Mind Flip

I had an interesting experience this week.  For the past 3  years, I’ve written in Notehand more than longhand or printing (I journal in Notehand, and am an extensive Notehand note-taker).  A few days ago, right after writing in my journal in Notehand for a lengthy amount of time, I started a letter to a friend who doesn’t know shorthand.  While trying to write in longhand, my mind only wanted to produce the shorthand outlines!  My brain had flipped!   It took a few minutes for my brain to readjust to longhand again.  I had to consciously break from the Notehand and think through forming the longhand.  It was a lot like learning a foreign language, and finally discovering you know it well enough that you’re thinking and dreaming in it for the first time.  It was pretty cool!

Anyone else have an experience like that with their shorthand?  Do you find yourself thinking in outlines?  Do you ever dream you’re doing shorthand?


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  1. I've experienced this with writing as well. When I try to write anything in longhand, it can be difficult and even once I'm writing in longhand, I'll inadvertently write something in Gregg, especially if it's a small word like 'and' or 'the'. It just pops in, very strange. I experienced a similar effect when living in Germany and speaking German all the time. It was much harder for me to speak English when I needed to. I think the brain is very capable of rewiring itself, but the drawback is that it has to "unwire" itself again if you want to go back to something. I think that if you were constantly writing both longhand and Gregg, you would be able to better sort it out.

  2. Since I'm just beginning, I've had only a hint of the mind-flip – when writing longhand, I do tend to want to slip in shorthand versions of easy words, like "and" or "the".  Perhaps our minds can become good at flipping on purpose, to rise to the occasion as needed!   I do recall reading somewhere of a few people who knew more than one system of shorthand – e.g. Gregg and Pitman, or Pitman and Teeline, or whatever – and knowing one doesn't seem to interfere with the other.  Again, in the art of memory, I've heard that one can use the same "memory palace" or perhaps the same "peg system" for more than one series of things-to-be-remembered, without confusion, so long as the context is in the background of the mind to distinguish them.  I suspect that's what will end up happening with the shorthand/longhand mind-flip. 

    1. That's interesting that you mentioned mnemonics… I love that subject, too, and hope to improve at it (I use the techniques in our homeschool– why weren't we taught this stuff in school?)  There's nothing like mnemonics and shorthand to prevent flabbiness of the brain!

      1. I agree, shorthand and mnemonics are good for our minds!  And I, too, believe mnemonics would be most helpful: kids love learning it, and setting it up well before the years when it's needed for more serious uses would allow time to set it up well. 

               I seem to recall seeing an article about shorthand being related to the Major System, for memory of numbers – perhaps because both are wont to use related symbols for related phonetic sounds.  May be that promoting either, also promotes the other, some.

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