Hi all :) I was wondering if there were any other "bilingual" stenographers here. Last week, I enrolled in a local legal college to study stenotype (Pheonix theory). I intend to become certified at 225wpm both in stenotype and Anniversay Gregg. The president of the college was delighted to learn that I write, since that's what got her started (she learned and used it in the 60s). The teachers all are familiar with it, though the head of the court reporting department has doubts that I could "keep up" in the 160-220wpm classes; I intend to prove her wrong ;)
My impression of stenotype so far is that it's rather sterile, kind of clunky, but efficient and fascinating. One major difference I notice is that while every word outline in Gregg seems to reflect the personality of its writer (my outlines are kind of airy-looking with long get-away strokes), in stenotype, a stroke is a stroke and is always translated one way. "L" will always be "L", not dipped or straighter/longer than other Ls, so it's kind of devoid of the art and personality pen-writing can have. The clunkiness and efficiency seem to be a paradox... multiple keys can be pressed at the same time to chord entire words/phrases, which is why it's so fast. I can write "exceed" with one stroke. The clunkiness comes in in just how many keys you have to press down to make some sounds, and how some things are done. Today for example I learned initial G and final J... each involves pressing four keys at once (two fingers each press two keys). So a word like "gauge" is "TKPWAEUPBLG". It's a nightmare for me to read back, but maybe that's because I'm still a newbie. There are many homonyms that must be learned separately for conflict-free translation, so sometimes it relies on spelling rather than phonetic conventions ("two" is "TWAO" for example, to avoid conflicting with "to" TAO and "too" TAO*).

Anyway, I plan to start a little Gregg group that meets during the lunch hour for people to chat and maybe pick up an old skill again. I've met several other students who say "Gregg is what got me into court reporting", but none of them use it any more. I think the two should compliment each other, since you obviously can't tote your stenotype wherever you might want to write quickly or secretly, but Gregg doesn't have the advantage of being transcribable real-time. Then again, technology is notorious for failing (I've heard a good number of students get their stenotype memories erased because of a connection error to the computer), and the only way Gregg can fail is a lack of skill, or a pen failure.
Anyway, if anyone's curious about specifics in stenotype, I'll try to answer as best I can :) I may be only a week in, but I'm two weeks ahead since my brain's used to shorthand already.

(by niftyboy1 for everyone)