(Sorry this image is a bit unclear. My penmanship and my computer ability are both at fault.)

In Anniversary the word disintegrate is written as [1] (in simplified as [2]). I had been looking at my dictionary for another word when I found this odd-looking form for disintegrate. I had never come across that strange bend after the ‘s’ before the ‘nt’ of intr.

Left to myself I would have written it as [3] or [4], using the disjoined prefix ‘n’ for intr/inter — made compound by the preceding dis.

The official form [1] is very ugly; and cumbersome to write. I wonder how it was decided that that was how to do it. Were I aiming at a form based on that of integrate [5] (still rather ugly, though not strange), I would have made an exception to how ‘s’ follows ‘d’ (paragraph 49 of the Manual) and written [6]. But that is still awkward. So why did they not go for [3]? — which is what I will use should I need to.  Has anyone found any similar construction elsewhere?

I know I am being very picky but such seeming oddities unsettle me.

Previous post:
Next post:
20 comments Add yours
  1. Hello!
    I’m fervently for the most simple forms as they are easier to draw but, the little dash stands precisely for:
    ‘inter-‘, ‘intr-‘, ‘enter-‘ and ‘intel-‘.
    So, not just ‘inte-‘…
    Is it bothering you that much? The word is not very much used… or do you want to express your opinion on the current situation of the society?

    1. Exactly. Number 1 is correct, because it is just dis+integrate, which is d-left s-nt blend-e-g-r-a. The disjoined prefix is for in/en+tr/tel (following the tr principle).

      If you find it is too long, just cut it out at the g in your own writing (d-left s-nt blend-e-g).

      1. I write integrate as nt-e-g, so it naturally follows that disintegrate would be d-s-nt-e-g.

        I think the most important things are:

        1) Can you write it down as fast as it is spoken

        2) Can you read it

        Thinking about it, if you want to avoid the strange bend, you can write the "i" in:



        1. Niten Ichi:  Thanks for the suggestion.  Very practical, and quite elegant.

          But your points 1 & 2 are probably both answered in the negative in my inadequate case!


    2. Thanks Christine for your amusing comment.  Sorry I've been so long in replying — I thought I might get an email when a comment was made but I don't.  I'll have to be more active in following up my posts in future.

      Yes: "not just inte-" does bother me.  I'll answer it later as others including Carlos have made similar points later on.

  2. It's hard to say unless you're "in the moment" but I suspect I would've written D-S disjoint plus #5 if I was bothered by the vertical creep upwards of #1.  The other possibility for me would have been #6.

    I almost certainly would not have done #3 because I don't think of disjoint D-S-N as a prefix.

  3. The extra hook-like curve after the d-s in the official outline is a little weird, I find. It almost looks like an r in my dictionary. I would almost expect it to be written like the "was not" combinations that use the n-t blend, where it forms a soft point between the s and the n-t.

    Any insights onto why there's that extra curve?

    1. The extra hook comes from writing the nt with the angle that naturally forms with the s; it does not mean that the word is written incorrectly. I guess it would look less that an hook if the nt would not go up so quickly, but this is a very minor point and doesn't detract from legibility. "Was not" and "is not" are the exception to normal writing — that's why there is a rule for both kinds of phrases.

      1. Interesting, I didn't realize there were separate rules. Looking up some other similar words…

        – "Disinterested" follows the "inter" rule using a disjoined d-s-n

        – "disentangle" has the same funny hook as "disintegrate"

        – "dissent" uses a comma s. I wonder why it doesn't follow the same pattern?

        Neither my dictionary nor "5,000 Most Used Forms" (both Anniversary) has "dysentery." Would someone with the medical dictionary be willing to look it up?

        By the way, is there an Anniversary edition of the medical dictionary? So far I've only been able to find Simplified editions.

        1. I'm puzzled by your puzzlement… 🙂

          'Disinterested', disentangle' and 'dissent' may begin with 'd-s', the following is rather different…

          The 'extra hook' that looks weird in 'distingrate' is a way to separate the 's' from the 'ent'.

          I agree that the sounds 'en', 'in', 'an' seem to possess a circle… or not rather arbitrarily.

          1. The only one that really puzzles me right now is "dissent," but I'm guessing it's a rule I haven't encountered yet since I'm only half-way through Anniversary. "Disinterested" and "disentangle" both make sense based on what's been explained here.

            Mostly I'm just curious! Comparing and contrasting similar words that have such a difference in outlines helps me set them in my memory. That's also why I'm curious about "dysentery."

          2. I feel I should take issue with Christine.  You say " The 'extra hook' that looks weird in 'distingrate' is a way to separate the 's' from the 'ent'. "

            Well yes, it is "a way".  But I do not think anywhere else in Gregg is such a thing required. 

            One of the beauties of Gregg is the lovely way that all characters join smoothly together.  It was the realisation of this which made Gregg choose the characters he did for the system.  (This was fundamentally different from (nearly all?) other systems of the time which started from the position that the most frequently occurring words/sounds should be the shortest in form. )  [Sorry for this rather irrelevant diversion for the point you kindly make.]

            1. Issue? Not a problem. 🙂
              I like too the esthetic of Gregg Shorthand (I prefer it to specific French shorhands despite downsides).

              But if the joining is in this system is, in its great majority, smooth and esthetic, it's not always the case.
              By example, in the word 'culture', the joining between the 'l' and the 't' is rather ugly but it's necessary to identify the two letters. It's also the case of the French word 'sculpture' because we don't pronounce the 'p'…

              Gregg Shorthand was born for boring stuff (commercial, legal…) not art… 🙂

        2. I hadn't noticed disentangle.

          And that funny hook is just too weird for me.  Carlos said "The extra hook comes from writing the nt with the angle that naturally forms with the s", but I do not think it at all "natural".  But I can certainly see that that is the way it has to be written, IF you are going to write it like that.

          I am beginning to see where I diverge from how the disjoined prefix inter is given in paragraph 209.  But it is being too strict.  I see that "integrate" is not SPELLED with a prefix "inter" but it is certainly seems to be PRONOUNCED like that – well it is in my S.E. England dialect.  And at the beginning of the textbooks it is emphasised that we should write what is SOUNDED and not how it is spelled.  I know that this fundamental point is relaxed somewhat as the lessons progress.  That laxity is something of the beauty of the Gregg system.  (So too it is the point "position writing abolished" which is later diverged from by things such as the brief for for over, paragraph 41, etc.  But this is nice.)

          1. I'll reply here to a minor point: the one about position writing. Gregg uses relative position, as does ordinary writing, where for instance, we write commas low and apostrophes high. But position writing is about absolute position relative to a marked line. Pitman puts symbols above, on, or through the line to distinguish them, just as musicians write notes in different positions on a staff. This causes an extra memory burden, and also requires the stenographer to look closely at his/her notes when taking them.

  4. The more I think about it, it does make sense, although I would write in the "i" in "disintegrate" to make it in line with "dissent" and "dissentry".

    "Disintegrate" is in first 6000 word families of english, I would probably only start worrying if it was in the first 2000 families. Probably when it comes to taking it down in dictation, I would probably scrawl something weird. "Disintegrate" would probably only probably occur in material related to history, war, science, or marriage, where it would be quite easy to read from context.

  5. Thanks to everyone who has commented on my post; it has been very interesting to me.  I have learned many things:
    (1) that the correct dictionary form is founded on good principles,
    (2) and that it does flow "naturally" on from dis- (looking closely at how many of the writers write 'nt', for example in paragraph 15 of the manual, it does not always start horizontally but has a little downward twist such that joined to dis it would naturally create the form for disintegrate),
    (3) that there other words which have the same extra wiggle – disentangle,
    (4) some 'alternatives' more 'correct' than mine, which some have suggested,
    (5) the distinction of "relative" position rather than "absolute".

    Finally I would like thank Carlos for his clear guidance. Also for his work in giving frequent posts of transcripts which motivate us.  How he keeps so many versions of the system in mind at one time (including non-English ones) is remarkable.  If Dr Gregg is looking down on things he would be delighted that his system is being reinvigorated in this forum.

Leave a Reply