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#1 BearsPaw

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 01:15

Does anyone use shorthand anymore? I found this website, and tried going through the first unit but found it rather confusing. Does anyone know any good online resources or comments in general on learning shorthand?

#2 HDoug

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 01:54

I'd sure like to learn. It would certainly improve the note-taking process. Hmmm... wonder what it looks like in italic? I just got the image of shorthand in fraktur... That's an interesting concept! OK, I've gotta go clear up my head now...

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#3 Zoe

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:23

Take a look at Pitman.

I believe it is easier to learn, and does look good in Italics. roflmho.gif thumbup.gif

Edited by Zoe, 07 September 2008 - 02:23.


#4 RayMan

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:24

It's been a very long time since I've seen anyone use shorthand. The court reporters all use steno machines or face mask devices, assuming there is any court reporter at all now that court proceedings are increasingly being electronically recorded. Still, I'd like to learn shorthand for purposes of my own notetaking.
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#5 jmkeuning

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:27

Someone posted an article here about a really old-school court reporter that still uses Gregg.
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#6 MikaLa

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 09:11

I just began teaching myself. The Finnish Nevanlinna-system. It is fun!


Rom 7:15


#7 Litlady

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 09:51

I learnt to write one of the Pitman variants in the 1970s. We were taught to write it using FPs because it was easier to get the difference between the light and heavy strokes at speed. Pitman even used to sell an FP specially for shorthand writing. I reached 110 wpm in ordinary and 120 wpm in another system called 'Teeline' in medical shorthand. I still use a mixture of both for note taking these days. It's generally easy to learn but time consuming as you need regular practice to reach any degree of proficiency. Good fun though. And yes, it's a dying art, not sure it's taught any more to budding journalists here in the UK. The BBC used to train all their journalists in shorthand writing.

#8 BearsPaw

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 13:25

QUOTE (Zoe @ Sep 6 2008, 10:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Take a look at Pitman.

I believe it is easier to learn, and does look good in Italics. roflmho.gif thumbup.gif


I was concerned that Pitman would be harder, since you have to be able to vary line thinkness. It seems like (1) that is hard to do / read quickly and (2) it's impossible without a fountain pen. Are these concerns unfounded?

#9 HedgeMage

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 14:00

QUOTE (BearsPaw @ Sep 6 2008, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone use shorthand anymore? I found this website, and tried going through the first unit but found it rather confusing. Does anyone know any good online resources or comments in general on learning shorthand?


I still use shorthand quite frequently, though it's not a system I think I could teach anyone... mine is a sort of "programmer's shorthand" that you could probably only decipher if you were familiar with writing computer code (it is most heavily influenced by C++, in case you were curious). I drop vowels from words where clarity won't be impaired, substitute symbols like != or >> for words or phrases, and abbreviate anything that makes sense in my head.

--HedgeMage


#10 BearsPaw

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 14:10

QUOTE (HedgeMage @ Sep 7 2008, 10:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I still use shorthand quite frequently, though it's not a system I think I could teach anyone... mine is a sort of "programmer's shorthand" that you could probably only decipher if you were familiar with writing computer code (it is most heavily influenced by C++, in case you were curious). I drop vowels from words where clarity won't be impaired, substitute symbols like != or >> for words or phrases, and abbreviate anything that makes sense in my head.

--HedgeMage


I am a computer science PhD student, so I have some experience with writing computer code. smile.gif

I've tried an ad-hoc form of shorthand (not based on C++, though), but since it was always in flux and based on what popped into my head while I was writing it, I would find notes a few months later and be unable to read them.

#11 DerMann

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 17:27

QUOTE (BearsPaw @ Sep 6 2008, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone use shorthand anymore? I found this website, and tried going through the first unit but found it rather confusing. Does anyone know any good online resources or comments in general on learning shorthand?

I've heard of Gregg shorthand, and read about it a bit after seeing a few nibs marked "GREGG."

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#12 Nabster

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 15:38

I had a business/computer teacher in high school who had been in the computer industry for years. One class she gave us a lesson in shorthand, not one person in the class could read the little curvy lines on the board. Seems interesting, but in the event someone else would need to read the notes, I'll stick with a quick abbreviated handwriting.


#13 Atlas

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 18:24

QUOTE (Nabster @ Sep 12 2008, 08:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Seems interesting, but in the event someone else would need to read the notes, I'll stick with a quick abbreviated handwriting.


Ah, good. Someone has thought of prudential considerations.

#14 HerosNSuch

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 19:02

QUOTE (RayMan @ Sep 7 2008, 12:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's been a very long time since I've seen anyone use shorthand. The court reporters all use steno machines or face mask devices, assuming there is any court reporter at all now that court proceedings are increasingly being electronically recorded. Still, I'd like to learn shorthand for purposes of my own notetaking.


My aunt teaches a class in short hand at a community college in her town. She still works as a court reporter. The recordings from the day, Tuesday in that county, are sent to her office, and she transcribes them all for the remainder of the week. In South Carolina, where she lives, there legally has to be a hard copy of all court room activity. So, at least in that state, there are still people who use shorthand on a daily basis.

Edited to add:Just called her to ask, She uses a stenotype machine to transcribe, but still had to learn Gregg and Pitman hands and requires her students to learn them as well.

Edited by HerosNSuch, 13 September 2008 - 19:08.

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#15 rattus31

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 19:13

QUOTE (HerosNSuch @ Sep 13 2008, 03:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My aunt teaches a class in short hand at a community college in her town. She still works as a court reporter. The recordings from the day, Tuesday in that county, are sent to her office, and she transcribes them all for the remainder of the week. In South Carolina, where she lives, there legally has to be a hard copy of all court room activity. So, at least in that state, there are still people who use shorthand on a daily basis.

Edited to add:Just called her to ask, She uses a stenotype machine to transcribe, but still had to learn Gregg and Pitman hands and requires her students to learn them as well.


That sounds like a class I would fail...


#16 shoppy

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 20:57

It would make my life easier if I learnt it.
Best wishes.

#17 HerosNSuch

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 01:33

QUOTE (rattus31 @ Sep 13 2008, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (HerosNSuch @ Sep 13 2008, 03:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My aunt teaches a class in short hand at a community college in her town. She still works as a court reporter. The recordings from the day, Tuesday in that county, are sent to her office, and she transcribes them all for the remainder of the week. In South Carolina, where she lives, there legally has to be a hard copy of all court room activity. So, at least in that state, there are still people who use shorthand on a daily basis.

Edited to add:Just called her to ask, She uses a stenotype machine to transcribe, but still had to learn Gregg and Pitman hands and requires her students to learn them as well.


That sounds like a class I would fail...


A lot of people do the first time around. It seems extremely difficult to learn the alien looking scratch marks of ink.
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#18 RLTodd

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 02:43

My position on this is that if you need to take dictation, and you can't use one of those little recorders, shorthand is the way to go.

If all you have to do is take notes, rarely need to record a verbatim sentence, Quickwriting or Speedwriting is the way to go. I have heard that people who wanted to put in a month or so of practice have gotten up to around 80 words a minute equivalent recorded as notes.


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#19 flaviano

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 03:23

QUOTE (BearsPaw @ Sep 6 2008, 09:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone use shorthand anymore? I found this website, and tried going through the first unit but found it rather confusing. Does anyone know any good online resources or comments in general on learning shorthand?


I've just joined the forum and I got interested in fountain pens because of Pitman shorthand which I am learning.

Generally speaking Pitman is considered harder to learn than Gregg shorthand. To the extent that anyone still uses the old shorthand systems, Pitman is used in the UK and Commonwealth states while mostly Gregg is used in the US.

Pitman is a "geometric" system which combines straight lines and curves, and makes use of heavy and light strokes to encode differences in the voicing of consonants (e.g. a heavy stroke for b, d, g, j, z but a corresponding light stroke for p, t, k, ch, s).

Gregg doesn't make use of shading differences and is called, therefore, a "light-line" system. It is also based on the ellipse shape, which is said to be more like a natural motion of handwriting. But proponents of Pitman say that it is more logical and faster, although most people admit it is harder.

It is interesting to note that Gregg's system beat out Pitman's at precisely a time (the 1930s) when the great age of the fountain pen had ended and people had moved away from superflex nibs and studying ornamental Copperplate. Gregg argued strenuously that the "light-line" system was better, and in a way, he was right, inasmuch as people no longer had the penmanship skills that made learning Pitman so much easier in the 19th century.

In Germany they have another system that was originally invented by Franz Gabelsberger in the early 19th century. It uses shading differences a little, but less than in Pitman. It is based on highly abbreviated forms of longhand letters and is in many ways a brilliant invention. It spread to all of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and to Italy, but it never caught on in the English speaking world. In France, interestingly enough, there are two competing systems, one based on Pitman and another more like the Gabelsberger type. In the Spanish-speaking world a version of Pitman was once in use, but in Latin America the change to Gregg happened just as in the US.

You can buy all the vintage textbooks you want on shorthand on Ebay at very reasonable prices. Newer books can be bought, but anything written after 1950 is about equal in quality.

Both Pitman and Gregg have "dumbed down" versions that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s -- Pitman 2000 is the name of the Pitman one. These were invented because nobody wanted to spend a year or two learning shorthand anymore. Other systems, mentioned by other posters above, such as Forkner, Teeline, and Speedwriting, were also invented to meet the needs of people who wanted to take notes for themselves, but didn't aspire to take dictation or, for that matter, do verbatim reporting in a court setting.

But if you're an old die-hard like me with an eccentric interest in all things antique, learning the original "hard" shorthand is a great way to have fun with your pens and develop dexterity in writing. The best Pitman shorthand writers of the early 20th century were also excellent at writing Copperplate, and were masters at controlling the thick and thin lines needed to make that style look elegant.

It's also worth noting that Pitman changed his system several times and numerous variants were in use in the late 19th century. (Isaac Pitman had a brother, Benn, who introduced shorthand to the US, but when Isaac modified his system, Benn did not follow suit, so that if you buy an old Pitman textbook from the 1880s published in the US, it is likely to not teach anything like the "standard" Pitman shorthand). The last revision of Pitman was in the early 1920s and was called "New Era". The preceding revision was around 1900 and was called "Century". If you want to learn Pitman I would recommend learning New Era and buying only books that mention "New Era" or were published after 1922 or so.

Right now I use an Esterbrook LJ with nib 9128 (extra-fine flexible) for writing shorthand. I also have a Waterman "Fono" -- a pen that was commissioned by Pitman for writing shorthand. It has a fine, but not extra fine nib, and I prefer the extra-fine nib of the Esterbrook. I have recently bought a vintage Mabie Todd with extra-fine flex nib, and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

If you decide to study Pitman shorthand, and you have any questions, you can post them here and I will try to answer them.

#20 BillTheEditor

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 03:34

QUOTE (flaviano @ Sep 13 2008, 10:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've just joined the forum and I got interested in fountain pens because of Pitman shorthand which I am learning.

Are you teaching yourself from the books, or did you find a course or a tutor? I'm interested in learning Pitman for job purposes, and have an Esterbrook fitted with a 9128. Mostly I want to use Pitman instead of a DVR for making conference notes and doing interviews.




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