Shhhh, Don’t Tell

I’ve switched shorthand methods again. For those not following, last summer I had committed to the most difficult edition of Gregg Shorthand, namely Anniversary. It’s also the one with the highest speed potential, if you use the advanced tricks and really work at it.

(And I bet you didn’t know there were different types of shorthand, let alone editions within each type! Trust me, there are, and I’ve tried most of them. Each has pros and cons, so it depends on what you want to use it for. Gregg has the best online group, it’s the first I tried as a teenager, and I like the way it looks.)

I was about half done Anni, depending on how you counted, enough to know it’s too frustrating for me. It assumes from day one that you want to reach court reporter speeds, where the person talks at his normal speed and you have to keep up, so it has all sorts of time-saving tricks. A lot of information is left out, so you need to rely on context. Some things are subtle, at least unless you’ve learned earlier chapters very, very well. Also, many of the brief forms are words that haven’t been used in over a century, but they don’t have them for words that are common. (Eventually, when more confident, I would have exchanged the meanings, but all the practice material uses the standard forms.)

I’m not comfortable leaving information out, or relying on subtle things. Yes, I’ve read material that does this. You get used to reading sentences twice and filling things in, like listening to a toddler or someone with a strong accent. But I want comfort.

I finally switched to Simplified (which isn’t all that simple compared to even later versions). It starts with a slightly  more modest goal, so there are fewer “tricks” in the core theory. Yes, pure Simplified maxes out about 50 wpm slower than pure Anni, but I’m not interested in those speeds. I’ll be very happy with a reliable 100wpm. (That’s enough to be a journalist in the UK. Court reporters need 225 wpm. Championship speed is 250 to 280, depending on the system and contest. There was a lot of competition between systems, and some sponsored their own contests. One claimed their writer could maintain 500wpm for several hours, which is faster than an auctioneer talks.)

The alphabet is the same for all editions of Gregg. The main differences are the order of presentation and the tricks, although the first few lessons are similar. If you can read the hardest, you can read all of them. It’s fairly easy to upgrade as well. Most high speed writers use a combination of systems, and their own tricks as well.

I’m 1/6 done writing out the new theory chapters already. I was planning on doing dictation for every chapter, but that adds half an hour or more, times 70 chapters is 35 more hours. On the other hand, if I were taking it in high school, they’d expect 100 hours in class and another 100 at home, and at the end of those 200 hours you take new material at 85wpm. We’ll see how it goes.

Don’t tell the Gregg group, though, at least not until I’m at least as far in the new one as I was in the old one.



5 Responses

  1. I wish you luck

    Its a shame Anniversary didn’t work out for you. I’ve been learning Anni for the last six months, (and I’m from the gregg group but I won’t tell), and have managed a really good speed, partly because for the first few months I was on holidays and nothing got in my way in my conquest of Gregg.

    Simplified people will tell you is still quite a strong system and with practice can get you verbatim speeds.


    • Re: I wish you luck

      LOL, I guess I shouldn’t have put the system name in there! We fans are starved for stuff to read about it.

      I may have just hit a plateau with Anni, but I’ve seen too many sentences where even context doesn’t make it clear. “I give my all for my Count/Country.”

      Yep, Simplified is strong, especially compared to the alphabetic systems. It’s unlikely I’ll get fast enough that Simplified’s limits will hold me back. If it does, I’ve still got all the Anni materials. Once I’ve finished Simplified, I intend to re-read the Anni book and do a careful comparison of pre/suffixes and brief forms. I suspect most of them are the same.

  2. Where can I read pros and cons of gregg, teeline and pitman to decide which method will best suit me?

    • In my blog, June through August 2007. Also try the MSN Gregg shorthand group.

      Look at the time you are willing to invest, the type and speed of dictation you expect; 10 hours study per 10wpm is reasonable, with a minimum of 20-50 hours to learn all the theory.

      Does your (future) employer care? US court reporters need machine shorthand so they can get transcriptions done faster, although the rules claim you can use any method that’s fast enough. British journalists need TeeLine. Pitman rules in India.

      Will you be using it frequently? If not, go for one that puts in more information, at the expense of speed.

      Also see whether you enjoy the look of the final product. You’ll be seeing a lot of it! Try tracing it — do you enjoy writing the shapes?

      Do you do well with just a text, or need a mentor or teacher or group of enthusiasts?
      Some methods have online courses. Beware of online courses — I saw one where the teacher didn’t know there were significant difference between editions. The MSN Gregg group is really enthusiastic and helpful.

      Once you choose system, there’s still edition. In general, the older ones have higher memory loads, and higher speed potential.*FKZ4cUGs2kXaT4jOVmPZHw7u8Db7au4D3SvfQfrwLsbsrwFuBG0Q7oKEoHh4YH0zpnfTV8byJR7KuAFJAWcPrxbg24I0okzDRI8vNskzyuyrzw7diOafqPWclqkKksx!15qc$&p=93dZFZf2eEE29XTVFboNB7gW3pDtovOg3*Oo*80D1clMiqiYH1yIF9G0YeJOChbRownBn3XH2!xKvehf5t26*r0PFymoz2QccP2WGyr4dzOeOZ0B4yPCWBYg4GeAx5Y!U*B0OXjsrC7izxTILdX!IGexS8XcsUtSQaOP0l9uyviMWgAdZNnTH7Wu*dNJiPxWog879G0InLVvTaJ6FmG4iXPLEUG00NaMDd shows the Gregg editions. The basic alphabet is the same, but the older ones use more shortcuts.

      Let me know if this helps, or if you want more information.


      • thanks!!!

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