Review of Shorthand Dictation Studies

 And some early remarks on Gregg Speed Building for Colleges

Carlos has previously recommended Shorthand Dictation Studies by Wallace B. Bowman as a good text for the shorthand student who is just entering the intermediate realm. I wholeheartedly endorse this suggestion.

This volume is truly excellent for any number of reasons. The quality of the reading material, the vocabulary / phrasing drills, and the outlines, along with additional tools for things like making corrections during dictation, and "striking out" parts that the dictator has withdrawn--which I think are still useful today for situations like classroom lectures.

Plurals and derivatives, too often missing in the dictionary, manual or other beginner-level texts, are given much needed emphasis. And many outlines and phrases are repeated for extra review.

The outlines are well-constructed, neat and legible. The plate writer is not identified, but the style pays due respect to the ideal defined by Winifred Kenna Richmond.

To top it off, all the words and phrases are indexed at the end of the book, providing an extremely useful reference to supplement the dictionary. And the book was published in both an Anniversary and Simplified edition.

Anyone ready to take the leap into intermediate study could hardly do better than to start with Mr. Bowman's book.

. . .

Although I'm only about 15% through Gregg Speed Building for Colleges (1943), it's not too early to share a few observations.

The book has much to commend it with vocabulary studies grouped to expound specific principles of word construction, and the phrasing studies are out of this world! Good reading material, along with useful pointers for the attainment of accuracy and speed. These by themselves make it a must for eventual study.

I have one reluctant criticism. Mr. Zoubek wrote the plates for this book, and surprisingly I find a considerable amount of his work rather disappointing. Not that it's that bad overall, but there are times when his proportions are just atrocious.

This is quite ironic, as I went through Functional Method Dictation first--where his outlines are more "real world," to borrow Carlos's phrase. Yet I almost never had any problem reading his outlines. I found it rather quite instructive! Not so with GSBfC.

Perhaps he was just better suited to that type of writing--not that that's a bad thing. In the present volume it's as if he's trying to write like Mrs. Richmond and it just doesn't work.

Fortunately it doesn't really detract from the book's undeniable usefulness, but in my opinion it is a sufficient reason for recommending Mr. Bowman's book first.

Sadly, the GSBfC book has no vocab/phrase index, which considerably diminishes its value as a reference. The first Anni Speed Building book in 1932 wasn't nearly as comprehensive as the Colleges book, but at least it had an index--and Mrs. Richmond as plate writer.  :-)