During your reading break it is important to reflect both on the research you have conducted for your ZIP project, as well as prepare for our presentations, which will occur on January 28th and 29th. In order to do so, please complete a final
This year for ZIP, I asked the question: “what are the benefits and detriments of stenography as a note-taking medium?”. Shorthand is a convenient and versatile skill that used to be widespread, but isn’t anymore. I was keen to find out why it died out, and whether it is something that can help me now. Over the course of my research and practice, one particular question arose that would take another ZIP to answer. At the same time, my initial question did not change. Many issues complementary to shorthand helped me answer my initial question, but also activated my constructive criticism and need to improve these issues.
The major skill that I am still hoping to master is the ability to rapidly transcribe verbal information into stenographic words. In addition to that, I practiced refining notes by putting them into my own words and cutting out unnecessary information. By changing the language to make it my own, it is easier to read the stenography because it is not someone else’s work. I anticipate that writing in stenography will help me take notes in the future, especially in university lectures, interviews, and even when judging synchronized swimming. I will find myself in many situations where rapidly retaining information is required, but filming and recording aren’t appropriate. I want to have a time advantage over everyone else, so I can put more effort into making my notes detailed.
In progressing through the units of the manual, I enjoyed learning about the diversity of English pronunciation. Because Gregg is a phonetic system, there are different symbols for every way that you can pronounce a vowel. This is not the way that I learned English, because I used to think of each word only by how it’s written. The different pronunciations of vowels were something intrinsic that I never thought about. Phoenetic stenography required me to dissect each word into its separate parts. Looking at the language in this new way is interesting. In addition, the manual was written in both a British and American accent, which taught me more about how to use different vowels for a variety of purposes. On the contrary, vowels are taken out in common words in order to write them faster. The purpose of vowels is very interesting, because they contribute to the functionality of a word, but are not always the most necessary part. This information is useful to me because it gives me a better understanding of how language is made. It will also help me learn new languages on a structural level, instead of unconsciously learning the grammar through simple experience.
Lastly, I am constantly striving to improve the lifelong skills of time management and memorization. The ability to manage time is tied to many philosophical ideas and wise realizations that arise throughout life, and is not the product of singular responsibility. Hopefully, if I become very proficient in shorthand, I will take more notes because better and faster notes are worth the time. I may also go back to that information more frequently because it will be more detailed than my average notes. At the same time, good stenographic ability requires me to know many shortcuts for common words. By memorizing the most useful brief forms, I will gain speed while writing and improve my ability to memorize other things at ease.
Simplistically put, I learned a new writing system for the English language throughout this inquiry. I investigated whether this system (Gregg Shorthand) is worth learning despite the effort required to master it and keep it up. Throughout learning this system, I’ve encountered many problems that influence my opinion of it. For example, on the image below, one can notice that the right-motion strokes for the sounds S and TH are very similar, even though the sounds are not. When the strokes for X, O, and U are introduced, any little flaws are detrimental to the outcome of the word. As you can imagine, flaws are a common occurrence when arbitrary lines are scribbled at high speeds.
For a writing style that requires some effort to be legible, the addition of many abbreviations only makes it more tedious to work with. Oftentimes, most words will be shortened, which makes it impossible to comprehend the context if there are endless combinations of possible words for the presented symbols. For example, a line like ‘ds n rpli t y rqst o mr 5, svrl o r‘ is actually read as ‘Dear Sir: In reply to your request of March 5, several of our’. The Gregg manual that I used was very good at explaining all of the abbreviations, but I simply couldn’t memorize the vast amount of words presented to me. In order to complete the practice exercises later on in the book, the abbreviations must be adopted and committed to memory. My major problem with this requirement is that the words got more specialized as the chapters went on, eventually making them quite rare in our modern language and/or topic that is being written about. I felt that pointless memorization is unnecessary, so I compiled a small, alphabetized book of the abbreviations. I did not study any units above unit 20, as I learned the basic, most important skills at the beginning of the manual.
In the end, I believe that shorthand is a really cool skill that is very much worth learning if the learner is willing to put in the effort and look past its inconveniences. It is also a skill that should be regularly kept up and employed, as it is easy to forget and then lose the meaning of all previously created notes. The benefits of shorthand are speed, detail, and confidentiality. The detriments of shorthand include the style of the Gregg system, overwhelming abbreviations, and some difficulties with the ancient manual. Personally, I would like to keep on learning this skill because I feel it will come in handy.
For my final product, I will be taking notes on the Monday presentations. These notes will be the majority of my presentation on Tuesday, along with my practice notebook, and Gregg manual pdf. The Monday notes relate directly back to my inquiry question because they demonstrate the benefits and detriments that I experienced while scribing. I may try to read the notes to my listener, which will show how difficult and inaccurate shorthand can be. Because my main artifact is not made, I cannot include any textual evidence of its connection to the curricular competencies.
|Recognize and appreciate how different forms, formats, structures, and features of texts enhance and shape meaning and impact
||e.g. the use of vowels in shorthand can make us assume the nationality of the person writing
|Assess and refine texts to improve clarity and impact
||e.g. filter out unnecessary language from verbal information when transferring it onto a page
emphasize long words as being ‘keywords’ to the shortened text; keeping some words unabbreviated for clarity
|Apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, visual, and multimodal texts
||e.g. reading stenography requires special strategies such as knowing the alphabet and understanding words that are lacking vowels
While my original question didn’t change much, I am now curious as to how I can correct and adjust the Gregg method to be more precise. Non-phonetic systems such as Issac and Pitman are more angular than Gregg. I do not want to learn another type of stenography, so I will stick with Gregg and use it as I am comfortable with: leave out a bunch of abbreviations and exaggerate letters. I am excited to continue practicing this skill and presenting myself as especially odd to everyone around me. Mastery of it is simply a matter of practice and grit.
This is the Gregg Anniversary manual, which is the only Gregg version that I could find a manual for. Nonetheless, this is the stage in the development of the stenography where it is relatively simple and well thought out. Earlier than this it is likely underdeveloped and later it is overcomplicated. This book has very clear lessons, lists, and exercises.
This is the answer key: the only other necessary resource besides the manual. All of the answers are nicely organized by chapter. I enjoyed how easy it was to use both of these resources together.
This is a very comprehensive list of all the brief forms for common words. It is significantly more comprehensive than the one I have, but the words I chose are, on average, more common.
When tackling the problems of Gregg, I turned to this resource to compare Gregg to other systems of shorthand. There aren’t many resources left or entire manuals scanned for the other manuals, so this is one of the best lists that I could find.