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A Very Useful Skill

I taught myself Pitman’s shorthand, years ago, and have used it ever since for taking notes at meetings and on the phone and, occasionally, for making a private note, since so few people seem to be able to read it, these days. It is possible to take a shorthand note and look at the person I am talking to, at the same time.

 

The basic idea is that the shorthand represents the sounds, not spellings, of words. If speed were not an issue, to ensure legibility you would write on lined paper, with a sharp pencil or thin nibbed pen, because the thickness of each line determines the sound it represents, as does its position in relation to the line. The third ingredient is a series of dots and dashes. In practice, if you are writing fast, most of the latter get missed out and you may not have lined paper, so interpreting what you have written is harder. As a final hurdle, you can learn standard short form symbols for common words (or words which were common when Mr Pitman devised his system! (My favourite of these is possibly “incandescent” which, these days, is not exactly on everyone’s lips.) You don’t need to know these, to write shorthand, but you won’t be able readily to read back someone else’s, if they use them but you do not.

 

I should be interested in seeing whether anyone on EP can read shorthand, so I have reproduced an extract from a story below, in order to see whether there are others with this skill around. It is on lined paper and most of the dots etc have been included to make things easier! Sorry it's a bit small, as reproduced by EP!

 

 

 

sichtbar sichtbar 46-50 15 Responses Sep 26, 2009

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Thank you, owrelax. You make your points really well.



I recently heard a remarkably clear recording of Pitman himself (born 1813). He had it done when he was nearly 80, because he could not attend a dinner and make a speech. They could listen to the recording instead! That was a remarkably far sighted thought by someone so old, when recorded sound was in its infancy. The actual content was good, too.

That is an interesting thread......... good detective work by one, at least.



Now, not only is there a need for that to come back in case of a possible disaster, electrical failure, but also because we have so little of our privacy left these days...



It' s almost like prescription painting. The artist puts it on canvas, and certain strokes , pressures and colors would tell the story line. I liked that little piece of your mind shared with us...



Thank you , Sir Zultfrog -

Yes, Gregg was an option, jimdean001. I still find shorthand is useful for taking notes at meetings, not least because I can look at a person while I write it; and jotting down points made in phone calls. There is also an element of privacy. So few people can read it, these days. The days when secretaries took dictation from their bosses must be long gone, by now!

Many years ago I learned Gregg Shorthand. Had two years of it in high school when I thought I was going to follow a career in news photography. Dropped that idea and never used the shorthand at all. At one time in business shorthand was quite useful. Then Dictaphones and tape recorders came along and made all that hard learning totally unnecessary. Now, digital recorders have made the other recorders useless.

Many years ago I learned Gregg Shorthand. Had two years of it in high school when I thought I was going to follow a career in news photography. Dropped that idea and never used the shorthand at all. At one time in business shorthand was quite useful. Then Dictaphones and tape recorders came along and made all that hard learning totally unnecessary. Now, digital recorders have made the other recorders useless.

Absolutely brilliant, wakeshoe!!!!! The only wrong word is "concurred". It was actually "conquered". I had forgotten what a good piece of writing this was - not mine, of course, but by an EP member, in a story.



I have only come across one other EP member able to read shorthand. She sent me a poscard in shorthand, recently. Thank you for making the effort to read this and for doing it so well.

Let me try it again



"You are my every heartbeat, my every breath of life. What I need to survive and make it through this lonely world could only be concurred with you in my life. I do not think there are any words that could describe the way I really feel about you. All I know is that you are the only man that is on my mind, the only man that is in my soul, the only man who truly and indefinately has my heart for my lifetime, but I know that what we have may be saving and think just for a day, a month, a year or if ever I will accept what time will be given to us."

Hey, I am really happy that at least someone is excited about shorthand as i am. I can read shorthand and i will try and interpret what you have written, as much as i can :-



"You are my every heartbeat, my every breath of life. What I need to survive and make it through this lonely world could only be concurred with you in my life. I do ___ them there are no words that could describe the way I really feel about you. All I know is that you are the only man who is on my mind, the only man who truly and indefinately has my heart for my lifetime, but I know that you would _____ have maybe save ad think just for a day, a length, a sea or everything I will ask that time will be given to us."



I tried my best though i got stuck in some places

Well, LordV, if I could learn it, I'm sure you can. Amy, Duchess has actually quoted some of the text, whch was taken (without permission!), from a rather beautiful story on EP.

oh wow i wonder what did u write!

Wow! self taught,



I wish I could read shorthand, but maybe someday.

Brilliant, Duchess! Had I offered a prize, you would have won it! I am glad that there at least a few people around who can still read it. It is a very useful skill. I was listening to a conversation about it less than 2 hours ago - as to whether it still had any point, when there are small recorders which can pick everything up.



FG - I transcribed an extract from one of your stories, to create the example!

I have no clue what you wrote. I learned alphahand.

LOL Nobody has said they can read what I wrote, yet. I should have offered a prize to the first person able to do so, or said that the content was incredibly interesting!

these squiggles look just like my longhand.



hehehe

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