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SHORTHAND

SHORTHAND, also stenography. A method of WRITING rapidly by substituting special characters, symbols, and ABBREVIATIONS for letters, words, or phrases, and used for recording the proceedings of legislatures and testimony in courts of law, dictation for business correspondence, and note-taking by journalists and others. Cicero's orations, Luther's sermons, and Shakespeare's plays were all preserved by means of shorthand; Samuel Pepys used it to keep his diary, Charles Dickens used it as a reporter in the London law courts and Parliament, and Bernard Shaw wrote his plays in it. There are two basic systems of shorthand: orthographic, based on standard letters, and phonetic, seeking to represent speech sounds directly. Also involved are the use of arbitrary symbols and abbreviations to facilitate speed, comparable to the use of & for and and etc. for etcetera in longhand.

In 1837, in England, Isaac PITMAN launched his phonetic system, Stenographic Sound-Hand, which classified sounds in a scientific manner and introduced abbreviations for the sake of speed. Made up of 25 single consonants, 24 double consonants, and 16 vowel sounds, its principles include the use of the shortest signs for the shortest sounds, single strokes for single consonants, simple geometrical forms, and pairing consonants (one written more lightly, as for f, the other more heavily, as for v). Revised versions of this system are widely used throughout the English-speaking world and are predominant in Australia, New Zealand, and India. In 1888, John Robert Gregg published his Light-Line Phonography, a system that he took to the US, where it became the dominant medium, although Pitman's Shorthand is widely used there and is predominant in Canada. Gregg Shorthand is also phonetic, but the characters are based on elements of ordinary longhand, vowels are shown by circles and hooks, and curving motions are used throughout to ease movement. It also employs abbreviations, blended consonants, and affix forms to enable the writer to gain speed. Systems developed in the 20c use longhand symbols for most or all letters, and include: Baine's Typed Shorthand (1917), Speedwriting (1923, 1951), HySpeed Longhand (1932), Abbreviatrix (1945), Quickhand (1953), Stenoscript (1955), and Carter Briefhand (1957). The advantages of orthographic systems are relative ease of learning and transcription, the disadvantage loss of speed; the advantages of phonetic systems are speed and ease of transcription, the disadvantage difficulty of learning.

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"SHORTHAND." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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shorthand

shorthand, any brief, rapid system of writing that may be used in transcribing, or recording, the spoken word. Such systems, many having characters based on the letters of the alphabet, were used in ancient times; the shorthand of Tiro, Cicero's amanuensis, was used for centuries. Modern systems date from 1588, when Timothy Bright published his 500-odd symbols for words; a French system was developed by Jacques Cossard in 1651, a German one in 1679. In 1602, Rev. John Willis published the Arte of Stenographie; there followed dozens of systems before 1837, when the shorthand of Isaac Pitman appeared. This, with improvements, is in wide use in English-speaking countries today; it is perhaps the most rapid shorthand system and is favored by many court and convention reporters. The Pitman system makes use of shading (a line heavily drawn has a meaning different from that of the same line lightly drawn) and of differences in slope and position on a given line; it is geometric in outline and is difficult to master but makes possible very great speed. John Robert Gregg (1867–1948) in 1888 published a popular system of business shorthand that is still in use today. Its outlines are curved and natural, resembling those of ordinary script; need for lifting the pen was eliminated as much as possible, so that a cursive motion is used; there is no shading, but variation in length of line indicates variation in meaning. The outlines were scientifically worked out for simplicity and writing ease. Other shorthand systems employ shortened forms of longhand, e.g., Speedwriting, used where legibility is the principal concern. On the Continent, F. X. Gabelsberger (Germany) and Émile Duployé (France) originated widely used systems; in South America and Canada, the Sloan-Duployan shorthand is favored. Rapid writing with shorthand machines has also developed. Use of keyboard machines such as the Stenotype or Stenograph machines is extensive in courts of law and other places where great speed, silence, and portability of equipment are essential in recording speech; such machines are now computerized, with the transcribed text appearing on a small display screen. Even though now virtually all offices use computers and word-processing software for correspondence, shorthand continues to have a role in business.

See H. Glatte, Shorthand Systems of the World (1959); L. A. Leslie, The Story of Gregg Shorthand (1964); J. R. Gregg, Gregg Shorthand Dictionary (1972).

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shorthand

shorthand System of writing, used to record speech quickly. Phonetic shorthand systems first appeared during the 18th century, and the most famous system, Pitman's shorthand, was published in 1837. All the sounds of the English language are represented by 49 signs for consonants and 16 signs to indicate vowels. The Gregg system of phonetic shorthand, widely taught in the USA, has a script based on ordinary writing.

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shorthand

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