Yet another novice!

Hey, my name is Nathan and I’ve been practicing Simplified on and off for a few months now. I’m a Sophomore in college and thought (Because I’m going for a PHD) that being able to literally dictate the notes as the professor lectures would be if not useful, a feat that would make me feel cool at least.

Anyway, about a month ago I decided to get serious about it so that I could actually use it in school. I’m also a major goal-setter and would like a very concrete goal for 6 months, 1 year marks. So my question is what is a good goal (challenging, but not impossible) for those two, if not longer? I probably won’t bother going to 200 WPM but I do want to get around 150 eventually. I try to practice (and generally succeed) in doing about an hour every day.
Also, all I have is the basic simplified manual. What other good Simplified books are out there?

(by Tannor for group greggshorthand)

16 comments Add yours
  1. I'm sure if you follow the instructions in the Simplified Manual and ensure that you can easily read and write the reading and writing practice in each lesson before proceeding to the next, you'll have little or no problem in learning the system. I'd recommend the Functional Manual simply because it provides you with a transcript of the shorthand plates, but I'd avoid any other books until you have completed the basic manual as you'll encounter outlines which you've not learned to recognize. Best of luck!

  2. I had a difficult time getting started with just the simplified manual. There simply weren't enough examples for me to really get it. Once I added the "Most Used Shorthand Words And Phases: Classified According To The Lessons In The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" (by John Robert Gregg, Louis A. Leslie, and Charles E. Zoubek) it made all the difference. Each lesson matches up with the one from the main text but gives many more examples. I've been studying simplified since early January of this year and I'm getting very close to the end. I'm about halfway through chapter 8. Chapter 9 is the end of new material and chapter 10 is all review.

    Even though I have not finished the material, once I made it through lesson 33 I started using it on a daily basis (you can create any word by that time, you just don't have all the shortcuts.) I recently bought a couple used copies of the Gregg Shorthand Dictionary Simplified as a way to double-check my outlines and am correct more often than not.

    I have put a lot of time into this. An hour a day is a good amount of time and has worked well for me. Practice, practice, practice is the thing that has worked for me. It is a beautiful system that has made writing fun but there is a lot to learn.

    I haven't done any speed building yet. At this point I am focused more on accuracy than speed. I plan to use this for quite some time and I figure the time for speed building will come after I feel more confident in all the rules.

    In any case, welcome! I have only been around these parts for a few months, myself.

  3. What I did was get hold of both editions of the normal manual, both editions of the Functional manual, and both editions of the “…for Colleges” manual. Each one presents the same theory[*], of course, but the texts used are not identical, which gives you more reading practise.

    [*] Or nearly the same! One of the manuals happened to be a UK edition, which contains a few minor modifications. Off the top of my head, I can only think of the endings for placenames, which were adapted a bit to what kind of endings are more common in the UK.

    But I also found the “Most Used” book useful.

    Of course, you might not want to hunt down all those different books (and it’s not always easy to tell which edition is being offered), but it’s an idea 🙂

  4. First of all, welcome to the group! In general, I like to divide the study of Gregg into 5 phases: basic theory, dictation, transcription, speed building, and reporting. When Gregg was taught in schools, each phase lasted one semester, which meant 5 hours of class/week at least (not counting the additional homework/dictation laboratory period). So that should give you an idea on how fast you will be able to progress.

    After completing the basic manual, you should be able to write comfortably at least at 60 wpm. That means knowing the theory well and mastering each lesson before proceeding to the next. The second book is usually a dictation book, which will reinforce the theory, present new vocabulary, introduce you to transcription, and give you practice in speed building. You should be able to write close or past the 100 wpm mark by the end of this phase. The transcription phase is where you learn to produce typewritten material based on your dictation notes: unless you will be working in producing documents (such as an administrative assistant) this may be skipped. In the speed building phase, the dictation material will be longer, more challenging with respect to content and at a faster speed, Speed building books usually end at 150-175 wpm, but to get to that level, you need intensive practice. Lastly, the holy grail is the reporting phase. Not everyone is interested in being able to write at reporting speeds (beyond 150 wpm), but there are specific books for that.

    With respect to taking college notes in shorthand, welcome to the club! I did that in my undergraduate and in graduate school, :-).

    Good luck in your studies, and if you have other questions, just post them here.

  5. There are two other books for beginning Simplified (in addition to the Most Used Words and the dictionary) that while they are not essential, they are good for additional practice.

    1. Graded Transcribing Tests in Gregg Shorthand Simplified, by Leslie and Zoubek: This is a workbook with 54 transcription tests, correlated with the lessons in the manual. The tests contain both word lists and paragraphs in shorthand to be transcribed.
    2. Graded Drills in Gregg Shorthand Simplified, by A. E. Klein: This book presents additional reading and dictation material correlated with the Simplified manual. The book can also be used for review purposes after each chapter of the manual has been completed, or as a source of new matter dictation.

  6. Welcome!

    There are dictation files for Simplified Functional Edition 2 on this site.
    Quality varies. They start a few chapters in, at 40wpm through 90 or higher. Until that speed, you can write from the manual (and the sound files would be huge). Early chapters were read by a human and the computer changed the speed. Later chapters are read by the computer.

    Many of the passages, especially early ones, are the same for all the Simplified books. Somewhere there's the start of a comparison chart, and grand plans to crowd-source its completion.

    If you'll do the typing for other editions, it's easy enough to convert text to sound. (Three cheers for marrying a programmer who automated it.)

    The computer voice is good enough for known passages, but frustrating for new material. That's fine, since you shouldn't take new material until you know the theory well. I haven't actually listened to all of them. The last chunk was done in one big chunk and a bit too fast — but it's done. Let me know if there are problems so I can fix them.

    Congrats on your progress! I usually study diligently for a month or two, make good progress, then drift off to another hobby. I'm at 40wpm for new material and 60 for old material, and about half-way through the theory part of the book.

  7. What an awesome resource! I haven't tried writing from dictation yet as I've been so focused on learning the theory and improving accuracy. Once I'm done with that, though, I fully intend to try those audio files out.

    Aside from the pure excitement of learning (which only goes so far) using Todoist has been very helpful in keeping me on track. I created a Shorthand project and then divided it up into chapters. I set 4 tasks per lesson (read, direct copy, transcribe, and test recreating the original from the transcription.) There is just something compelling about ticking off the tasks as I go. There's certainly something to be said for reinforcing a behavior via small, regular, rewards.

  8. I think that when first learning shorthand, one should avoid taking long breaks because the theory will be forgotten and you will have to start all over again to remember things. If you need to take a break, I wouldn't go past a week (and I'm even being too lenient here!). Once you finish theory, you could take a more leisurely approach.

    Just my 2 cents.

  9. Well, all of your "2 cents" seems to be very good advice. Thanks guys! I ordered the dictionary and Most Used Words. I might get other books as I see fit, but for now these will work just fine. I figured in 4 months (about a semester) I could finish the basic manual, putting me at 60 WPM, then another 4 months for dictation, and another 4 for speed building. In short, I should be at my major goal of 150 in a year. This is assuming I'll have enough time to do a whole hour throughout the semester. (I'm taking 14 credit, you see.)

  10. I hear you about checking things off. I've done the same, on a spreadsheet. It even shows word count per paragraph. Every few paragraphs there's a milestone for chapter or passage number or word count, compared to full book or theory.

  11. Also, don't change versions each time you hit a rough spot, even if you're really changing because you realized that system doesn't do what you want. (Too much memory load which you'll forget, not enough confidence in abbreviated outlines, too much time spent spelling out common words. Not enough reading material at current level.)

    Not that I have any experience in the above. 😉

  12. Be aware that your mileage may vary: it may be that after three semesters you will not reach the 150 wpm mark, but say, for example, 120 wpm, which is pretty close. Do not get discouraged: with practice you will be able to write faster with time because you will be able to retain more words in your brain.

    Good luck!

  13. I am so glad to hear this. With a little work I was able to finally order my copy of this book tonight. I am so excited for it to arrive.

    As like you, I've been practicing for about an hour each day myself while I have some downtime during my workday. I am taking it slow through each chapter so I feel 100% confident with the material that is in each section of the chapters. At this point I have taken everybody's advice to not worry about speed during this early on in the learning process. I am confident that with diligent daily practicing and learning the theory that my speed will naturally follow. And there is so much content on this site which will become invaluable once I get further along in my lessons.

    This has been so much fun learning and has always been something I've wanted to learn since I was in high school (though they never offered Gregg at my high school – only Speed Writing which I did take a year of). Just for fun I downloaded a little paint app for my iPhone and sometimes while I'm waiting in line somewhere or whatever I like to pull up the app and start to write words that I've recently learned with my finger – LOL.

    Good night and hope everyone has a great weekend.


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