Question about writing process when copying lessons

Hi all,

When doing my writing practice, I tend now to look at each outline and write it as I go. I find that the constant reference aids my confidence and ability to produce accurate outlines. (I do “write” rather than “draw.”) Both the Simplified and Notehand manuals say to read a convenient number of word or outlines and then write them. Is my way less effective, then?

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

26 comments Add yours
  1. Since you're starting to write, writing one outline at a time is normal: you're still learning how to correctly join the letters and it gives you confidence. However, once you know how to join the letters, you should start writing in groups of words. In that way, you will be building your ability to retain words while writing or taking dictation. One thing you should also be doing is sounding out words, especially brief forms — in doing so, you will be memorizing the outlines.

    1. Makes sense. Thank you.

      I can write some outlines and phrases automatically, but new and complex (for me) words like "association" don't roll off the pen. 🙂

      I find sounding the words very helpful in general, and I think I tackle writing in terms of syllables as I'm thinking through an outline. I'll have to check myself when I write. I still like to sound some familiar or recognized words as I read them. It helps me solidify them further. Today I reviewed all of the Simplified lessons that I've already been through, sounding out some more complex words even if I recognized them. (This was reading practice, not writing.)

    2. Also, with the first lessons, it is much more important to read the shorthand fluently than to write it. Writing comes from the brain to the pen, not from the hand to the pen, so the more you read, the more your brain gets used to transcribing shorthand. Sounding out words helps to train the brain to recognize the words and the correct way to join characters, eventually making the transfer of the outline to the pen an automatic reflex, just like writing longhand. This is the basis of the functional method of teaching shorthand, in which students do not write a single outline until Lesson 21.

    3. That's why I got those Anni FM manuals originally. They, and Anni in general, offer more reading material. Including a Halloween piece that I saw you post here; which is appealing with Halloween coming up. 🙂 I'm still working the Simplified (regular) manual though.

      In Simplified, do practice and later lessons eventually make it clear when to use left or right s, and when to omit vowels? Does it take time — and reading practice — to sink in? While outlines make sense when I am reading them, I sometimes write or even mentally picture how I would write various words, which aren't always ones I've come across. Many times I would do the "wrong" outline when I look it up later, because I use the wrong s or add vowels that apparently aren't needed. Interestingly, it seems like several of these s-words show up in the Lesson 6 section of 5000 Most Used Words reference book.

    4. Yes. Later on they will explain when to use which s. It is one of those quirks of the Simplified and later manuals. In the earlier manuals, they tell you right away which one goes with which stroke. Also, you'll get used to the minor vowel sounds. That's why it is important not to write any other words that are not covered in the manual or in the Most Used Words and Phrases book for Simplified (the 5000 book is for Anniversary).

    5. Ah, yes, I remember that early confusion about which s to use. Two things helped: the lesson where they explained the rules (although those don't cover every combination, such as which s to use between r and n, as in "person") and simple exposure to lots of outlines.

      As far as the vowels go (and other things I struggled with), I used to guess wrong on a lot of outlines, which was frustrating. Somewhere along the line, however, things just started to click and now I'm correct far more often than not. Exposure and practice are your best friends here.

    6. Mystic Moon: I recently did that lesson which talks about when to use the left r right s, before and after certain letters. It was in a review lesson. I'd hoped for a more guiding principle, rather than rote memorization that apparently doesn't cover all cases. So I'm not worrying about it, and letting time (hopefully) do it's magic as I progress.

      There is an older comment here somewhere that I saw, which gave a more generalized principle related to where s was in a word/syllable. It was late and I bookmarked it when I saw it; I haven't tested that principle's accuracy yet.

  2. I wanted to ask about sounding versus spelling and since Carlos mentioned sounding here, This seems like a good place.

    The books talk about reading an unfamiliar outline by spelling it, which I did at first, but I naturally gravitated to sounding it out rather than naming letters. Is that a normal practice?

    I also find myself "chunking" letters by reviewing outlines in terms of syllables when I'm reviewing them and want to ensure they are cemented in my mind.

    Are these good habits compared to spelling out letter names one at a time? They seem to be working for me, regardless. 🙂

  3. I think "sounding out" is just as effective as spelling. Some of the shorthand characters have specific names (such as "gay" for the hard g sound, and "oo" for the oo-hook, etc.). So spelling out in traditional shorthand classes was done as "kay ee gay, keg". I don't see any learning advantage to doing it that way as opposed to sounding out phonetically.

  4. I got my own copy of the Simplified manual. Specifically, the FM manual. It is indeed much like the regular manual, although the key is going to be useful. And I like the way each principle introduces several words, that I don't think show up in the regular manual until in the actual reading practice.

    I was quickly reviewing the lessons from the beginning, as a refresher and to look for new reading material. I noticed some small changes such as John Fox in Phoenix becoming John Cox; and a couple of business letters that weren't in the regular manual.

    However after several review lessons/assignments from the beginning, it's quite tedious to review everything, just to find occasional new reading practice. I think I'm going to just pick up with the same lesson I'm on in the regular manual, and only review the more recent assignments per my usual approach.

    Incidentally, I'm at review assignment 24, which keeps me in the writing section of FM. And I just noticed that the FM book doesn't include the pen drills of the regular manual, which start at about my current assignment.

    1. Just pick up where you left off. You can always review everything again once you complete the manual.

      The penmanship drills are not part of the FM book in any of the series. Since with the FM students are never taught rules, the intention is that they would learn to write by reading and copying large amounts of well-written shorthand, and, as a consequence, their penmanship will eventually improve.

  5. I made it to (and through half of) lesson 31 today. According to manual, I have covered the alphabet and could construct a satisfactory outline for any word on the English language if I had to. Hooray!

    While I may be able to construct any outline, they are not always "dictionary correct." I know that it's been said — by Dr. Gregg, I believe — that the litmus test is basically whether one's transcription is ultimately accurate. But I can't help wanting to write dictionary-correctly.

    When it comes to unfamiliar words, I still have trouble with the correct s. I may add or omit vowels compared to official outlines — where "official" means according to my Simplified dictionary. I might construct something with an MN and an ND where I use the wrong blends due to mentally grouping the wrong syllables around vowels. (I can't recall my example word so sorry if that one makes no sense.)

    On the plus side, I get more words correct than I used to. 🙂

    Also, can someone suggest the correct way to write "kisses?" My best guess is k-e-left s-right s. Similar to the brief form for "necessary."

    1. I can't see a way to insert a picture into a reply here . . . odd. Anyhow, in the lesson where "ses" is introduced, both Simplified and DJS show an example of the word "cases" which is structured the same way, just with an a instead of an e. Paragraph 26 in the first edition Simplified manual, paragraph 30 in the second edition.

  6. Thanks Lee. The cases example helped a lot. I was thinking the e went on the back of the k rather than inside. :p So the theory would be that the k-right s make a curve instead of an angle, putting the circle inside the curves. And the right s is used because it's after k at the beginning of the word (simplified lesson 18; 2nd Ed para 156)?

    Random related question: if "comma s is used at beginning and ending of words before and after f, v, k and g," what happens in the middle of a word? Does this imply that these letters are the first or last consonant sound In a word?

    1. In the middle of words, there are three rules, depending if there is a circle vowel next to the s or not.

      1. If there is a circle vowel before the s, treated the s as if it belongs to the previous consonant
      2. If there is a circle vowel after the s, treat the s as if it belongs to the next consonant
      3. If there is no circle, write the s with the syllable it belongs.


      Rule 1. cast, guest, vast, taste
      (right s for the first three, left s for the last one)

      Rule 2: ransack, decimate, beset, concert
      (right s for the first three, left s for the last one)

      Rule 3: grandson, ransom, Pittsfield
      (right s for the first two, left s for the last one)

      For your reference, the rules of s are very well explained in Unit 5 of the Anniversary manual. You can read them here.

  7. A quick question: why does "finance" use the small loop rather than the broken circle for the long "i" sound? I realize this while writing FM 330 this morning.

    Maybe I forgot a rule or my brain isn't awake at 7am.

    Thanks in advance. 🙂

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