Beginner’s blues

Hi all,

Great site, just discovered it. So, I am trying to teach myself Simplified. It is going well, kind of… I can read it fine but writing is another matter. If I write the outlines on my whiteboard at work they are good. But writing normal size on paper they are not so good. Problem is, for example, keeping lines straight: if I write ‘rate’ the r and the a are ok, but the t bit I find hard to make the t part straight, the curve kind of follows through from the ‘a’. So I have to kind of pause and make a jerky ‘t’ addition.
So my question is, will this come ok with time. I am not sure if I should write the notation more slowly and if practice makes perfect. Right now it seems as though I am ‘writing’ the shorthand instead of it flowing.
I’d be grateful for any input.
Many thanks

for group greggshorthand)


10 comments Add yours
  1. Thanks for the reply. I have been doing this for about 5 weeks and I am up to Ch 5. Been practicing this afternoon again. I think I see what I have been doing wrong. I am not used to cursive writing (unless I use a fountain pen) and I was making my a-loops very round, completely circular really. This made it hard to come out of that tight loop movement into a straight line. So now I have been making the loops both bigger and flatter. Having much more success now. I have been using a 'shorthand' pad. I don't think it is specifically for Gregg. I suppose practice makes perfect. Quite a challenge ahead of me. I live in Sweden and I want to be able to adapt my SH to the Swedish language, after I have become more competent. I read that Gregg has been used with Swedish, but I can't find any examples of it. The Swedish 'stenografi' uses Melin's system (still quite active here) but it is rather ugly and complicated, so I'll stick with Gregg and invent my own short forms. Thanks for the input; no doubt I'll be back 🙂

  2. As information, if the lines on your shorthand pad are ruled about 8 mm apart, the spacing is about the same as Gregg ruling. This is not essential, though, as long as you have enough room to write the characters in proportion to each other.

    As you have discovered for yourself, the shapes change a bit as needed to fit together. The "circles" are rarely perfect circles, which makes them easier to write, really.

  3. Welcome to the group, Merv! I have some questions for you:

    1. When did you start writing shorthand and how far along are you in the Simplified book? It's not unusual to have some jerkiness in the writing when beginning, especially if one doesn't write cursive that often. I like that you say that you are writing but that it is not flowing — I take it that you are not drawing the strokes: that is a good thing. Like with anything that involves a skill, good writing comes with time, and the ease in the writing comes with practice. That said, the straight line strokes are usually the easier ones to write, because they are just lines. However, they are probably the hardest to keep in proportion because of the tendency of the hand to write more of the stroke than is necessary.

    2. Are you writing on Gregg-ruled paper?

    3. Would you be able to scan a sample of your writing and post it here so that we can better see what the issue is? Just take a passage from the book and write a couple of sentences. In addition to the passage, write a line alternating n and m strokes, another line with t and d, and another with sh, ch, and j. I want to see what the jerkiness looks like.

  4. That's great. As far as I know, there is no official Swedish adaptation of Gregg. A Norwegian adaptation that was written in 1939 exists in draft form, but it was never published (the author's name is Oscar Lomeland — I'm assuming he was Norwegian).

    Do you think Gregg could be adapted to Swedish? Perhaps given that Swedish spelling is much more phonetic than other languages, it would make it less difficult.

  5. To the fine feedback above, I would add: unless it is your goal to write shorthand that others will read, you're writing for an audience of one — yourself. That being the case, it is only of the essence that you be able to distinguish, as necessary, the different elements of your own GS hand. Which is to say, you may find that as you learn more GS and develop greater speed/facility, your own writing may drift to some degree from the ideal script that one finds in GS plates. Granted, textbook GS is beautiful, and an ideal well worth striving towards. I imagine it's an ideal that requires enormous time and energy in its own right. My own interests in shorthand are utilitarian. My own GS script has a strong similarity (in certain regards) to my cursive script, which is highly idiosyncratic and might be challenging for others to read. While I adhere to all the principles of GS (Anniversary + elements of Pre-Anniversary) in regard to word shape, phrase formation, etc., and can write pretty fluidly in GS, what I write could well present certain challenges for other GS readers (e.g., my proportions are generally not strict).

    But the crucial thing is that I have no problem — even years later — reading any of my old shorthand notes. So, unless you're writing for other readers, or are specifically trying to achieve the ideal script aesthetic, I wouldn't be overly concerned about drifting away from that aesthetic, so long as you adhere to the essential principles of the system you're studying, and you become very comfortable with reading and reproducing your own hand, however idiosyncratic it may be.

    I should note that I am a self-taught GS writer. I imagine my views on this might be very different had I received formal training in GS.

  6. Thanks for all the helpful comments. Yes, I am doing it for myself – for fun really (and I am enjoying it). Part of my problem is I have seen the folks doing it on youtube and, of course, can't understand why I cannot do 120wpm after only a few weeks 🙂 Oh well. Early days.
    Swedish is more consistent in its pronunciation than English so in theory it should be OK, will have to do workarounds (like dashing the odd vowel as in German language Gregg) to be able to distinguish some non-English sounds though. Written Swedish, even fairly formal Swedish, is full of abbreviations, short forms you could say (eg DVS for 'det vill säga' -'that is to say'- and even when I am writing English I now use a lot of them in my own English language notes, or use a a full Swedish word if it is much shorter than the English equivalent. So I am getting into the habit of shortening things, which is good – I think. Anyhow, it is an interesting process. Language and its representation is fascinating.

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