I read that 600 words make up 90 percent of the words we speak in the English language. Is the key to learning Gregg learning these 600 words?
Previous post: [ early Gregg magazine The Light-Liner is online ]
Next post: [ Using Dot/Grid Paper to Learn Proportions? ]
In my opinion, the key to learning Gregg is reading a lot of well written shorthand material. The more you read, the easier and more natural it becomes.
According to a post I saw elsewhere on the internet, Louis A. Leslie's mother learned how to read shorthand so she could read letters that he sent to her written in Gregg, but she didn't try to learn how to write it. She would respond to his letters in longhand.
After about a year of reading his letters she discovered that she could write shorthand. She just picked up a pen and wrote back to him in Gregg, according to the anecdote, even though she had never done any writing practice or penmanship drills.
If true, this anecdote supports the theory that reading shorthand is supremely important in learning to write it.
I thought that figure was actually somewhere in the 2-3,000 word range. I came across this when researching language learning techniques: http://www.lingholic.com/how-many-words-do-i-need-to-know-the-955-rule-in-language-learning-part-2/
I fully agree with Carlos. With shorthand, it isn't so much about learning individual words. The more exposure you get to the material, the more your brain picks up the patterns. There are words, but then there are also the general abbreviating principles (prefixes, suffixes, omitting vowels, phrasing, etc) and the way the marks are connected. Phrasing, in particular, is pretty cool, because you can say things like "in the past" with only "npas." It seems pretty complicated at first, but the brain is an amazing tool and the more chances it has to see patterns, the more natural the whole thing becomes. And, really, you're not learning new words, so much as a different way of writing existing ones.
I remember the first time I recognized an outline without having to read it. It was the word drive. It was one of those really cool moments of learning. Now it is pretty rare for me to get caught up on any particular word or phrase (though it does occasionally happen with some that I rarely see) but that is because I have read a fair amount of material.
Eventually, the "what is this word?" gets replaced by "why didn't the writer phrase this whole series of words?" Phrasing is one of those things that when someone knows it very well, it's a real time saver!
I suspect that far fewer than "600 words" make up the majority of our normal daily language usage. But the important thing about shorthand isn't learning individual words, but learning the principles of the system . . . of course certain words become "sight" words–i.e., you recognize them as a whole, based on their outline and frequency–but fluency in writing depends on being able to construct the outlines for the infrequent words that occur ALLTHE TIME in spoken English. "I like this book very much, but it is extraordinarily hard to find" . . . all of that is easy, except for "extraordinarily", and you have to know the principles to write the outline.
Thanks for your responses. Carlos, are you saying that Gregg students should attempt to read shorthand in books as much as possible?
If the material in books is graded and correlated with the lessons in the manual, by all means yes. In the learning phase, concentrate on the lesson principles and read the graded material assigned for each lesson, and those lessons need to be read like one reads a book. If you have a supplementary book that is graded and correlated with the lessons of the manual (for example, Gregg Speed Studies for Anniversary), read the material from that book as well. Learners can also read the graded material that is posted here in the blog for extra practice. Once the theory is completed, read as much as you can, from different sources (like the articles in the blog or other books).
According to the Anni Preface: In the Anniversary edition these twenty [most common] words are presented in the first chapter. Moreover, the matter presented in this chapter gives the student a writing power tat will enable him to write 42 percent of the running words in non-technical English, as well as many hundreds of other words."
A fraction of a second every other word makes a big difference.
However, a second's delay with every 10th word also makes a big difference.
Once you get into specialized material, it changes again. I would never abbreviate Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, but court reporters would. On the other hand, they might not abbreviate frozen vegetables.