Request: can anyone make sense of these glyphs/symbols?
December 2, 2019 8:28 PM   Subscribe

This was written by a person now incommunicado. Any idea what was said, if anything? It may be written in some form of shorthand.

Here is a photograph

This may be shorthand, though perhaps awkward or unskilled -- or may mean nothing -- though it appears purposeful.

Thanks. I have little information -- asking for a friend.
posted by lathrop to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It could, at a bit of a stretch, be Teeline shorthand, though that’s usually done on a line, because the placing of different strokes relative to the line changes their meaning. Without lines, and if I had to try an interpret it as Teeline I’d say it was someone practicing or demonstrating individual symbols (rather than actually noting down a sentence as it’s said). And probably someone not super-skilled. Interpreting someone else’s Teeline is always hit and miss, because we all adapt it so much, but my best guess would be that those symbols say:

* Apparently is
* This
* Has this
* [not sure] (in Teeline you miss our some, though not all, vowels when writing and reinsert them on reading/translation, and this could be a string like hshdr, esedr, hsedr, eshdr)
* Surprised

So I’d say more likely Pitmans, or something else entirely. But juuust possibly someone either teaching or practicing Teeline.
posted by penguin pie at 1:54 AM on December 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

It looks like someone trying to figure out a way to draw the alphabet with some constraints - single pen stroke, adding loops and not backtracking. That's my take because those look like I J K (that's the one that's the biggest reach) and L. And then on the next line they are rethinking the I.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:57 AM on December 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Maybe it is a substitution cipher they made up. Reminds me of the secret alphabet I used to send love letters in high school.
posted by luk at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2019

Looks like Gregg shorthand to me. I'm way too rusty to make out what it says, but the strokes are super-reminiscent of Gregg - though not Gregg done with any degree of proficiency; the strokes are way too deliberate for that.
posted by WaywardPlane at 6:07 PM on December 3, 2019

I know Gregg, and I really don’t think that’s it. Some of the lines are kind of like the lines in Gregg, but nothing there seems to make sense as a word using Gregg, even when I try to use Gregg symbols that are only kind of close to these.

Anyone know Pitman?
posted by FencingGal at 6:33 PM on December 3, 2019

I know Pitt very well, and that's not Pitt. Don't think it Gregg either. Maybe it's just random jotting?
posted by james33 at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2019

I would also lean towards random jotting. The stroke directions don't make sense as someone writing a language, it seems there are strokes added after the fact, like someone experimenting with shapes. Look at the last glyph on the page, the perpendicular lines were drawn, and the curve connecting them added after the fact.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:37 PM on December 10, 2019

I'm guessing a simple alphabetic substitution code :-)
posted by sneakysock at 4:43 AM on December 22, 2019

Thanks, all. I am inclined to take it as distracted doodling of cursive character-like somethings. Looking at a Gregg shorthand dictionary made that seem less likely.
posted by lathrop at 11:01 AM on February 4

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