Progress Report on Transitioning from Simplified to Anniversary

In Anniversary-Simplified (?)… Welp, this is what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night with a headache, the wind is howling, and you can’t fall back asleep. You start composing shorthand letters in your head.

Transcript (hopefully accurate) at the bottom, to help decipher any silly mistakes or bad penmanship. Sorry my outlines are still so crunched. I need to be more conscious about giving them some more room to breathe for legibility.


Dear friends at the Gregg blog,

A caveat: as I am only half-way through the Anniversary Manual and Functional Method Part One, this blog post will probably be in a mixture of Simplified and Anniversary, and be full of other errors besides. While I will look up some terms for accuracy, I elected not to get crazy or write a second draft. I hope that it is still legible for you.

Due to being busy and stressed, I did not practice for nearly three or four months. Due to the shutdowns because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am no longer working a part-time unpaid position. Since it was unpaid, I have less of a loss than others. May heart goes out not only to those suffering from the disease, but also those who are suffering particular [sic] from the shutdowns because of unstable work or home situations.

I have been thinking about some abbreviations for our current crisis. For instance, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 21 could be “intersected s-k,” or possibly “S-A-R C-O-V to/too/two.” “Covid-19” could be abbreviated “C-O-V 19” and “Coronavirus” could be “intersected k-v.” Abbreviations could be useful for reflecting on this phenomenon.

As far as learning Anniversary is concerned, I am quite happy I decided to take it up after Simplified. Though it’s a steeper learning curve, I do like abbreviating more. At first I was going through a lesson in the Manual in parallel with a lesson in the Functional Method, but that was really bogging me down, so I decided to work straight through the Functional Method Volume One to see how I liked it. I have enjoyed this learning style much more than I expected. I finally (finally!) found a copy of Volume Two that I hope is indeed for Anniversary. Lots of times on these used book websites the description does not include the Gregg series, publication date, or cover. I have just bought several books based on cross-referencing the book covers with known Anniversary editions. Now I just have to cross my fingers.

My strength continues to be reading and my weakness continues to be dictation. I finally finished all of the 40 words-per-minute dictation files I downloaded from the blog, and I have created a playlist of the 50 words-per-minute files (excepting the Simplified dictation files; I do not think I could bear to go through those again). Though I am not that fast, I do see myself getting more and more comfortable with dictation.

I fell out of the habit of journaling in shorthand and am trying to get back into it. One of the most frustrating aspects is how often I feel the need to look something up in the dictionary to try to make things “perfect” (and decipherable in a few decades…) It really interrupts my flow. I am finding, though, that it’s becoming more and more intuitive2 when to omit minor vowels, and other abbreviation principals.

Something I am very happy about is having successfully printed out the PDF (PDF) of “5,000 Most Used Shorthand Forms” in booklet format. It is very hard to refer to these documents on the computer. I moved the table of contents to the front, added dictionary headings of the first and last word on each index page, and color-coded the lessons for easier reference. Indexes and tables of contents had very different priorities in the first half of the 20th Century! (When they were employed at all!)

I am trying to purchase original books when I can. Generally they are so inexpensive, and there is something about holding and actually using these 80- or 90-year-old books, seeing the notes written by the students who first owned them, that is really special. I am often amazed by what good shape they are in!

Thinking about it, I think shorthand might be my only true “hobby” (unless you count reading… but I consider that more like necessary nourishment for my mental faculties and spirit). I have a lot of projects that I am very passionate about and that bring me joy, but shorthand might be the only activity I do purely for fun and not because of its immediate utility. Sometimes I question whether it is worth using my time and energy this way. But it makes me happy, so I keep studying. My goal right now is to master analogical3 word beginnings and ending so I do not have to look them up in my cheat-sheet! I also really want to get better at phrasing instead of always forgetting and writing out outlines separately even after I have read and copied them what seems like a million times.

Anyhow, thank you for considering my ramblings. Everyone stay safe and healthy (both physically and psycho-emotionally).

- Plays With Pens


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“Progress Report on Transitioning from Simplified to Anniversary” by Plays_With_Pens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. SARS-CoV-2↩︎
  2. For reasons I cannot fathom, in the dictionary the vowels are reversed, so it’s n/t blend-i-u-t/v blend. Did people back then pronounce it “inTYUative???↩︎
  3. Is the joined ‘l’ for ‘-logic’ a Simplified thing? Am I totally making this up? Oh wait, that’s “-ology.” Anniversary does it with a sideways o-hook, like “all.” So “analogical” should have been “a-n-a-l-o hook-j-disjoined k.”↩︎

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8 comments Add yours
  1. I can’t read English Gregg, much less English Anniversary, but I love your curves cheeky Seriously I have no idea if it’s written the way it should be, but it looks like the kind of flowing script I’d like to have some day.

    Regarding intuitive, I always thought that’s the only way it is pronounced. The dictionary seems to agree ( (ɪnˈtjuːɪtɪv) ). So you say "inTWItive" ?

    1. @Aymeric – Thanks for the compliment! I'm much happier with my curves than I was a year and a half ago when I started, but the ones I really like aren't always consistent.

      IRT "intuitive": Must be a dialect thing, then! I say "inTOOitive." Here's the Oxford American Dictionary pronunciation: /inˈt(y)o͞oədiv/ /ɪnˈt(j)uədɪv/. The British English entry has the same pronunciation you gave.

  2. Here's my COVID vocab:

    Self-isolate s(reverse)/i-s

    coronavirus c-r intersect v

    covid k-v-e-d

    social distancing s-o-sh intersect d

    confirmed cases k intersect k

    vunerable v-u-n

    epidemiology e-p-d/o(sideways)(edited)

    repirator r-e-s-p/r

    pneumonia n-u-m-o-n

    trajectory t-r-a-j/r-e

    cardiovascular c-a(reverse)-d-v-a-s

    virology v-i/o(sideways)

    pathogen p-a-th-j

    1. @Niten Ichi: Thanks for sharing! I'll give some of those a try.

      May I ask (and it's perfectly okay if the answer is "no") if you are in a field where you need to use those terms often for shorthand?

  3. Wow, this is very good! Very legible! I see some little Anniversary theory mistakes, but since you're still learning, I won't point those out. However, I'm glad to you're using the reverse circle! Keep going ahead!

    1. @Carlos: Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂 The reverse circle for "r" totally freaked me out the first time I encountered it, and helped me decide for Simplified, but now I find I like it.

      I'm always impatient to be further along in shorthand than I am, but I'm happy to be back at it.

  4. Thanks for the transcription of your story.  I really enjoyed that you also refer to shorthand as a "hobby" – we need to encourage the world to see shorthand as the great skill and "hobby" that it is! Also that you enjoy original books – I write Pitman and my birthday and Christmas presents are usually 100 year old books. You're right – there is something magic about them and I find Shorthand Writers often keep their books well after learning, so they are well maintained. Keep up your enthusiasm for Shorthand – it is well worth getting excited about.

    1. Glad the transcription came in useful, Carmel. 🙂

      It's funny, a lot of my work is passion projects, so while they are work, they don't always feel like "work." I see that when and if I ever get really good at Anniversary Gregg, it could be a really useful skill that applies to multiple work sectors… but until then, somehow it's just really fun and pleasurable to learn it. It definitely helps me deal with stress.

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