Notehand and Speed

I wondered about the speed limitation of Notehand, and whether it is as bad as reputed to be.

Although I’ve settled on Simplified for now, I still like to use the Notehand book for additional reading practice. Much better stuff than, “A girl doesn’t have to be a beauty to get ahead in business.” 🙂 I stick within the same level of lessons as I’m on in Simplified, and don’t have too much trouble reading the Notehand. I find this especially useful when I have trouble absorbing a new principle in Simplified. For example, learning the NT and ND blends seems to benefit from that extra reinforcement.

I can see the differences between Notehand and Simplified. For example, Notehand alots one word only to its brief forms, whereas Simplified (and others) may have two or three words. The o is not written sideways. “That” is th-a-t; “they” is th-a; and words tend to use some more letters. One that I particularly notice is picture. In Simplified: p-c-t-r. In Notehand: p-i-c-t-r. (Side question: should I write that as “e” instead of “i”?) Interestingly enough, I actually think that extra vowel makes it easier to write.
I know people have talked about DJS and later removing some blends. As mentioned, I’m currently on the NT/ND blend lessons, so evidently Notehand has some of those. How much they drop, I’m not learned enough to know yet. I have skimmed the book before, and it does get into vowel omissions, and various word beginnings and endings. I’m not sure if this is the same as analogical endings, that I’ve seen on this blog.
So in summary, Notehand has 42 brief forms which seem to be one word each; a little more writing; and presumably fewer esoteric principles, compared to Simplified in particular. I’m curious to know the differences between Notehand and DJS then, or even Series 90. The DJS comparison is intriguing since Notehand preceded it.
Is Notehand really that slow, then? Compared to, say, DJS which I assume it’s more closely related to?
7 comments Add yours
  1. Well, how fast or slow depends on what you want to do. Notehand is not slow for note taking, but it would be slow for dictation. With Simplified and Anniversary it is expected that after finishing the manual, students can write comfortably at 60 wpm. My sense is that with the simplifications in theory in Notehand, the relatively small number of briefs, and the lack of dictation practice, you'll be sweating after writing 60 wpm. I believe that in the long run, those extra strokes required to write words accumulate and can delay writing — but, as they say, your mileage may vary.

    About the DJS speed, I know DJS writers that can write 175 wpm after many years of practice (and with the use of additional shortcuts/brief forms!). And if you know your theory and practice diligently, you can write at decent speeds (at 100 wpm or better) with DJS.

    DJS and S90 are very similar, but they differ in some aspects, most notably that most brief forms in S90 represent only one word (as in Notehand). Other differences include changes in the outlines of some brief forms and the elimination of some rules: for example, the rule about the h dot for wh- was eliminated, and a word ending (-sume) and a word beginning (post-) were deleted, and some brief forms were dropped. Other than that, the two systems are very close. However, in spite of these "small" differences, they proved detrimental to S90, as students were not able to write as fast as they were able with DJS. Perhaps a fault of the system or perhaps a difference in student ability, shorthand teachers eventually dumped S90 in favor of alphabetic systems in which students were able to take dictation at the same speed, without the "burden" of learning the Gregg alphabet. By the time Centennial came along, dictation/tape recorders were the norm, and even though the system was improved from S90 in some respects (including theory and presentation of principles), the interest in Gregg had already waned. Very few schools/colleges adopted Centennial Gregg and shorthand classes were beginning to get axed.

    Lastly, in Notehand, "picture" would be p-e-k-t-r (e for e-circle, i is the ai circle). There is no "c" in Gregg, :-).

    1. Dangnabit re: "picture!" Lol. At least you knew what I meant.

      And yes, I did mean the e circle, although I swear I saw a post where people had written the intended vowel to indicate the word… maybe I remembered wrongly. So to correct myself: p-e-k-t-r versus p-k-t-r. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing those differences between Notehand and the later series. If you don't mind sharing, how long have you been using Gregg, and did you ever teach it? Your knowledge of the theory of each seems very through, even for a studious enthusiast.

    2. Sure. I learned Gregg on my own, a few months before starting college, as a way to improve my note taking skills. My aunt was a legal secretary — she knew Gregg backwards and forwards (she learned Anniversary) — so if I had a question, I would ask her. I used it throughout college & grad school. Although I had been always fascinated by it, it was until I started working when I took the time to really study it and polish the skill in my spare time. I think I've been writing for at least 25 years, if not more. I've never taught it, but I think I could, :-).

    3. I suspect you could. You seem to know the theory well! And 25 years must produce good penmanship. 🙂

      I'd like to contribute reading material here, but my penmanship is not good enough. I can read it, but I don't know about the general shorthand public. But I only have two months of study, tops. (I don't recall my exact start date, but it seems like a long time already.) Some day!

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