Gregg happenings at school

Today I asked one of the secretaries at school to let me know the answer to the question I asked her, so an hour later she sent up a “Secret note” and when I read it I giggled like an idiot. She signed it like this

I couldn’t help but notice she wrote d-a-n instead of d-i-a-n (and her n looks more like an m) but that doesn’t really matter. I’m sure she just did it to make me smile and that’s exactly what it did. 😀

Earlier in the day, I went into the teacher that knows Gregg’s classroom (Let’s just call her Mrs. W) and wrote “Brenna is here” on the white board. I went in a bit later to ask her if she liked my note and she said “I could not decipher it.” I said “Seriously? and you know shorthand!?” her reply was “You’re really just supposed to be able to read your own shorthand.”

Now I’m pretty sure she learned S90 (I think she would’ve learned it between 78-83 ish) and I’m learning DJS; but are they really that different? I’m confused.

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    1. It's odd, cause last year she was writing our names on the board in Gregg. We were doing review activities on small white boards and I was writing random things in Japanese. She saw that and said "I can write shorthand!" And started writing it.

  1. Some versions of shorthand are customized from Day 1. I used to correspond with a TeeLine teacher, and she was shocked when I suggested putting up seasonal songs.

    Textbook Gregg can be read years later.

    Like longhand, some writers are neater. However, unlike longhand, there isn't as much redundant information. If a Gregg writer messes up a line, he might be sunk. If a longhand writer messes up half the lines in a word, he still has a good chance of reading it. So, Gregg writers tend to be neater.

    Even so, high speed writing can drift. Writers create their own shortcuts appropriate to their work. Their idea of "long" vs "short" will be different. NG and NGK strokes from one book (IIRC Graded Readings) look like N and M from another (IIRC Speed Drills — back from my Anni attempt). Each writer was consistent with himself, so it was an accent rather than a mistake.

  2. I've heard that "no one else can read your notes" garbage for years. I hate hearing that lame excuse!

    With good penmanship and adherence to theory, there is no reason to not be able to read another's outlines. Court reports of years back had note readers. Sure, some outlines were occasionally wrong but context would help.

    I'll get off my soap box now. . . .

    1. I had a great aunt who learned pre-Anni in school and was still writing letters back and forth to her childhood friends in shorthand until she passed away in the late 1970s.

      One of Dr. Gregg's fondest hopes was that shorthand would eventually become an important medium of communication. He mentioned how they used it regularly in the Gregg Publ. Co., in interoffice memos and such.

    2. I think it's like longhand. I can write neatly enough for anyone to read, and so fast/messy that I need to transcribe it within hours (shorthand will eventually help there), and anywhere in between. With Gregg, the speed where you have to make a choice between legibility and just getting it down is much higher than with longhand.

    3. It's a worthy point that what's true for longhand is often true for shorthand, and this is a good case in point. We all know folks whose handwriting is nearly illegible, sometimes even to the writer. Certainly this would apply to shorthand, though as Cricket notes it may vary by degree depending on the writing speed, and also due to the nature of the writing itself (see note #2 above.)

      Another example is the proper spelling of unfamiliar words–though I think in this case shorthand has an edge given its more phonetic approach. English longhand has lots of silent letters and other peculiarities. I think we're more likely to get the textbook shorthand outline right the first time we see an unfamiliar word than the proper longhand spelling, but the principle applies.

  3. Another thing: The teacher probably writes her name often. She probably doesn't write "D-A-M" often at all. It's an appropriate shortcut for her, although I hope she doesn't work with Dan. Maybe her N-M-MN lines are all longer than standard. As long as she's consistent, it will work.

    1. So her penmanship has … drifted.

      Many professional shorthand reporters either transcribed the notes themselves, or worked with a small number of transcribers. Secretaries probably transcribed their own, right onto the typewriter. I remember one story about a long, important discussion, think it was a legal case, where the stenographers took shifts. They'd record for a time, then go read it out loud to _two_ typists.

  4. Then there's the stylistic differences between writers, even from the Gregg canon.

    When I ordered the Gregg Simplified Dictionary, the bookseller sent me the 1949 Gregg Simplified Functional Method by mistake. It's a good manual and worth having for the extra reading material, but after making it 2/3 of the way through Gregg Shorthand for Colleges, I'm not liking Zoubek's shorthand. Rader seems much clearer to me, and his hand is always proportional.

    I have an example where Zoubek writes "provide" (p-r v i d) "funds" (f n-d s) so that the "f" in "funds" is the same size as the "v" in the preceding word. Stopped me cold while I tried to figure out why he had written "vends".

    And he does this kind of thing all throughout the manual. His "x" stroke is way to close to "k", (so "tax" looks like "take"), his "m" and "n" aren't always distinct and he doesn't always make his m-n blends longer than his "m". I can read his hand, usually because I can decipher the word in context but I spend a lot of time getting annoyed with him.

    When it's time for me to start copying and writing, I'll be modelling Rader, not Zoubek.

    1. The style differences are very noticeable. Rader's writing is very regular. Not only the strokes are uniform, but even the spacing between words is very even, which in regular writing it doesn't happen. I wonder if that was some standard that was adopted for the Simplified and later books.

      I think Zoubek's writing is more "real world", if you ask me. I have some samples of Rader writing Anniversary, and it doesn't look like the Simplified and later books he wrote — it looks more like Zoubek's writing.

    2. Indeed, I'm getting schooled on some of that "real world" writing of Mr. Zoubek, as I'm about 1/3 through Functional Method Dictation. I find it easy to read actually, but I'm glad to have learned from Mrs. Richmond's outlines which really are the ideal, the "quintessential." When you're writing at speed, I suppose you'll depart from it significantly, but at least you know what it is you're departing from.

      I notice also that Mr. Zoubek occasionally departs from the dictionary spellings. For example, when he writes "year(s)" standing alone, he just uses the regular "e" rather than the loop.

      And as much as FMD is phrase-intensive, he even misses a standard phrase here and there. But it is definitely great stuff!

    3. I just checked the Simplified Dictionary and you are quite right. It makes sense that e-r should be "year" (standing alone.) The context would make it clear. The Anni outline had a loop instead of an "e" and is certainly less efficient to write.

      This is an interesting case where the Simplified outline was actually more faster than the Anni outline. But it's not the first time. I've noticed a few cases where an Anni outline was actually more efficient than a Pre-Anni outine. I mean, is it really more efficient to write "customer" with a disjoined "r"?

      I just found it a little odd that an Anni text would depart from the standard outline.

  5. Responding to 5.c, even though the FM Dictation book was designed to follow the basic manual, going from the basic or FM manual to the FM Dictation book is a big leap, not only because of the additional phrasing and vocabulary, but the shorthand outlines look like written at a nice pace, deviating sometimes from the artistic standards that Mrs. Richmond used in the FM Manual. This can overwhelming for some, especially in self-studying. That is one of the reasons I recommend studying Shorthand Dictation Studies by Wallace Bowman just after the basic manual: the book introduces new vocabulary, but is still written with the same artistic style as the basic manual, so you only worry about learning new words and will not get the shock of having to decipher both the vocabulary and the writing. The good thing is that if you can read the FM dictation book, you can probably read any other Anniversary shorthand book with very little difficulty.

    1. I have Mr. Bowman's book and I agree that's an excellent recommendation. (It also has a great word and phrase index.) The outlines would make a good transitional step–do we know who wrote the shorthand plates for that book?

      I suppose the reason I adjusted to Mr. Zoubek's outlines so easily was that I had spent so much time carefully studying the beginner texts, some of them multiple times.

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