the other day, I read an excerpt of ‘The basics principles of Gregg shorthand’ where John R. Gregg said how much the support he had received from his sister had been important while his brothers made fun of him and his ‘obsession’.
For me, shorthand is a solitary activity even if I can share it online and I’ve never been able to interest someone in this discipline that requires efforts and a great deal of motivation. They find it nice, nothing more.
Aymeric can share it with his mother and I suppose it plays a role in his liking of shorthand.
So, I wonder: for you, is shorthand usually more a solitary thing or a family/friendly occupation?
In person, def a solitary thing. Just another one of my many hobbies I’ve picked up. Online though I have here and r/shorthand to chat to others about shorthand with so that’s nice and enough for me.
Thank you for your reply!
I can add I have also a habit of unusual hobbies.
Yes indeed my mother initially motivated me a lot, but her interest has been waning lately. I think both she and I enjoy the idea of (re)mastering the technique, sometimes losing sight of the very fact that said technique has only one use: to write stuff with! And when you realize that you are not a very imaginative writer, it quickly becomes difficult to put shorthand to enjoyable use. My mother is not a very talkative person and she simply doesn’t know what to tell me that I don’t already know, especially in a written message. To some extent I have the same problem.
In my case however I don’t mind taking any text online, transcribing it and having fun at it. That doesn’t work for my mother…
I’m thinking this has to be a very common problem among shorthand enthusiasts, because most people are not born writers, and it takes a lot of imagination and creativity to be able to write a lot in shorthand without simply copying pre-existing texts.
Interesting, the difference between you and your mother… So having shorthand in common is not enough to consider it in the same way…
I like too transcribing texts into shorthand — as long as someone is able to read me. And I like even more reading shorthand texts. Why? It's certainly rather mysterious. It has probably something to do with the aesthetics of shorthand. It seems also to give a 'extra value' to the text as you must make a effort to write it or read it: wise words in shorthand look wiser, like old texts of ancient times.
Solitary, but now with online groups.
I begin to see a pattern… 🙂
Christine, have you ever found other people who can write French Gregg? and French Anni Gregg? Or are you the only one in the world? 🙂 Sometimes I really wonder…
I got the manual from a young man… that lost interest in it as he grows… So would he able to understand my shorthand texts now?
Once I surfed and surfed… and barely found any hint of people knowing French Gregg.
I don't understand: these Gregg versions have been made for Canadians, I think and it seems they chose to forget it…
So, no, except Carlos, no one can read my shorthand texts… poor Carlos…
When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing. You beat the Navajo code talkers by far!
Very private notes. I wish I would be able to share it with more people, though…
It used to be very much a solitary occupation for me, but since I discovered this great blog and Reddit/shorthand (which is very active) I feel I am in touch with many like-minded people.
Good! And how your relatives and friends consider your hobby? With indulgence? 🙂
Pretty much so. But I have had lots of unusual hobbies and interests over the years. I don’t care if I’m in a minority even of one. Before discovering this excellent blog and Reddit I don’t think I ever knew anyone who shared my love of shorthand.
My wife is used to me taking shorthand notes when we are watching tv together. It helps keep me alert and awake if the show isn't too interesting. 🙂
It's something I do sometimes… a word here and there.
Even in longhand I remember doing it… 🙂
I guess I made it a family thing, lol. I'm a homeschooling teacher so I taught my two kids Gregg Notehand. It teaches note-taking skills as well as the shorthand, so it was an excellent fit for us. I keep my journals in Notehand and wanted the kids to be able to read them after I'm gone one day. I also wanted to give them a way to have additional privacy out in the world, too, and shorthand is great for that. A few years ago I created a Notehand Bingo game , which we play most Monday's.
I've tried to interest friends in shorthand because I'd love to correspond with them in shorthand, but no takers yet.
I would add that I'm an avid note-taker, whether it's at church or programs on TV. I've been regarded with amusement for my odd little shorthand habit! But I just keep writing. I love that I can look back in my notebooks, privately written, and have a record for myself of those things that made an impression on me– things that I might have forgotten otherwise if I hadn't written them down. So, in that, I'm a solitary shorthand writer!
I've thought about Aymeric's comment about the need for some imagination to do any kind of writing. I think there's truth in that. Our schools are not producing writers– even grammar has been dropped or softened in too many schools (read The War Against Grammar by David Mulroy if this topic interests you). How many people even pick up a pen and write in print or longhand any more, let alone shorthand? Or write anything more than a short tweet? But that's another topic.
Well, I like reading stories and I can assure, there are thousands of them on the Internet.
For the style, I can't judge but I found many that are quite good. I am impressed by the imagination, the suspens shown in those stories. People still love writing. 🙂
It's probably manual writing that is in danger.
Were your children enthusiastic about this teaching? Are they skilled now? 🙂
Yes, they like it and can do it pretty well. Still working on their penmanship. I have them read back what they write, and they can see immediately where an R looks more like an L and that sort of thing. My son has been doing Notehand for about 6 years now, if memory is correct, and my daughter has been doing it for about 4 years. Long enough to be proficient at it.
It's nice to see the young generation still interested in that sort of thing. I remember that I was fascinated by secret codes when I was a child (and by ancient forms of writing, too…)
After watching me learn Gregg for a year (with occasional evening storytime session where I read stories or articles in Simplified aloud), my spouse was inspired to learn DEK, the official German shorthand. We usually practice alongside each other once a week. He's super jealous that Gregg is lightline, tho. 🙂
There's a German Gregg if his jealousy becomes too strong… 🙂
I've told him, but he wants to stick to DEK for now. But German Gregg is on my list once I internalize the Anni theory a little more.
Well, your spouse may be jealous that Gregg's system is lightline, but DEK is a beautifully designed system nevertheless. I take it that at present he's learning Verkehrsschrift. Anyway, is he a native German speaker? Is he using a pencil or a flexible pen?
Yes, he's learning Verkehrsschrift, with some dabbling in the English version of DEK. He's a native German speaker.
Part of his frustration has been not being able to find a writing utensil that works well for him with the thick/thin lines. We've tried multiple grades of lead and a few flex nibs. I got him a nib designed for DEK (the pens are ludicrously expensive), only to discover it doesn't fit any of our pens. The only way he's found to consistently get a thick line is to press really hard, which is obviously unpleasant for long periods of time (and usually breaks pencil lead). I've told him that for reasons of stamina DEK's probably not meant to require so much force, but so far no luck with other methods. His longhand is very good and full of flourishes, so he obviously has the fine motor skills related to good penmanship.
We've not been able to find very many online resources for DEK (most of the clubs in Germany appear to be local, face-to-face phenomena), but if you know of any good online instructional resources (especially videos), we'd love to hear about them!
I think maybe your husband should consider pens that Pitman writers like, since Pitman also has the thin-thick distinction. Beryl Pratt, who runs a Pitman website in the UK, likes Noodlers. Because of the extensive amount of shorthand she has written for the site, I believe her opinions are worth paying attention to. She has pen reviews on her site at
The historical reason that learning Gregg shorthand was often involved family is that, in the era before digital or even tape recorders, to increase speed meant getting someone else to agree to dictate – a lot, and often. I have read profiles of stenographers in the Gregg Writer magazine. They would reach a certain level (around 125 words per minute) but want to get to 200 wpm, to reach a higher level court, more prestigious, better pay in the Depression, very important. Often, they would cajole siblings or spouses to spend evening after evening dictating – sometimes they could get hold of typewritten testimony, and this was the best, for those who aspired to be court reporters. Besides family members, another major source was the radio – for speeches, sermons, and lectures. The first woman court reporter in the NY State Supreme Court did all this, and she purchased a dictaphone – it was run by hand crank! (her family couldn't afford electricity). She would use it to record dictation, for repeated practice, then have the cylinders "shaved" to permit new dictation to be recorded. Today, we can use digital recorders. I find making my own recordings at slow, the slightly faster speeds, of exercises in the Anniversary Manual and doing my best to write from the playback, is pretty good practice. So family support today is for different reasons than originally. Not to get help with writing practice from dictation, but for morale. My wife is very supportive in that regard.
Interesting, Mr Miller… I haven't thought of that. So the success of a student was the success of a whole group… It was, certainly, a good emulation.
I don't use dictation at all as, before introducing any kind of speed, I think I must do no mistakes without. But I suppose it adds a lively touch. 🙂
You're lucky to have a supportive wife… 🙂