Today in a Facebook group I found out that English Anniversary Gregg writes the NST sequence with right S.

In French DJS, the left S is consistently used in this same sequence.

Is this a French adaptation found in all French series, or rather a series-specific adaptation found in all languages (i.e. in English DJS too)?


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  1. No. It's a French DJS thing. The original rule said that when s occurs between strokes and is not joined to a circle, to write the s with the syllable to which it belongs. The issue is that the syllabic division in French is different than in English. In English, when s is between n and another consonant (such as k, p, t), the s always belongs to the following syllable (not to the syllable with the n). In French, the s would belong to the n syllable. That's why these outlines look different in French DJS — SME "corrected" the outlines to match French syllabic division, since these outlines were written exactly the same as the English counterparts in previous series.

    (Incidentally, Spanish also uses the English Gregg convention, in spite of those words being divided as in French.)

    In my opinion, the stenography should be adapted to the language and not viceversa (adapt the language to the stenography), meaning that one doesn’t change the language to force it to a stenographic rule, but I also see the consistency issue if one is writing English. However, this is a minor point really — shorthand is just a means to an end, not the end itself, which is to record what was said. As long as it is readable and it can be transcribed, I have no problem using one s vs. the other.

  2. Thank you Carlos, it’s very interesting as always to know what lies behind those apparently arbitrary choices.

    I personally very much like the French DJS way of writing NST because to me it’s much easier to write a neat angle between N and S if you write the N and then completely change direction for the left S curve.

    1. I think that most of the things we like is just a matter of habit.

      If you are used to do things in the other way, it's the other way that would look natural to you.

      After second thought, 'obscur', the way Carlos wrote it is not that bad and I can very well picture myself use it.

      On the other hand, French DJS with all these extra vowels and consonants… it remains “unappealing” to me. 🙂

      1. I agree Christine, it’s like when you listen to a piece of music for the first time, it usually remains your gold standard that no other interpretation can ever beat…

        I’m not sure what "obscur" you are referring to, but I assume it has to do with the kind of S used by Carlos in it? Let me guess, he uses right S, which makes for a tricky joining with the preceding B in your opinion?

        Or maybe not… as I write this I realize that even in French, I think the division would be ob-scur. I don’t see obs being a viable syllable in French, do you?

        1. Well, I would have seen obs like a syllabe maybe because of L'Obs… But I understand well, the dictionary online Littré agrees with you, it's 'ob-scur'. I suppose I never had to cut the word when I wrote it in the past, so a little word.

          Anyway, I wrote 'obscur' this way , like in the Sénécal manual, and Carlos wanted I wrote this way . There is no pause between 'b' and 's', just an inflection, so I think it's quicker to draw and a bit more elegant. My first reacton was to want to stick to the manual but… after all… this way is good too… 🙂

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