Dutton Speedwords

(by johnsapp for everyone)
Relocated from General discussion.

From: Alex  (Original Message)
Sent: 11/18/2005 7:55 AM

So what does anyone on this group know about Dutton Speedwords?  I just acquired the text by Reginald J.G.Dutton, and it's fascinating . . . "Ordinary writing at Shorthand Speed", says the cover.
It's not exactly an alphabetic shorthand system.  The author has used Horn's study of word frequency, and for example the most commonly occurring words are represented by one letter, the second most common by 2 letters, etc.  For example, from the first lesson:
& = and
c = this
t = it
be = before
gu = good
ri = write
ze = send
Etc.  It's quite unusual.  You have to memorize 400+ of those "words" to use the system, plus there are a variety of principles, such as "A Speedword ending in a consonant adds -o to convey a contrary meaning, while one ending in a vowel adds -x."  So ax = question, axo = answer; de = day, dex = night; ov = over, ovo = under.
There's a whole "appendix" full of similar speed principles. 
The end of the book talks about a system of "Dutton Shorthand"  for anyone who's interested in "taking notes at verbatim speed in geometric shorthand."  No clue in the book what it's like.
(The book, "Teach Yourself Dutton Speedwords", was published in 1951.  Apparently there were other supplementary books and materials available.)
Just curious what anyone knows about this unusual system.

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From: Mark Sent: 11/18/2005 10:23 AM

Well, Alex, this is not exactly a shorthand system. It's a language of its own, based on English but also on other European languages. All the words are shortened and the grammar rules are regular and simple. Beware. It isn't plain English. You'll have to translate the words being dictated to use it as shorthand.

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From: Alex Sent: 11/18/2005 10:29 AM

It's definitely some sort of hybrid system.  The author is quite clear that it isn't exactly English.  For example, the Speedword for "a, an" is "u", from French "un".  And there's a section that talks about how it can be applied to any language.
There are shorthand-like principles included, however, such as techniques for showing word endings.  The -o or -x endings to show "opposition" are almost like the system that Esperanto uses. 
Very odd stuff.  I wonder if anyone really learned and used Dutton Speedwords.  Memorising "493 one-, two-, or three-letter word roots" seems daunting. 
And I'm also curious what the Dutton "geometric shorthand" system was like. 

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From: Mark Sent: 11/18/2005 10:40 AM
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From: Mark Sent: 11/18/2005 11:14 AM

This link might be interesting :