Technical Minutiae

(1) Charles Rader’s proportions

If one were to scan a page from the Notehand manual (such as page 31 from the 1st edition) at 300 pixels per inch, the height of each box in which Mr Rader drew his glyphs would be exactly 100 pixels (from the top of one line to the top of the next line).

This provides a very convenient way to digitally measure the proportions of his characters. For example the heights of his s, f, and v are 28, 54, and 87 respectively (in those particular instances of the characters). The widths of his n, m, r and l are 53, 90, 66, 120 (plus or minus 2 pixels on each measurement).

(2) v-l blend?

Refresher Course in Gregg Shorthand Simplified, page 44: that v-l (9th GS glyph on the page) looks like a blend. The v-l junction I see in the Dictionary (in “hovel”) has a sharper angle at the intersection.

Is there any technical reason to include or exclude v-r and v-l blends from the official repertoire of blends?

(3) what kind of curves?

Is there terminology to specify the shape and depth of the curves such as l and v? Are they actually segments of a symmetrical ellipse as seen in the Gregg logo? It seems to me these glyph curves might actually be segments of a somewhat egg-shaped ellipse or fragments of parabolas. Uncertain.

(4) wpm?

Obviously some words are longer than others. In stenography, what is meant by words per minute? Does it correspond to a certain number of phonemes or syllables per minute?

While trying to Google up an answer I brushed against these interesting quotations:

“For the twenty-five radio speakers, whose rates he analyzed, the average was 238 syllables per minute and 162 words per minute with a ratio of 1.48 between syllables and words.” (source: Rate and variation in rate in selected school broadcasts, 1940).

“While speech rate data for Asian languages are not highlighted in the literature, Laver (1994) notes that the range of speech rate for Spanish is from 276 to 420 syllables per minute (pp. 541–542). This is fast compared to the 270 to 300 syllables per minute for English…” (source: Formulaic Language and Second Language Speech Fluency, 2010)

3 comments Add yours
  1. (1) This is better than what I tried, which was to increase the size of various PDFs to “really big” and then measure them with a ruler held against the computer screen; this resulted in extreme frustration as I had no spare hand to write down the measurements.

    (2) If you look at what Dr Gregg says about a ‘v nt’ blend, that may help answer your question: Qs and As, number 184: http://greggshorthand.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/the-q-and-of-shorthand-theory.html

    (3) Don’t know.

    (4) I’ve read somewhere that in Gregg Shorthand a standard word is treated as being 1.4 syllables; I can’t find the source, so may be wrong.

  2. Gregg strokes are derived from the ellipse (or as he called them, "the ovals").

    In English Gregg Shorthand, the convention is to use 1.4 syllable as the length of a standard word, so all dictation material is counted based on that. In Spanish Gregg, since words are longer, they mark texts based on a standard length of 2 syllables/word. Here is a post explaining it.

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