Signs in various Gregg versions


I’d like to know if the set of signs (by that I mean the basic alphabet as well as the blended signs) used in Gregg has remained unchanged throughout all versions of Gregg, or if some have been added or removed?

Also, about the rules governing sign attachment and outline formation: aside from the obvious differences in what sound to write or not, have there been any changes concerning how the signs should be attached to each other and/or positionned relative to each other?


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  1. Only addition I can think of is when Simplifed came out and it added the -rd blend which was not used before.  Also that's when the reverse circle for 'r' was eliminated from Gregg. The later editions of Gregg also kept removing prefixes and suffixes each time to keep the memory load lower since by the Fifties it was only being taught for business secretaries and blazing speed wasn't as necessary.

    1. In addition:

      1. In Simplified and later series, the oo-hook before r or l retains its natural position, instead of turning it on the side as it was in done in previous Gregg editions. This rule was extended to the o-hook in DJS and later series.

      2. The indication of the English past tense is something that has changed in the different series of Gregg. For example, the past tense in Simplified for words that ended with the men or the det blend was modified by always adding a d (instead of adding a disjoined t). As an example, the word "dated" is written det-blend-disjoined t in Anniversary, but det-blend-d in Simplified and later (in this case, the det and the d are separated by a jog). This was an extension of a change officially introduced in Anniversary to always join a d in the past tense of verbs ending with the ld, nd, or md blends (in previous series, the past tense in those verbs was expressed by the disjoined t). Also if a verb ended with r, l, m, or n, the past tense in Simplified and later series will usually be written as a blend if the outline is legible. For example, the word "formed" is written f-m-disjoined t in Anniversary, but f-md blend in Simplified and later series. In contrast, because of legibility issues, the word "presented" is not written "p-rd blend", but p-r-disjoined t in Simplified (as it is written in Anniversary), and p-r-d (no blend) in DJS and later.

      3. The way the oo-hook is joined to the ng and nk blends also changed in different series of Gregg. In very early editions, the oo-hook was turned to the side before ng and nk, assuming a position that looks as if the hook is under the straight line. The rule was later changed (I believe in the 1902 edition of Gregg) to what it is right now: the oo-hook is written it its natural position. However, the old way of joining remained in the outline of the brief form “young” until Simplified, when this brief form was dropped.

  2. There were two changes in Diamond Jubilee related to blends.  The gent-pent blend was removed from the system completely. The def-dif, dev-div blend was still used, but it was no longer used to represent tive-tive.  Those were written out in the new system.


  3. Thanks for your answers!

    I would understand why removing the reverse R could make learning easier (I find it rather confusing myself), but does anyone know on what grounds the pent blend was removed?

    I am also surprised to learn that a certain number of prefixes and suffixes have been removed. To me they are the easiest way to gain speed without complicating the reading, and I find them much more convenient than gaining speed by removing vowels or entire syllables from within words. But maybe it's a false impression, becuse I probably haven't reached the level required to make such judgements, and I only base myself on the fixes I use to speed up my longhand.

  4. Here is the official explanation for dropping the pent blend in DJS:

    “The blend that represent the sounds of gent, gend, pent, pend has been dropped; it occurs so rarely that it is difficult even to find examples for proper teaching. Another factor in the elimination of this blend is the ease with which these combinations are written in full.”

    That is from a pamphlet titled A Presentation of System Changes, published in 1963

    The reason for dropping -tif and -tive is more interesting.  Using the blend resulted in words like “relate” and “relative” being written with the circle vowel “a” going in different directions, conterckockwise and clockwise respectively.  This was believed to cause hesitation when writing.  

  5. I've seen (I believe in the 1902 edition), that the left s was used before the u hook at the beginning of an outline, and also that the oo hook was written on the *inside* of the curve in the outline for "up". I believe possibly as late as Anniversary the outline for "decision" used the left s as well.

    1. Yes, the oo-hook joinings have changed throughout the series: the word "up" is a good example.

      About "decision", it is written with the right s in Anniversary. "Desertion" is written with the left s to make it distinct from "decision", since the r is omitted. Following on what you wrote, though, the ending -sult is written with the left s in Anniversary and earlier.

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