30 comments Add yours
  1. You're very welcome! Thanks for all you do with this blog! I've only just joined, but I'm loving it already. What a great resource! I'm learning so much and finding so many ways to learn and to keep in practice here. So thank YOU!

  2. I previously published a series on personal notetaking on Youtube. My approach was influenced by the Notehand books, and I used Gregg's 1888 pamphlet as the text. At the time I put it together I had not seen Greghand or this Teacher's Guide to Notehand. Those two texts filled in a lot of missing information and validated to some degree the approach I used.

    Of particular interest is the discussion in the teacher's guide on the detriment of learning to take dictation and "shorthand theory" in the development of a personal notetaking style. Also facinating is the reference to more than a quarter century (the time since the publication of Greghand) of experimentation wtih these teaching methods, and also the statements that stenographers generally don't use their skills for personal uses, because of the mental efforts involved.

    I summarized the points that stood out to me, and the implications for the student learning for personal notetaking, in a YouTube video. Here it is. https://youtu.be/OdganuVcsas I am interested in comments and counterpoints. Again, Teri, I extend my thanks for making this rare text available.

    1. Speaking from experience, when I take notes I pay attention to what the person is saying, but I'm writing down in Gregg. If your comprehension time is long — in other words, if it takes a long time from listening something to understanding it — then this becomes the slowest step in the process. In my case, my notes are "quasi verbatim", because I can process information very quickly. The advantage of knowing a regular series of Gregg vs. Notehand or Greghand in this case is that your writing speed will be much higher (if you know the theory backwards and forwards). But if the time that it takes to comprehend something is too long than you lag behind what the lecturer is saying, then I don't think any form of shorthand will help — you need to learn first how to take notes! However, I agree that in general for pure notetaking, either one of those two (Greghand or Notehand) should suffice.

  3. I just found a great quote from Dr. Gregg (on this blog – Thanks guys!) that illuminates the comments in the teacher's guide.

    from The evolution of Gregg Shorthand , by John Robert Gregg in The Gregg Writer, June 1931

    “To understand the division of the system into two parts (here Gregg speaks of the first two 1888 pamphlets), the purpose of the author must be kept in mind, as expressed in the first sentence of the preface of the first edition: ''A great and increasing demand for a simple, rapid, and perfectly legible phonetic handwriting for general use has led to the invention of Light-Line Phonography.'' The purpose, it will be seen, was not so much the production of a superior system of shorthand for commercial or reporting purposes as a simplified form of brief writing "for general use." Hence the first pamphlet was intended for that purpose, and the second pamphlet was intended to provide abbreviations for those who desired to use shorthand for· business or reporting work. While it is true that the closing paragraph of the Preface declared that it was not merely a simple system but one "rapid enough to reproduce verbatim the fastest oratory," the dominant thought was "a shorthand for general use.” I clung to that idea tenaciously until it became clear that the only way in which I could earn a livelihood was by teaching shorthand for business purposes.
    In yielding to this necessity. I did so with the thought that, when the system had demonstrated its superiority for commercial work and reporting, its value would be more readily recognized as a time- and labor-saving accomplishment. Through all the subsequent years, absorbed and enmeshed as I have been with the details of a constantly expanding movement and organization, I have looked forward to the time when it would be possible to return to my original purpose by inaugurating a campaign for the use of shorthand by everybody who had much writing to do. It has been a source of profound regret to me that time after time the pressure of other things has resulted in the postponement of such a campaign. It will come some day! The ever-increasing pressure of the times will render it inevitable.”

    1. I never realized Gregg originally created his method for everyday use, that the business-slant came later. That is quite interesting. I'm surprised Greghand or Notehand didn't catch on more. I think it could even resurrect Gregg today. It'll take a new kind of group to breathe life and use into it again. Who knows, maybe it'll catch on with homeschoolers.

      I had posted in another thread the following from "A Tutor to Tachygraphy, or, Short-writing (1642) & Tachygraphy (1647)" by Thomas Shelton (a reprint from 1970 by the Augustan Reprint Society):

      (From the preface, written by Will Matthews) "Nowadays, shorthand is a humble art indeed; even secretaries tend to scorn it. But in Restoration days, it was the delight of intellectuals of the highest calibre. The new Royal Society was soon to devote a fair amount of time to it; some of the Society's most brilliant members, Wilkins, Hartlibb, Hooke, and others, were to adopt it for their universal languages; scholars as eminent as Tillotson, Newton, Holder and Locke used it for a variety of purposes. Indeed, how high was its reputation among men of learning is evident from the fact that a Latin edition of Shelton's method was published in 1660. . . . "

      To think shorthand was once a serious subject at the university level for intellectuals!

    2. I was in grad school at the main campus of the University of Missouri in the 1970s, and shorthand was still being taught. I have a complete set of the Series 90 manuals that I bought at the University book store when they were brand new.

      I'm sure it was being taught to prepare business teachers to teach it at the high school level.

  4. Here is a most interesting post from 2007 in which a gentleman who took college notes commercially for 10 years speaks about his Gregg shorthand.

    http://greggshorthand.blogspot.ae/2007/08/notes-seeking-information-about-please.html?m=0

    He says his shorthand is most similar to the original 1888 version, with the addition of some standardized prefixes and suffixes. He emphasizes consistency in spelling syllables alike that sound alike.

    He was looking for a copy of Greg Notehand. Apparently he had reached similar conclusions via his own decade of practice.

  5. Just my opinion: A good way to construct a personal note-taking version of Gregg would be to extract a subset of Simplified or Diamond Jubilee. Just take one of those mainstream versions of Gregg, reduce the number of brief forms to two dozen or three dozen (without changing their meanings or the way they are used in phrasing at all); tell teachers to overlook abnormal joinings and allow students to write any word in longhand if they can't think of the shorthand outline at the moment.

    The advantages are, students could (easily?) upgrade to the mainstream version of Gregg later if they wanted, and with a little bit of straining they could probably read articles written in Simplified or DJ.

    1. I agree that Notehand is close to being a subset of Diamond Jubilee but I'm objecting to the differences in the brief forms. If I recall correctly *n* only represents "in" in Notehand, it does not stand for "not," and there are also differences in the brief form meanings of the s, t, r and l strokes. I suppose these differences would make some Diamond Jubilee phrases hard for Notehand users to figure out. Not insurmountable.

      I wonder if the authors of Notehand ever published their thoughts on how and why they chose their brief forms and word beginnings & endings.

    2. Aah, I see what you mean. Yes, in DJ the "n" represents "in" and "not" I checked the 1888 version and it's the same as DJ, too. I do find it a pain to spell out "not"… I originally learned DJ so that's the one I tend to gravitate to. I guess there's nothing wrong with "cherry-picking" brief forms and phrases and such, to make a system more user-friendly for the note-taker.

      I, too, would be fascinated to know the authors' thoughts about how they chose their brief forms for Notehand. How often do you use the word "opportunity" in your every day writing, as just one example of a word they selected for their handful of Notehand brief forms. It seems they could have chosen a word that is more frequently used for a brief form instead.

      One thing that makes me nuts is how Notehand uses the "m" rather than the longer "men" stroke for words that have "-ment" in them, like "agreement" and "arrangement"… seems to me the "men" stroke would make more sense, but maybe that's just me.

      By the way, I'm currently creating a Notehand dictionary as I work through the lessons with my son, since there never was a Notehand dictionary published. It won't have shorthand, just the textual spelling of every single word/brief form/phrase used in Notehand, with the page # it can be found on. A glorified index with shorthand "spelling," if you will. I'm about halfway done with the project. Maybe I'll have it completed by the end of the year. I'll post the .pdf when it is done. It's a shame they never produced a Notehand dictionary (and the index in the Notehand text is very sparse… only one page long.) They have one for pretty much all the other editions– why not Notehand? It may have caught on better if there'd been a dictionary available.

    3. "Opportunity" and "important" are things I end up writing in the margins of my notes. Not notes themselves, but meta-notes, commenting on the contents of the notes. Could be the reason they're brief forms in notehand.

    4. Answering 12.e, heresy indeed! 🙂 If you use the blend for ment, then would you add the t, as in "comment"?

      I don't think there is a need to use the extra long men when an m is sufficient; that's how I see it.

  6. On the brief forms, having the same (1 letter) brief form for multiple words does increase writing speed but also increases the cognitive load in reading, as the reader has to decide which of the multiple possible meanings is correct based on context. The stenographer is willing to make this trade off for increased writing speed. The stenographer's regular daily practice, and the routine nature of what the stenographer usually writes, may make the reading interpretation of ambiguous forms less onerous than it would be for the casual note taker.

    The note taker, on the other hand, highly values ease of reading and does not place as high a value on writing speed. The note taking process already condenses or leaves out boilerplate and words/sentences/paragraphs that can be inferred. What is written is likely to be new and information dense, so contextual cues are minimized and the consequences of an error in reading are magnified.

    As to the need for note takers or personal users to read materials from other series, I doubt this comes up often enough to worry someone whose main objective is personal note taking.

    1. Good observations, and along the same lines, I had this thought: A professional stenographer might look at her notes only once while transcribing them into a typewriter keyboard, but a note-taker or diarist might re-read her notes many times. So that's another argument in favor of optimizing for legibility.

      With regard to your last paragraph, I think the influence of social media is bringing the users of various versions into more contact with each other than the author of the system could have anticipated. The counter-argument would be: although that's true, only a very small percentage of Gregg writers are participating in shorthand forums and seeing texts written in a variety of versions.

  7. This is the first time I've encountered this thread, so I've just now read it through in full. Relative to Teri Washbear in 12c, and the writing out of "not", I remember an anecdote in Morris Kligman's "How to Write 240 WPM in Pitman Shorthand" in which he had to look up notes he had taken in court some years previously to determine whether the correct word in a transcription should be "in" or "not". His old notes gave him an unambiguous answer to that. Now, Kligman wasn't referring at all to Gregg Shorthand in that anecdote, but it reminded me that what he did could not have been done in Gregg unless the "in" or "not" were part of a stereotyped phrased outline. All systems have their weaknesses, of course, and I think the "in-not" ambiguity, however rarely it might arise, is one of Gregg's.

Leave a Reply