems like a good idea while still in the early chapters, might conflict with something in later chapters. Easily enough solved by reading the entire book first. For example, Gregg uses position for advanced prefixes and suffixes.

    By sticking with a single system (or at least versions of the same system), you can get help reading it back. You can ask the group, "What might I have meant by…" You can't do that if you mix systems.

    Also, if you keep changing systems, you'll never reach your potential with any of them. (I speak from experience.)

  8. Hi,
    I'm talking about mixing different systems altogether, specifically for the purpose of achieving greater compactness, not greater speed. I have already achieved a speed potential (with GS) that is sufficient for my purposes. My original interests in learning GS were to take personal notes quickly. Now that I can do that, I've become very interested in exploring the 'information theoretic' limits of shorthand: how much you can compress a message while still writing fast. Eclectic Shorthand is one type of stand-alone system that compresses quite a lot, but that is very difficult to write quickly (so I find). I'm on the hunt for GS speed + ES compactness. One possible way of getting there, I think, is to kluge a shorthand system out of existing systems, with GS at the core. As I say, it's something I'm fiddling around with, and am finding very interesting.


  9. Aside from Gregg, I did attend stenotype school after college and passed the 100 before McGraw-Hill called my classes a "conflict of interest."

    I've tried learning New Era Pitman more than once. I even tried Pitman 2000. Never got proficient in either. There was a time I could read New Era darned well.

  10. You're welcome, Librum (btw, post your photo :P)
    I don't mix systems, but some features that could work. Example: Carissimi has just one size for each stroke, in my personal version of Carissimi, I double (for example) the B sign for the combination of two syllables containing B and R: "burocracia"…

  11. I occasionally use an old alphabetic system (titled A-B-C Shorthand, but not the one that's on the Internet Archive). I use it mostly for jotting notes on pocket notepads with line spacing of five or more to the inch — too small for me to write GS with legible proportions. I use it more for compactness than speed.

    I have a nodding acquaintance with a couple of others. The closest I've come to mixing systems would be times that I wrote a passage in a different system for emphasis, such as a definition in the middle of class notes, rather like using underlining or print in the middle of cursive writing.

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