How to Write Shorthand by lfsmj2010


									How to Write Shorthand
Shorthand is a method of speed-writing that substitutes a line or symbol
for a certain sound or letter, much like hieroglyphics.
Though its practical benefits are disappearing with modern technology,
the ability to write shorthand has a variety of advantages. You will have
a unique skill that few others have, and which can save you time when
taking notes by hand. Since it is so rare, it can even serve as a secret
code if you want to keep your notes private!
The following steps will get you started on the road to mastering this
dying art.


Deciding Which System of Shorthand to Learn
1Learn about the various types of shorthand, and consider the following
factors: Level of difficulty, notable features, and aesthetics. This will
help you decide which system will be most beneficial for you. The
following are the most well-known forms of shorthand today:<Pitman.First
presented by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837. Notable features: phonetic
(records the sound of a letter or word rather than its spelling);
utilizes thickness and length of strokes; symbols consist of dots, lines
and dashes; system of abbreviations within Pitman shorthand.[1]Level of
Gregg.Introduced by John Robert Gregg in 1888. Notable features: phonetic
(records the sound of a letter or word rather than its spelling);
utilizes hooks for vowels and circles for consonants.[2]Level of
Teeline.Developed in 1968 by James Hill as an easier alternative to
traditional shorthand. Notable features: based on letters rather than on
phonetics; most closely resembles the English alphabet.[3]Level of

2Determine your preferred method of learning. If you learn best in a
structured classroom setting, consider taking a formal course on
shorthand. If you are a quick learner and prefer to learn independently,
you may be able to teach yourself.
3Consider inventing your own form of shorthand. If learning a traditional
method of shorthand seems too daunting, or if you are feeling
particularly creative, consider inventing your own form of abbreviated

Taking a Course
1See whether your local community college or university offers courses in
shorthand. Classes will help you learn shorthand in a structured setting,
and you will meet other students with whom you can practice and test your
2Find a tutor. If you prefer one-on-one training, a private tutor is a
great option. Though it can be expensive, working with a tutor is one of
the fastest ways to learn a skill because you will get immediate feedback
on your mistakes.
3Consider an online course. There are many shorthand courses available
online, some of which are free of charge. Many of them include
interactive elements like practice tests, chat rooms, and study rooms
that will facilitate your learning experience. Search the internet to
find a reputable website that suits your needs.
4Set a schedule to keep your memory fresh. This step is crucial, since
learning shorthand depends so heavily on memorization. Whether you have
decided to take an online course or use a private tutor, make sure you
are practicing shorthand multiple times per week. If your class or
tutoring session meet only once a week, devote time outside of class to
practicing and studying.

Doing it Yourself
1Find a manual, dictionary, and/or book on whichever system of shorthand
you have chosen to learn. There are many books available on how to teach
yourself shorthand. These can be found in bookstores, libraries, or
2Memorize the symbols. Go through the entire alphabet and learn the
symbol for each letter or sound, depending on which type of shorthand you
are studying.
3Use flashcards to improve and test your memorization. Since shorthand
requires a lot of memorization, flashcards will serve as a great tool to
help you remember which symbol represents which letter, word, or sound.
4Do the practice exercises that come in your book, if there are any.
These were designed by professionals to help you learn quickly and
5Practice writing in shorthand using your book as a guide. Until you have
completely memorized the shorthand alphabet, practicing writing it will
help you build intuition and understand the language more deeply than
simply using flashcards alone.
6Read shorthand. Just as with any other language, reading and
understanding shorthand will improve your ability to write it.
7Test yourself. Using the flashcards you have made, ask a friend to test
you on your knowledge.

Inventing Your Own Shorthand
1Abbreviate words, especially if they are very long. Make sure that when
you go back and read your notes, however, you will know what word you
were abbreviating.
2Eliminate pronouns. For note-taking, pronouns are often unnecessary if
the subject is already known. For example, "She likes cooking" becomes
"Likes cooking."
3Substitute numbers for words. This is a simple way to save you time. For
example, the number 2 can be used in the place of the words "to, too, and
4Use initials in the place of a person's entire name.
5Use your imagination! If you want your language to be difficult to
decode, you will have to get creative. Come up with substitutions that
don't make sense, or that aren't already commonly used. Consider using
symbols to write your own unique alphabet, and then memorize it and keep
a copy on hand.<

If you are taking shorthand notes in class or in a courtroom, write key
words in the left-hand margin of your page for easy reference.
If you miss a certain word when taking down a dictation, continue writing
and leave a space or mark for where the missing word will go; when you
have finished the sentence, go back and write the word in. This will help
keep up your speed.
Make sure you are using the right pen and paper for the type of shorthand
you are learning. Most shorthand teachers recommend using a fountain pen.
Since shorthand is about speed, make sure you are not pressing down too
hard with your pen. This will make your hand achey and tired more
quickly, and slow down your writing.

<Sources and Citations

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