How do I learn shorthand?
August 12, 2008 6:46 AM   Subscribe

What are the best ways to learn shorthand?

I've been meaning to learn shorthand for a while. Are there any particularly good books, tips, resources, or sites that can speed up the process.

Plus, if there are different techniques, I'd like to know which is best. I know next to nothing about the topic, except that it would be awesome to learn.

If it makes a difference, I'm a lawyer. It would be a big help in client conferences.

The last thread was helpful, but there was a dearth of responses.
posted by reenum to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
This appears to be the entire text of a Gregg shorthand book (as opposed to the link in the other askme, which appears to have been hijacked by a Russian rape porn site. That was a bit of a surprise). Great question...I've been thinking about doing this.
posted by MsElaineous at 7:12 AM on August 12, 2008

Have you googled "how to learn shorthand"?

The first site returned looks pretty helpful.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:39 AM on August 12, 2008

I don't know much about Gregg shorthand, but Handywrite seems like it would be interesting. I tried learning it once, but wasn't sufficiently motivated to really learn it.

This is just a guess. I'm not an expert.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 7:56 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think the big thing to consider is do you want to others to be able to read your shorthand or not. If it's just you reading it, you don't need a formal style, just something you can remember.

Either way, find something you do when watching people talk, like watching TV and try to take dictation by writing in shorthand. That way you incorporate the training into what you do already instead of adding time to an already busy schedule.
posted by thebreaks at 8:50 AM on August 12, 2008

Response by poster: Everything I write would be my personal notes. So, it really doesn't matter whether someone else can read it.
posted by reenum at 9:18 AM on August 12, 2008

I learned Gregg shorthand in high school (Gawd, I'm old), and refined it at my first job in the outside world. 20+ years later, I still lapse into shorthand to take notes.

Repetition is your friend. Get one of those shorthand notebooks from your office supply room and put it to good use. Think of it pretty much like learning to write all over again. At the beginning, concentrate on form and proportion. Once you're in the swing of it; you can let your "style" take over.

By all means, take thebreaks' suggestion and take dictation from the TV; but don't get discouraged - it will take awhile to build up to the average speech speed of ~120 words/min. It will be much easier when you're taking notes; because mostly you will be recording key points; not verbatim conversation.
posted by xena at 10:34 AM on August 12, 2008

Best answer: I picked up a Gregg shorthand book from the 60s or 70s on Ebay a while back. I chose Gregg after doing some research on the development and refinement of competing methods. These inventors devoted their lives to this quest; I couldn't imagine developing an idiosyncratic style with anywhere near the perfected ergonomics on my own.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:27 AM on August 12, 2008

Best answer: Seconding Xena - repetition is the key to learning shorthand. I learned Gregg in high school, too, and still use it regularly to take notes while on the phone, etc.

Here is something of an online primer. As I recall, we were taught by first learning four or five letters (usually within a similar group), and then the teacher would call them out randomly and we'd write them down, while she recited faster and faster. Then we'd learn another group, practice the same way and then combine them with the first group.

Use a Gregg ruled steno pad for practice, and first write only left to right in the first "column" (up to the center vertical line). When you reach the bottom of the page, begin up top in the right-hand column. (It's easier to build speed this way and also easier to read what you've written.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:23 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Practice practice practice. Pitman shorthand was a requirement for my journalism MA; it's incredibly versatile, and there aren't too many rules to learn, but you won't get anywhere with Pitman (or Gregg or Teeline) without a LOT of practice. I feel bad because I let things slide after my degree and I can't remember any of it now. But I still have the book, so maybe one day...
posted by macdara at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2008

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