DJS Rationale

As a newcomer here this year who has enjoyed reading and using the great wealth of material, I have not seen much detail about the rationale for DJS, so I wondered whether these attachments might be of interest. See also these links: Comparison of Simplified and Diamond Jubilee  From Gregg Simplified to Diamond Jubilee

Changing the system to meet a requirement for training students for more modest office dictation speeds in a shorter time and/or for more reliable transcription seems to me to make sense. However I agree with Carlos that the motivation for change was also that McGraw-Hill wanted to make more money.  As a retired teacher in a UK further education college (US = community college?), I can also appreciate the likelihood of pressure from the educational establishment and from employers to push more students through to an adequate standard. In “How System Changes are made in Gregg Shorthand” (from a copy of “Today’s Secretary”) it is said that advantages of the changes and lighter learning load were having extra time to spend on practising dictation and transcription, as well as being able to get somewhat less able students up to the target speed.

It’s all very personal, though, as one naturally has an attachment to the version one has learned. I (half) learned Simplified before going on to use the DJS manuals and ended up writing a mixture. The one thing I particularly dislike about DJS is the writing out of the “ou” sound before “n” etc as I think it is much slower than the Simplified omission. So I don’t do it. As for the word “etcetera”, in the DJS outline it is written out in full, yet in the real world the word is almost always written “etc”, which is about as quick to write in longhand as the DJS outline! On the other hand, I do think getting rid of all those pen-lifts for past tenses and “-r” in Simplified is an improvement.

I understand from this blog and elsewhere that DJS is slower than Simplified, but nowhere have I seen more than fairly vague estimates of the difference. So I was interested to read in “Memory Load of Simplified and D-J compared” that their study found DJS had slightly over 4% more strokes than Simplified in the sample. So does that mean its lower speed potential is of a similar order?

Presumably this lower speed potential could be improved by more, well-chosen, brief forms and shortcuts.

I think it would be really interesting to share ideas on an updated set of brief forms to reflect modern needs and for more general use than the business focus of versions from Simplified onwards. Maybe it’s different in the US, but I don’t think I have ever had to write the word “merchant” – apart from in Gregg exercises, that is.

Attachment: how-system-changes-are-made-in-gregg-shorthand.pdf

Attachment: memory-load-of-simplified-and-d-j-compared.pdf

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11 comments Add yours
  1. Thanks for posting all this!  So interesting!  I can't help but wonder that any system we learn, if learned well, can help us reach these desired speed goals.  I agree we need updated Gregg books and brief forms that aren't so vocationally-minded.  Gregg for the new millennium!  Wouldn't that be cool!

  2. Hello!

    I'm studying Sénécal's French Gregg and of course, the French in early XXe century is a bit different from the one in early XXIe century… Some words are no more in use and other didn't exist yet. Some sentences are… odd.

    I think that anyone who wants to use efficiently any version of Gregg nowadays needs to make some personnal updates. And it would be probably better that these updates would be shared and registered by a larger group…


    1. Also, in the early lessons, words that are easy to write but not necessarily common are used to illustrate a principle, since the student’s shorthand vocabulary is very limited and the student is still learning the system. That explains in part the oddness of some of the material.

      1. And, little by little, the texts are becoming more interesting… richer.smiley

        I have in my mind all the new words created by using greek or latin prefixes (or suffixes), for example, hydra-/hydro-. In the Pre-anniversary, there was a prefix «aï» and it has disappeared in the Anniversary. A lot of words begins with hydro- or hydra-, words that probably didn't exist in 1929…

        And also I don't understand how they can say that prefixes or suffixes are «increasing memory load»… They are making the forms simpler, so it's easier to remember them. At a glance, you recognise the forms. Particularly scientific words are quite long without them. I see them like «keys» in ideograms: it gives to the forms a «family likeness».


  3. Good point, Carlos, and why I’m battling my way through all the letters in the excellent Shorthand Dictation Studies!

    As I am trying to improve my shorthand knowledge and speed, I find new brief forms don’t cause much hesitation – I currently use around 220 taken from DJS and Simplified with a few from Anni and the Expert book. Most of the official ones are well chosen, though some are out of date – e.g. “instant” was common a century ago (“In reply to yours of 6th instant”). But what is the point of the brief form for “long” in Simplified, when writing it in full seems just as quick? It would be better replaced with one for “because” – I prefer [b k] to Anni’s [k s]. 

    Things that still occasionally cause me hesitation are vowel omission/inclusion and choice of direction of “s”, though I’m hopeful that these will improve with more practice. 

    1. I agree with you about "because" and "long", but b-k is "book" or "become" in Anniversary, so k-s is fine with me. However b-k was the brief form of “because” in the original 1888 edition!

      “Shorthand Dictation Studies” is a great book, although some of the outlines in the third edition could have been written a little nicer!

      1. Thanks for the link, it's a useful revision summary! Sometimes the choice of direction for the "s" or "x" seems a little arbitrary to me. Compare "excessive" and "recessive", which would both work the other way round. Compare also "assist" and "exist". I have always written "exist" [e left-s right-s t] as I find it easier and I write "exchange" with the "ex" anticlockwise as it feels more natural to me.

  4. I'm pretty impressed by how Zoubek and company really gave these editions a lot of thought, going through the dictionary multiple times for usage frequency, to see if it was worth keeping some principles or not (and they did this without a computer!)  And, that they listened to their teachers/students for input.  They seemed always open to improvements wherever they could be found, making it a living system.

      1. Very interesting.  I don't really fault McGraw-Hill for trying to make a living… at least they did try to make logical improvements where they thought they could.  With shorthand fading out in the 70's and 80's, it seems they fought hard to stay relevant to the changing times, but mostly lost that battle.  Despite all that, Simplified edition does remain in print even today which is no small thing (I do wonder why they chose that particular edition to keep in print rather than the last one, Centennial, though). 

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