French Shorthand Resources?

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working on the 1939 adaptation of Gregg Shorthand to French for about a month now, for use in school (I’m in Grade 9). I’ve had moderate success: I can NEVER read the Reading Exercises, but I can always read back my own notes (no doubt it’s 90% memory though). I understand most of the concepts, but my writing is still quite choppy and ugly. 
The big thing that’s making it difficult to use in class is speed. I dunno whether I should be concerned right now, as I’m not finished theory yet, but even so, I don’t know where to find French shorthand resources on the internet for free (I would never be allowed to pay for anything on the Internet), and I live in an English speaking area, so nothing behind brick and mortar.
So do any of you know where I might find dictation material in French online? It might not be the right place, this being an English forum, but French is not really my first language, so I find it easier to use the internet in English.
Thanks in advance for any help,
P.S. Sorry if I’m not posting properly or this is not going to the right section. This is my first post.

(by Sirius for group greggshorthand)

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22 comments Add yours
  1. That's great that you're studying the French adaptation!

    About the speed issue, you are still at a learning stage. You shouldn't be concerned with speed yet, because you're still learning. The important thing is to go through each lesson carefully — you are not supposed to go to the next lesson without having mastered the previous one. The whole book is supposed to be studied in one semester, and at the end of the semester, you will not be writing very fast, but you will be writing much faster than longhand! At this stage it is recommended that you combine shorthand and longhand in your daily life whenever you can. Now, what worries me is that you say you can never read the reading exercises. Why do you think that is?

    I would not worry too much about dictation material for your level: you are still learning.

    About the choppiness and ugliness in the writing — that is normal at the beginning. I would recommend to use the English version of Gregg Speed Studies, as it contains some penmanship exercises and explains how to hold the pen, etc.

    About resources, I would recommend asking a librarian in your local library for help in locating various books for you through interlibrary loan. One of them is the French version of the Speed Studies (Études graduées de vitesse en sténographie Gregg), by Frances Lippman. The University of Montréal has a copy, and perhaps they could photocopy or scan it for you, or if you live near Montréal, you may visit. That book has additional practice and reading material that complements the main book. Also, if you're having problems with the reading exercises, they have the key for the 1939 adaptation. You may want to photocopy that too.

    If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

  2. Thanks to both of you for your help. I found a free online copy of Gregg Speed Studies (1917 edition) in the internet archives, and it looks extremely useful as it's so in-depth. I had less luck finding dictation in French though; I tried the Google search recommended by kitale, but all I could find was audio designed for learners of the language, and therefore it's much too fast (at least right now). I did an online search through the interlibrary system of my province, but they don't have anything in French, or even English Gregg for that matter.

    I'll just try to pay more attention to the lessons for now, and work hard on deciphering the Reading Exercises. I'm currently on the jente-pente dif(v)-tif(v) section and so far all is ok. I use shorthand in my daily life: at school, if a teacher won't mark it, I do it in shorthand!

    Thanks again,

  3. Thinking about it, I may have rushed a bit over the last few chapters. I spent two hours on Sunday blazing through about 3 or 4 chapters, and maybe that was not such a good idea, but I couldn't resist the urge to go on and learn something new instead of revise and remember. Apart from reading, my other weakness is remembering abbreviations. There are just so many! My workbook isn't very organised, also, so when I know something is a reduced form but can't remember what it looks like, I can't look it up quickly. I'll have to work on that.

    I also don't really know any English Gregg (I didn't feel a need for it, since I can do Teeline at around 70 or 80 already). But skimming through the speed studies, this lack of knowledge is suddenly very pronounced, as I don't recognise anything, especially short forms. The speed studies should still be useful for refining technique, but I think I'll soon find it hard to follow as I progress through the chapters.

    I'm continuing my internet search for French shorthand resources, and I'll update if I find something, but the chances are starting to seem slim.

  4. The 1917 edition of the Gregg Speed Studies book is perfectly fine for your purposes.

    Can't your local library request books from outside your province via ILL? In the US we can request books from basically anywhere.

    And just a small warning: if after a month you're doing the blends lesson, you may be going too fast. Although since you're not supplementing the lessons with the speed studies book, it is understandable.

  5. 70wpm with any system is impressive! It takes perserverence.

    If I recall correctly, 1917 and 1939 are two different editions. There were some significant changes between editions. Someone here will know how much they affect the core theory.

    Skimming through the theory so you can get to the next chapter is common. (Raises own hand.) In some texts, it's even advisable. (My DJS book waited several chapters between the t,d pair and td, so my d was full height, leaving no room for td.)

    However, don't fool yourself into thinking you've mastered the chapter. It's like math. You need a good grasp of each chapter so the next can build on it.

    The same method you used with Teeline will work with Gregg. In addition, read each passage until you can read it out loud at the same speed you can read longhand. Copy the plates until you're fluent. Write the longhand in a column, then shorthand, fold under the longhand and write the next column in longhand, check, and repeat for as many columns as fit in the page.

    I can make dictation files in English from any text file (thanks to my programmer husband), but the quality is only good enough for speed-building, not cold dictation.

    Best of luck!

  6. On the Documents page of this site, there is a 12-page PDF of penmanship pointers. It focuses more on the strokes and joinings than on the theory and English vocabulary. This might work better in your case than the English version of Speed Studies.

    Someplace there is a PDF of "Practical Drills in Shorthand Penmanship" by George McClure. I thought it was on either this site or the Internet Archive, but I'm having no luck finding it now in either place. Can anyone shed any light on its whereabouts?

  7. Thanks for the link and the tips, guys. I copied some of the drills to bring to school. My substitute teacher was amused with my practising. 'I didn't know people still used shorthand!'. The Drills are good, and I'm still reading Speed Studies, and I'll try the method cricketb mentioned for memorising plates. I think it's also mentioned in Speed Studies.

    I'd still like to have French timed dictation, but I'm sure that with all my use at school, I'll improve slowly without it, it'll just be hard to figure out how fast I can do it. If anyone knows where I could find the French Speed Studies online too, that'd be nice, though unlikely since it's copyrighted.

  8. For anyone studying Senecal's adaptation, I have created a brief form chart for the 300 abbreviations given. It's complete with the plates from the manual but this also means that I can't post it on the blog. If anyone is interested in having a copy, please feel free to contact me through the group.

  9. I am very lucky after some effort to have obtained an original copy of Sénécal's 1939 manual and an interlibrary loan of Études graduées de vitesse by Lippman, 1938. I have unsuccessfully crawled Amazon, AbeBooks, Ebay, Antiqbook, and BookDepository for a year for Lippman's answer keys to both Sénécal's manual and Études. Has anyone seen these answer keys? If so, is it worth continuing the hunt for them?

    1. I'd say that French language Gregg materials are quite scarce, and while not impossible to find they don't show up often in normal used book sites. It will just be a matter of chance that these French texts from the 1930s will show up. I wouldn't invest a lot of time in searching for them.

    2. Have you considered looking at used booksellers in France or Belgium? Dsspite their scarcity, I have a feeling these places are where these books are most likely to show up.

    3. I just received transcriptions of the keys compiled by a blog member. It seems that French Gregg was localised to Canada as I have found no French Gregg materials at European sources. French-speaking Europeans mostly use the Duployé, Delauney-Prévost, and Aimé-Paris systems. There are also materials available for French adaptations of the German DEK and the Pitman New Era systems.

  10. I've been lucky with the Canadian bookstores. I have an almost complete set of Sténographie Gregg and Études de vitesse/Vitesse progressive books for the series that were published (up to Series 90), and was lucky to get a French DJS dictionary (which also covers S90 for the most part). It has been a slow process, but materials come once in a while at reasonable prices, considering how rare they are. The only downside is the high shipping cost from Canada!

  11. The Sénécal adaptation appears closely tied to the English anniversary edition. The manual is laid out to the same format and many of the brief forms for cognate words are identical. Carlos, how do the later editions of French Gregg compare? Do they mirror the development of English Gregg? Is the underlying system modified or refined from Sénécal's system? I was recently tempted to purchase the simplified dictionary (by Sister Marie de Bethléem) to determine if it had any usefulness for anni, but was beaten to it by another buyer. Of historical interest, I noticed that most of the authors of French Gregg, from Sénécal, OMI, to Sister Marie-Ernéstine, were of the Catholic church. I speculate that the reason for this is either that the church had the need for stenography to record sermons and the like or that French-Canadian schooling was dominated by the church until the 1960s.

    1. Yes. The series in French pretty much mirror the series in English, although the French books have less lessons than the English counterparts. Many of Sénecal's adaptations were retained. The later series spell out all infinitives (writing them as they sound, for example "aimer" would be e-m-e, not e-m). The rd/ld strokes were introduced in Simplified and retained in the subsequent series. The gent blend was dropped in DJS as in the English series. The brief forms were reduced in the later series as expected. The DJS manuals were even published in 2 editions, with the second edition being in two-column format (Sténographie Gregg en 32 Leçons: Gregg 75) as in the second edition of the English DJS. That last book was also printed in Series 90 (Sténographie Gregg en 32 Leçons: College 90), with only minor changes to words and phrases, but the Reading and Writing exercises between the two books are identical for the most part. The only downside to all manuals following Anniversary is the shorthand penmanship. The plate writer's penmanship was not artistic, and although readable, sometimes the proportions were not kept. They should have kept Mrs. Ramsey (as she did the French Anniversary books), or had Mr. Rader or Mr. Edelman as the writer.

      I'm not sure that a Simplified French dictionary would help you with Anniversary, however, if I had seen it, I would've bought it!

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