Yet another pondering of Anni or Simplified

Hi all,

Elsewhere, Carlos asked me:

Do you own any shorthand books already, or are you looking for a series to settle with? I recommend sticking to one series for learning because the principles within a series are interconnected — in fact, that’s how you will be able to write new words, by applying the principles laid out in the specific series. Once you learn a series, then you can mix/match stuff from other series if you want. You’re correct that the beginning of Simplified and Anniversary are very similar because you’re learning the basic alphabet, which is the same in both series, but there will be differences that will be more noticeable as you progress.

I’m a bit torn yet on which series to choose as my foundation. After research I had thought Simplified seemed the best bet; speed potential without sounding scary to learn. I’m not a reporter and don’t want to spend years getting a useful skill; I want to be efficient relatively quickly. (Yeah who doesn’t?) Simplified seemed good enough. At the same time, visions of speed and reading Alice in Gregg-land danced in my head.

I did get the Anni FM set, thanks in part to Carlos’ posts touting the FM method. And a copy of the Anni manual arrived just today. I followed the “get while the getting is good” principle, also figuring that having the Anni reference would be useful for understanding original Gregg principles, and as documentation of the abbrev prncp. (Haha.)

For reference, I can read through lesson 12 in Simplified. I worked through the review chart today in less than the 9 suggested minutes. In the Anni FM I left off with assignment 5 and the story about getting ready for a fair. My Notehand was further along, but I’d say it’s analogous with where I am in Simplified, although easier to read  — presumably due to including more letters in outlines. Or maybe just more entertaining material. 🙂

So… I am about to jettison Notehand for a while. I like the book and its practice material has been invaluable, but I don’t want to develop “lengthy” writing habits. A copy of Simplified FM that I requested from the library almost two weeks ago is finally awaiting my pickup. I’d hoped to compare that to the Anni FM to see which I’d prefer (in terms of content).

I have a good memory, so memory load doesn’t phase me so much as whether it will take two years to have a non-vocational skill that is barely usable. Of course, I already own the named Anni books that could probably fill those two years…

Sigh. Well, I wanted to address Carlos’ questions from my intro posting and it seemed appropriate to give them their own topic. I know this isn’t a new subject of discussion, but I welcome current members’ thoughts, which could differ from the older posts on this subject.



11 comments Add yours
    1. The material in the Simplified FM manual (FMM) and regular method manuals is practically the same. There may be some additional letters, but if you have the regular Simplified manual, it gives you an idea of what to expect with the FMM. The most noticeable difference is the key in the back.

    2. If the content is largely the same, and I am getting by without the key, it doesn't sound like I'd really need the FM manual to supplement the regular manual. The main place where I'd like to have the key is for some of the proper names, such as Mr. or Miss Dix (I think). I think any other outlines that stumped me initially were later puzzled out, as others have posted here with their Simplified experiences.

      I think I'd want the regular manual regardless, as I like a rules reference available. 🙂

      I have yet to purchase any Simplified books as I'm still using library books (regular manual and Most Used Words). So I could get the FM book. I just don't want to get it for duplicate content. The Anni FM manuals have lots of reading, and it sounds like the Simplified FM manual is also going to be slim in comparison to even one volume of the former.

  1. You can't go wrong with either Simplified or Anniversary for that matter. The main issue with Anniversary is that there's much more to memorize, and for that reason, you need much more practice (reading and writing), so be prepared for that. But a lot of people have switched from Simplified to Anniversary, so you're not the only one.

  2. For me it was a fairly straightforward decision. I have very little intention of recording spoken conversations (although I am finding note taking during meetings to be handier than I thought). My speed requirement is simple: I want to be able to write as fast as, or faster, than I can type (70-80wpm). Simplified fits the bill.

    Personally, I'd rather make a decision and stick with it than spend time figuring out which is "the best." I am a strong believer in the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good." In other words, I'd rather pick something and become good at it, than waste time waffling back and forth between systems, trying to figure out which one to go with. (Also, I didn't worry so much about finding the "perfect" manual to learn from… and yet I'm still progressing quite nicely.) I'm sure I would've done fine with Anni, but I've also had a really great time building up my skill in Simplified. I have no regrets and a lot of pride in my progress thus far.

    Just my 2c.

    1. That's exactly the point: make a decision and stick with it. Once you're done with the manual, you can write however you want, but while learning, stick with one version. And with Simplified you can still write very fast.

  3. Thank you both for your comments.

    I wasn't looking for perfect, so much as the best fit for me. Like getting new shoes. I dislike shoe shopping because nothing seems to fit right, but when I find a comfy pair of shoes, I will wear them out.

    Realistically, I suspect even Notehand would fill my needs. I want to be able to take notes and write journals, and possibly even write fictional prose. I need to be able to write technical terms, and be able to decipher my writing at a later date, even when words are not in a context. For example, if I write up a list of objectives or even a to-do list, I may not have the same contextual clues available as a verbatim reporter or in a story with full sentences.

    I think that latter is going to be more important than writing speed. If I really wanted to, I could type everything, faster than my shorthand will likely ever be. (I don't know my speed but I've been touch typing on a computer for 29 years.) But I am looking for the handwritten option that is good for me, and that I can realistically learn.

    So far it seems like I'd best continue with Simplified, then consider upgrading later.

    The early Anni FM material also threw me with its old-time tales of the country fair. I wasn't expecting to read about canning chicken, for example, so the context doesn't always provide a good hint for modern day me. 🙂

  4. I wanted to share my progress with Simplified. I have been working up to lesson 18, which contains the first reading scoreboard, based on reading three fables. The minimum time rated is 15 min, for 25 wpm. I completed these in 12 min! There were couple of words that gave me trouble and of course it feels halting to me. But it was encouraging to me to have that ranking.

  5. Thanks, Carlos.

    In related news I got a copy of the Simplified dictionary today. I'm glad to have it. I've looked up words before in the Anni pdf dictionary, and a library copy of Most Used Words Simplified. So I think a proper dictionary will be useful.

    It's in pretty good shape. I think the pages as a whole seem almost loose — the covers have a sort of give that allows them to shift up or down a little, although the pages don't seem loose.

    As a bibliophile it's hard to make allowances for these older books. 🙂 It's also cold and damp today, and I'm not convinced it didn't get some moisture exposure in transit. This year's mailman has made deliveries — especially of books — frustrating at times.

    At any rate, I am also happy to learn that I've been writing my first name correctly according to the dictionary.

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