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Hello everyone,

I have been studying shorthand periodically since the 1970s, all self-study. I use it occasionally for note taking.  

When I first started learning, I expected that one of the uses would be taking notes in class, but I never really used shorthand for that. When I finally got enough speed to be able to write things down, I was in graduate school studying mathematics, and I already had a lot of math abbreviations for taking notes, so shorthand didn’t add much to my note taking abilities. Also, I decided that taking class notes for later studying was problematic, because I cannot scan shorthand at a glance the way I can scan handwritten notes.

What I found shorthand useful for is taking notes for purposes other than later study. This would include writing to-do lists, taking notes on the phone when I have to write down a lot of information, jotting down reminders, and so on. There are two situations in which I have found shorthand to be particularly useful. The first is when interviewing job candidates, either on-on-one or in group interviews. With shorthand, I could quickly summarize answers to interview questions, add my own impressions and observations, and still spend some of my time paying attention. The second situation in which I naturally gravitate to using shorthand is when I want to write desk procedures for personal use. There are chores that I do at work as part of our regular production, but that no one else needs to do. I find that I can jot down in shorthand all the steps as I do them, and I can easily follow the notes later when I want to do the same chore again. If I need to share, I can always type the notes later at my leisure.

I’m trying to expand my use of shorthand. To that end, I am interested in improving my writing fluency. I used to use Anniversary, or at least try to use it. I found the system attractive when I started, because I had trouble writing longer outlines quickly in Simplified.  With Anniversary shorthand, the actual writing does not take as long. Even writing at a relatively slow shorthand speed, I found that I could write faster than I can type, or perhaps even could type, even with extra typing practice. What I found annoying about Anniversary shorthand was that I could never get to the point where the writing became automatic. I was continually hesitating, wondering whether I had the correct form, or maybe thinking about what the form should be. I wanted to check the dictionary whenever I was unsure about an outline. That is distracting when I’m trying to write something, and I want to think about what I am writing rather than how to construct outlines to write it. 

So I am trying to learn Diamond Jubilee, and learn it to the point where I can follow the rules automatically. That seems to me to be the fastest way to get to a level of skill where I don’t have to think about anything other than what I want to say.  I have picked up some textbooks to have a supply of reading material for practice.

This web page is a great resource.  I have been reading the blog, and I am impressed by the discussions I have read.  It is wonderful to hear from so many people at all levels of experience who share an interest in writing Gregg shorthand in all its varieties.  


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4 comments Add yours
  1. Hello, Frankc!

    I have also this problem with uncertainty when I write Gregg shorthand. I’m studying French Gregg and I don’t have any dictionnary. The ressources are scarce.

    Reading about theory in manuals is useful: in these books, they say that the only of purpose of shorthand is transcription. If you cannot transcribe, the shorthand is useless. So there is no perfect, ideal shape in shorthand. When I’m imaging new words that I don’t know the shape, I try to stay coherent with the rest but I aim to easy tracing and not confusing writing.

    How to learn is a interesting topic. Repetition is a large part of it, of course. The large part of my ressources is about business correspondence, which I find utterly boring. I try to find sentences that represent something to me and that I don’t mind repeat and repeat again. I’m convinced that emotion is a « glue » for information, knowledge…


    1. Hello, Christine,

      You have my sympathies!  I don’t what I would do without the books and a Gregg dictionary.  That is one of the challenges of trying to learn a skill without a teacher—trying to verify that your work is correct or even satisfactory. I think you are right that being able to transcribe writing is the ultimate test of success, whether or not the outlines match the dictionary.  I fear I don’t have enough self-confidence to rely on that.  For me, following the manual and dictionary provides security that I will be able to transcribe later.

      I think it must have been easier to learn shorthand in a classroom in a structured environment.  Too bad there are no more classes.  You are right about some of the manuals being boring collections of business correspondence.  The old systems had better reading material than the more recent versions, including stories and essays.  That is a good suggestion to look for more interesting sentences for repetition work.

      It must be so hard to learn shorthand in French.  Gregg shorthand claims to be phonetic, but many of the rules appeal to the way words are spelled as well.  In French, the spoken language does not resemble the written language as much as it does in English.  

      Good luck to you!


      1. Thanks for the good luck! I hope I won't need it though.

        I can have this yearning for more structured lessons too…But if I lived in a time when stenography was more important, I would have probably learned Duployé, Aimé-Paris or Prévost-Delaunay, all stenographies made especially for the French language and I like Gregg elliptic curves, so easy, so comfortable to trace.

        The advantage of no structure is the freedom. After years at school, it's another way of learning that can have also its pleasures.

        And for the French writing being less phonetic than the English one… erm…, I don't think we have something equivalent to: though, through, cough, rough, plough, bought, borough, hiccough…


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