Pitman, Teeline, Speedwriting… and Gregg.

Pitman, Teeline, Speedwriting… and Gregg.

I though putting all those words in the subject heading would get some attention!  However this is really my hello to the group.  This might be long, but please stay with me for a while :O)

(Now, this is difficult for me as I am thinking of defecting from Pitman and I am not sure how my friend Ian in the UK might react after helping me get my hands on so many Pitman materials.  Hello Ian, are you reading this group?)

The Shorthand Nomad – My Story:

My name’s Michael and I’ve been a shorthand buff since school.  I don’t know how it is today, but way back in Soviet times (I’m writing from Russia) we had a form of dictation, where the teacher would read a story out loud, sometimes rather long, and you were required to write it back out from memory, as close to the original as possible.  Apart from being checked on grammar and stuff you were required to remember close to 100 percent of the story, sentence for sentence.  Of course I would get bad marks on this as I would only remember the first and sometimes the last word of the whole story, and roughly the plot, if there was one.  If it was one of those descriptive ‘the sun shone through the winter leaves’ pictures in words, I’d be done for.

Later on I heard of shorthand and I thought how neat it would be to secretly got the story down and to simply transcribe it afterwards.  I got my hand on a Russian shorthand book, but dropped it as the system did not appeal to me.  Russian uses a cursive system as words are very long.  The standard Russian system evolved from German, who happen to like long words as well.  Anyway, I never stuck to it.

I spent some time in Australia, so g’day to the Aussies on this forum!  Straight of a question to you guys.  Back in Narabundah college in Canberra I studied for a short while (i.e. when the week you can keep a library book for expired) a system, which today I would like to get a look at again, just for the nostalgia.  I don’t know what it is.  It’s a symbol system, but definitely not Pitman or Gregg or Teeline.  I can remember on feature – the sign for ‘the’ was a short downward dash, perpendicular to the line.  The book explained that using a dot for the most common word is a no-no as it is not simple at all to make a good dot quickly with a modern ball point.  So the next quickest mark was selected.  Do you or anybody else have an idea what system this might have been?

Anyway, a few years later when back in Moscow I found a copy of the original Anniversary book (the first printing with the publishing mistakes in it), as well as a copy of the Speed Studies.  Boy, was I a happy person!  To think, what kind of history these particular books had, having found their way to a book stall in Russia!  Any way I studied Gregg briefly for a while.

At one point I bought an encyclopedia of symbols book, which had an entry for shorthand.  It had three examples: Pitman, Gregg and Speedwriting.  I had no idea that shorthand systems could have inherent speed limits and I thought that the Speedwriting system looked simply so cool!  Again, a miracle happened, and I found some Speedwriting books in a used book shop in Moscow.  I studied that and learnt Speedwriting in stead.

Over the next few years, I would get bored with Speedwriting and start learning Gregg again.  Gregg looked beautiful in the textbook, but when I rote it, well, it wasn’t.  And when I tried adopting it to Russian it looked awful, as the squiggles would grow proportionately into squiggalissimos, to accommodate long Russian words.  I was working for an Australian company at that time, which had an office in Moscow and in London.  I learnt that the secretary in the London office used a shorthand system called Teeline.  I deducted that the ‘T’ would be represented by a short horizontal dash, which she confirmed over the phone once.  A few years later, I had a new job in sales in British Airways.  On my first visit to London I immediately bought myself a Teeline book.  Gawd, it was so much simpler to learn than even Speedwriting.  I used that system primarily afterwards.

However, once in a while I would switch back to Speedwriting, because I still though it looked cool.  I used speedwriting for making to do lists, and also Speedwriting is great for drawing mindmaps, if anyone’s into that sort of thing.

At one point, when shorthand stuff became more freely available on the internet I decided to go for the big one and learn what I though (maybe correctly) to be the most advanced and fastest system in the world – Pitman!  I have a huge amount of books, including ‘How to write Pitman at 240 wpm’ and ‘Three Men in a Boat’, written entirely in Pitman shorthand.  However, somehow I let my shorthand studies wane.  I bough a pocket PC and that had me occupied for half a year, then I switched jobs  - I now work for Emirates, you know the fastest growing, richest, most luxurious airline in the world.  Also, whenever I tried taking notes in shorthand, either I did not have a pencil or ballpoint pen at hand, or any lined paper.  So I used Teeline or Speedwriting.

Anyway, a week or so ago I stumbled on this group and the WONDERFUL http://n.1asphost.com/greggshorthand/index.shtml site.  I am now all enthusiastic about restarting my shorthand studies, but being a Shorthand Nomad, I keep spending hours choosing which system to learn to perfection.  I think I get some kind of sadistic pleasure from spending hours pondering which Shorthand to learn to perfection.  However this group and the new Gregg Shorthand site have seriously tilted my preferences to Gregg.

Interestingly, I find that I can easily read 50 to 70 percent of the shorthand text at the end of the Gregg Anniversary Manual.  But I can not read that far in any Pitman book.  I also love the idea of NOT needing any special pens or pencils and not needing any lines to write.  I’ve also noticed that my penmanship today is much better than so many years back, so my outlines finally look pleasing to the eye.  So why not do Gregg?

On the other hand, I have ALL these Pitman books.  And Pitman is much better suited to Russian.  I could really have a blast with Pitman, if I stick to it.

So here is my question:


Perhaps you can help me decide.

Anyhow, hope I’m welcome in the group.  Thank you for staying with me to the end of my long broadcast.

Nice to meet you everyone!

(by wordsigner for everyone)