Speed Differences Between Languages?

Hi everyone,

Does anyone know how fast I can expect to get to in French Gregg shorthand? I’ve seen something on Spanish Gregg somewhere, saying that one can only hope to attain a fraction of English speed. The record in English is around 280, but I can’t imagine anyone getting to 280 in French. For example, in English, a common word like ‘the’ is a little curve, but in French it’s an l or l-a which takes almost twice as long. The same goes for of. Instead of a little hook, you get a huge d.
Also, the average word in French is slightly longer than in English (in terms of letters), so if French is slightly slower in terms of words, it could just be because the words are longer and not because of the system.
So what I’m really asking is whether Gregg in its translations ever got to the speeds a native system could attain. What do you guys think? Is there anyone else learning Senecal’s French Gregg?
By the way, hanging around here has finally convinced me to make the switch from Teeline to Gregg in English!!! I really want to read all the selections, and Gregg is just about 5.68 times awesomer than Teeline, in any case, so I shall be working through the Anni manual for the next couple of months (trying to go slow!) I managed to read one of the Flash Reading selections, it was much easier than reading French, so maybe I can’t read French Gregg just because of my language barrier.
The Etudes de Vitesse are really good, am also working through them (they are higher on my priority list than English Gregg).
Bye,
AnonymousMuggle

(by Sirius for group greggshorthand)

12 comments Add yours
  1. Interesting post 🙂
    Same experience with me. I'm learning Gregg for Swedish. Not much point in learning the English short forms. I'm focusing on just learning the basic skills. But I'm making my own Swedish short forms – well why not? Why not make your own short forms for French? Make up a short characteristic symbol? I think it is quite OK to adapt Gregg to your own needs.
    Swedish has some VERY long words: this would be a good one for Gregg:
    "Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranläggningsmaterielunderhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussionsinläggsförberedelsearbeten (130 letters). It means "Northern Baltic Sea Coast Artillery Reconnaissance Flight Simulator Facility Equipment Maintenance Follow-Up System Discussion Post Preparation Work(s)." (130 letters!).
    Does French shorthand (Duployé?) not have a distinctive symbol for 'le, la' that you could 'borrow'?
    It is all very fascinating though.
    Have fun!

  2. Length of line has very, very little to do with speed.

    Most writers spend more time between words than they do in a word. If you can cut that in half (which is very doable), you'll save more time than you spend writing slightly longer lines. It's like the family budget. Cutting a $1000 line in half is more effective than totally erasing a $400 line.

    Another factor is changing direction within a word, especially acute angles. Your hand has to start and stop all the time. I find D is faster than U — just flick the pen and I'm done rather than up and back with enough control that it's a curve, not a point, and not a C. I find short lines take more concentration and care (and therefore time) than long lines — at least at this stage.

    Swedish sounds like German — what would be many words in English becomes one long word. In a paper, would that word be spelled out, all 130 letters, or reduced to something shorter? What about treating it as individual words, and using abbreviations on a word-by-word basis. Some bits, like "Northern Baltic Sea Coast" probably appear often enough in the office to merit a brief form.

    You can assume that the typist is as fluent in the language as the stenographer. Words will be merged or separated as appropriate when typing, regardless of where the spaces are in the shorthand.

  3. Interesting post 🙂
    Same experience with me. I'm learning Gregg for Swedish. Not much point in learning the English short forms. I'm focusing on just learning the basic skills. But I'm making my own Swedish short forms – well why not? Why not make your own short forms for French? Make up a short characteristic symbol? I think it is quite OK to adapt Gregg to your own needs.
    Swedish has some VERY long words: this would be a good one for Gregg:
    "Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranläggningsmaterielunderhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussionsinläggsförberedelsearbeten (130 letters). It means "Northern Baltic Sea Coast Artillery Reconnaissance Flight Simulator Facility Equipment Maintenance Follow-Up System Discussion Post Preparation Work(s)." (130 letters!).
    Does French shorthand (Duployé?) not have a distinctive symbol for 'le, la' that you could 'borrow'?
    It is all very fascinating though.
    Have fun!

  4. Well in Swedish, they just don't get individual words. They read and recognise it as a long (the correct version) word. So it would not do to break it down. The Swedish Melin's system (derived from the german Gabelsberger system) preserves the compound words. I suppose the Swedish brain is used to working that way with its language. We have a word at my uni that amuses me: 'the school nurse programme' – skolsjuksköterskeprogrammet. In Gregg that would probably go off the page.

  5. Philip, sorry for making your browser go mad. I'll try to avoid long Swedish words in the future. I was just trying to show how long some words can be in another language. I suppose I did make my point though – that Gregg interpretations of foreign words might go off the page – and it seems your browser has similar problems 🙂

  6. Hi again,

    I did some looking around, and I couldn't find anything more on syllables in French. I did a test though. There are 156 syllables in the first 100 words of General Charles de Gaulle's 18 June speech. There are 167 in the French Wikipedia article about paper, and 157 in an Alexandre Dumas book. These may not be exact, as I was a little careless in my treatment of diphthongs and r's and l's 'mouillees'.

    Anyway, that would make the words almost the same as in English!

    5.68 was just a random number at the time. I'm still too used to Teeline. When I talk or listen to someone talk, I still find myself writing the Teeline outlines in my pocket or in the air with my finger. This has yet to happen in Gregg, but that's just probably because I don't talk much in French, just attend class (I speak English with my friends in all my French classes).

    Cheers,
    AnonymousMuggle

  7. I have no real experience with Teeline, but from all I've seen of made-up statistics, a moderate number with a decimal fraction tends to sound more "real" and impressive than a large round number. : )

  8. For the purposes of shorthand speed, Louis Leslie defined what is called a "standard word" in Gregg dictation. The reason for defining a standard word is that if you were to count actual words in dictation, writing a passage of monosyllables at 100 wpm is not the same as writing a passage with long words at 100 wpm. Leslie found that a standard word in English is 1.4 syllable. So if you write any passage at 100 wpm in English, it means that you will be writing 140 syllables in one minute. In Spanish, the standard word is 2 syllables long. I'm not sure what the convention for Gregg in French is, but the Spanish convention should be pretty close.

    At the end of one semester of Gregg Shorthand in English, you should be easily writing at 60 wpm (84 syllables). Using this same standard, 60 wpm in English would be 42 wpm in Spanish (84 syllables) — you could say the same for French.

    So if you eventually write at 100 wpm in French, it would be 143 wpm in English: close to expert speed!

    Incidentally, I'm wondering how you came up with the 5.68 number: to me it's 1000 times, 🙂

  9. For writers in specific fields, more syllables doesn't mean more writing.

    "Gentlemen of the Jury" is just one extremely long J stroke — two J's. At an extreme, entire paragraphs can be reduced to just what changes this time.

    In competitions, literature regularly had lower speeds than legal matter. The latter, although it has bigger words, has more repetition. A specialist in legal shorthand would take full advantage of that repetition.

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