Shorthand (Google Plus
"A place for pen shorthand enthusiasts from all over the world."
Newly created April 2014, discussing all systems, both present and
past. Writer based in Moscow, Russia.
www.shorthand.mkz.com/default.html General points on the system, a simplified and entertaining
introduction to the general principles before you start your
Pitman's Shorthand learning in earnest. Writer based in Ontario,
pen shorthand, mainly Gregg but everyone welcome. History, tips and
good advice from a shorthand enthusiast, and an especially
interesting page comparing shorthand writer versus tape recorder.
Offers Pitman's New Era Shorthand transcription service for those
intriguing undeciphered texts or old journals you may have lying
http://shorthandtranslations.com Translations from Gregg by Ms
Letha Sanders and staff, based in Colorado USA. Their related
www.shorthandclasses.com is aimed at encouraging learners and
contributors, to promote interest in shorthand of all types.
alphabet replacement, based on the same character-shortening
principles as Teeline. There are no rules, it is 100% legible and
accurate, with negligible learning time. You can double your writing
speed almost instantly. Journalists without shorthand and students
of all ages would benefit hugely. Worth a try by those with hand
problems e.g. stiffness, cramp, as there is less to write and
neatness can be maintained. It may also possibly help those with
poor sight, as the characters are plainer. Free to use but please
Ford Shorthand sample.
I wish I had known something like this in my schooldays!
http://lataquigrafia.blogspot.co.uk/ Promoting Spanish version
of Pitman's Shorthand, with many links to articles of interest.
Author based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Written in Spanish but accessible through Google's translate option.
blog.stenografia.pl All aspects of shorthand - description,
history, current uses, and an invitation to help the author create
an efficient shorthand system for the Polish language.
Written in Polish but accessible through Google's translate option.
Author has devised his own shorthand, based on Pitman's, both in
English and Hindi, and is active in promoting the learning of
shorthand and associated office skills, to create and increase
employment prospects. He aims to further develop Sanskrit shorthand.
Self-learning books offered for those who are unable to take
advantage of other forms of instruction. Writer based in New Delhi,
Adaptation of Pitman's Shorthand to Hindi language, published in
1925, but bear in mind it may be based on pre-New Era Pitman's.
Introduction in English and remainder in Hindi characters. Read
– generally scholarship and research purposes only
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The are many shorthand sites and articles to be
found but no website alone can replace professional tuition and
graded instruction books – the best route to gaining a
good working skill in shorthand. If you come across a
less-than-encouraging blog about the "difficulties" of shorthand,
please remember that the initial frustrations do pass as you work through
the lessons and build your skill, and they should not be allowed to
deflect you from your goal. You can easily learn in months, not
"years" as is often quoted, if you apply yourself to it
methodically. Demolish the distractions and share the
victories, rather than the other way around!
LinkedIn shorthand discussion
Shorthand writers on their use and experiences of shorthand. (I
believe "Classic" refers to New Era)
Teeline Shorthand's Blog by
Many interesting shorthand articles with good advice on learning and
exam technique, useful for students of all systems.
Hold The Front Page
www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk Everything of interest to the
would-be journalist, with an occasional shorthand article.
Up To Speed Journalism
accredited journalism training and fast-track Teeline shorthand
courses, based in Bournemouth UK – students' accomplishments are
always an encouragement to learners of all shorthand systems, and a
reminder that the skill is still valued and necessary.
Encouraging short article by a Teeliner with tips for success.
Brighton University journalism
Article and informative 8-minute NCTJ Youtube video on the
importance of learning shorthand for journalists
Shorthand Sue Teaches Teeline
Six informative YouTube videos on Teeline basics, produced
for Journalism course at Liverpool John Moores University.
Stanislav Sarman has created programmes to convert text into Pitman
2000 or Gregg.
The online facility to convert samples is no
longer available as of 2013 (originally on the website of Clausthal
University of Technology). If you should happen to find it relocated
elsewhere, I would be interested to know. (Re the Pitman version,
please note that it is not 100% accurate,
and therefore should not be used to actually learn the system, as
the learner will not know which are the incorrect outlines. Outlines
that it cannot produce are displayed as a shorthand question mark.)
Text to Pitman2000 conversion A
Pitman 2000 writer has created a program to carry out this
conversion, and has given permission for a sample to be included
here. The text of "Desiderata" is public domain since 1976 and can
be found online, but the shorthand sample remains the copyright of
the conversion program author.
Click the thumbnail to get the full
See Blogspot Downloads page for
MP3 dictations of all my Blogspot articles.
Stopwatch, countdown, metronome and various timers. If you count down
for one minute and repeat a line-length sentence of shorthand down
the page, you can find out your speed with minimal amount of
calculating - words in sentence times lines completed. Create a
sentence with all your favourite flowing outlines and phrases to get
maximum confidence-boosting wpm!
"The world's oldest society of shorthand
writers" This society has been going since 1898 and meets at
the Bishopsgate Institute in London. They offer live weekly
dictation, speed examinations for both typewriting and shorthand (any system, from
50 wpm to 280 wpm), and a quarterly IPS Journal.
Writers of all shorthand systems are welcome, and membership and
visitor's fees are minimal. When you visit their website, I am quite
sure you will like the (Pitman's) shorthand in their logo, as it
will help you add to your list of useful contractions!
"The podcast website for people learning English"
Learning combined with enjoyment in a non-commercial Ipod-friendly
site dedicated to improving English comprehension. Points of
language are illustrated within interesting, informative and topical
articles, along with photograph, some of the words linked to a
dictionary, and some linked to other websites for further
exploration of the subject matter. You can also listen online (3 to
5 minutes each) or download MP3. There is an archive of past
articles and if you save both the text and the MP3s, you will have a
huge store of good quality dictation material and you can improve
speed and speech simultaneously. The conversational tone will
provide plenty of practice on the most common words, but not letting
you off some shorthand dictionary work. The voice is English male
and is clearly spoken. The average speed of the podcasts is
approximately 120 wpm. Author: Peter Carter of Birmingham, UK. See
"TED is a non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth
This stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design. The website has
videos of on-stage one-person talks at their conferences, up to 18
minutes, on many subjects in depth. The contributors seem well-used
to public speaking, with clear enunciation. Some videos give the
choice to display subtitles, and some have an interactive transcript
which you can use to prepare and look up outlines. The videos can be
downloaded in a choice of formats. These talks are more suited to
the faster shorthand writer, but the occasional pause for audience
effect or when pointing to pictures is of course greatly
BBC World Service
www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish Lots of varied
articles to read and listen to, as well as download, in crisp clear
BBC English. General interest articles as well as explanations on
points of language.
Free dictation sounds
files to use online or download, speeds 40wpm to 230 wpm, plus word
all keyboarders, typists and shorthand writers, to
help improve speed, skill and vocabulary. American voices.
Lots of audio from 80 to 225 wpm. American female voice.
Steno (machine) shorthand site full of further links to dictation
material in a wide range of speeds, all with steno in mind but
useful to pen shorthand writers, as the speeds are stated, and
common words/word groups can be practised. American voices.
dictation videos (some multi-voice) for steno students, for which
you will have to log in to the site.
www.youtube.com/user/walandnoah Many videos giving fast
dictation for steno students. American male voice.
Ten dictations from 1 to 4 mins, downloadable individually or
zipped. Very clear American male voice. The Archive Community Audio
section is worth investigating – radio talks, news items, speeches,
etc – but they are unlikely to be spoken slowly.
http://teelineshorthand.org/dictationpractice.aspx Six dictations from 50 to 100 wpm, to enable you to gauge
your existing speed capability, plus links to other dictation
possibilities. English female voice.
www.pitmanlondon.co.uk/shorthandspeed Page contains 223 audio
tracks at speeds 40 to 130 wpm, all can be downloaded individually
using "Save Link As...". There is also a PDF giving excellent and
on speed training techniques, well worth reading by learners of any system.
English male and female voices.
Lots of dictations of isolated
words, short sentences/letters/passages at very slow speeds (30-50
wpm). Lessons 1 & 2 suitable for Teeliners only (they list the
Teeline characters), Lessons 3 to 14 useful for anyone. Each Lesson
consists of several dictations. I suggest you use the Pause/Play
button for typing out the passages, in order to look up and drill
outlines, and not for when you practise the dictations! English
National Council for the Training of Journalists shorthand
resources section contains seven MP3 dictation downloads, one each
at 60 to 120 wpm, plus seven PDFs giving the text. More available
from their shop. English female voice.
Very short passages from English literature, aimed at those learning
to write English correctly, but slow enough to practise your
shorthand on. The sentences are read at normal speed for
comprehension, again very slowly twice for students to write in
longhand, followed by a link to the text. Prepare the texts in
shorthand beforehand to get maximum benefit. English male voice.
300 dictations of various lengths, from 100 to 180 wpm, aimed
primarily at machine stenographers. Australian female voice.
Resource is provided by TAFE NSW Sydney Australia.
www.learnamericanenglishonline.com Excellent free website to
help students learn English as a second language. The
straightforward explanations are each accompanied by YouTube videos,
spoken clearly and not too fast – practise your shorthand and
improve your English at the same time. Vocabulary lists with
pictures, to enable you to target the gaps in your knowledge of
everyday words. The advantage of this site is that the words and
phrases are the simplest and commonest ones, and sight and sound are
used together to teach. The Links page gives many further sites
where you can listen to spoken English. Author is an ESL (=EFL)
teacher based in Minnesota, USA.
Has a variety of audio and video files scattered
through the sections that you can use for dictation. Even the
standard short introductions to the items need not be wasted, write
them down as well! Audio files can be downloaded, and some also have
a PDF of the text of the talk, ideal for preparing your shorthand
Aimed at those learning English as a second language. There are
audios throughout the site, from single sentences to whole passages,
at reasonable speeds. As the text is on screen, you can prepare your
outlines in advance. The single sentence audios could probably each
fit on one line of the shorthand pad, so are good for drills, if you
keep your non-writing hand on the mouse and click the play button
repeatedly. See their resources page for links to similar sites.
American male and female voices. Based in Pasadena USA.
"Find and Share Spoken Word programs"
The site links to broadcasts/conversations on every topic, therefore
the voices are endlessly varied, as they can come from any country.
You search and play the items through their website, and save your
own playlists. Based in California, USA.
"You've Got The Time" The New Testament
(Contemporary English Version) can be downloaded free in 40
half-hour mp3 files. Multi-voice reading by 31 members of the Riding Lights Theatre
Company, York, UK. Listen to a taster in their 4-minute Christmas
Story video which I have embedded on the
Shorthand Reading Christmas Carols page. "The
Bible Society exists because millions lack the Bible in a language
they can understand,
in a form they can use or at a price they can afford."
www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio The Bible in a variety of
versions and languages. There is a choice of readers: Dramatized
(several voices), George W Sarris, or Max McLean.
King James Bible in audio for listening online, narrator
Stephen Johnston. The
website is in large font to aid the visually impaired. I have timed the
first chapter of Genesis at 170wpm, which is slow for listening but
fast for shorthand writing. At this speed, it may be more useful to
prepare the passage and write lightly in pencil over the top of your
ink outlines. You can halve the speed by writing every alternate
If using the Bible, then Proverbs is a good chapter to start with, as the sentences
are mostly quite short, with more common words, and do not contain unusual vocabulary or
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TYPING / DICTATION SOFTWARE
& Express Scribe Transcription Playback"
The Dictate programme is designed to replace the dictaphone. The
Scribe programme is for typing back the resultant audio files or any
WAV or MP3. You can both make and take your own shorthand dictation.
At bottom right of the Scribe screen there is a slider that enables
you to vary the speed of speech, with pitch maintained, from
25% to 225%. You can easily halve the speed of a file but below 50%
hearing the words becomes a strain and the resultant drawl may send
you to sleep. The functions can also be operated via the keyboard.
The Express Dictate programme is offered as trial, but Express Scribe is
FREE, but with some limitations
on file types that can be opened, as
confirmed on their page
http://audacity.download-latest.com This simple
FREE sound editing program can
be used to dictate WAV or MP3 sound files, and edit or insert
silences to slow the speed.
Keyblaze Typing Tutor
www.nchsoftware.com/typingtutor/index.html A very simple
programme for learning to touch type*
which enables you see the keys layout and and be prompted for
correct fingers without ever looking away from the screen. If you
have to look at your fingers when typing, it is very easy to miss
out a line or whole chunk of your shorthand or text copy, reducing
accuracy as well as speed. It is well worth the effort learning to
touch type, especially the numbers row which is often not learned as
thoroughly as the others. I can assure you that, once touch typing
is learned, you
never have to think about where the keys are, it all happens
automatically at lightning speed, while you concern yourself with
the subject matter. When your eyes are tired from too much screen
work, you can dictate your notes to audio and then type them with
your eyes shut!
*Definition: using correct finger
for each key and not looking at the keyboard.
ASETNIOP Keyboard for Touchscreens
www.asetniop.com Typing on the 8 home keys only,
using chording for the less frequent letters, and two other keys for
shift and space. Proposed as a
visible/invisible keyboard for touchscreen devices. Although still
under development, you can learn
and practise it, using your normal keyboard, via the easy tutorial
which also introduces advanced features, such as autosuggest/complete
and stenographic substitution. This is simple, neat, great fun to
play with, and I shall be following progress with interest.
(In the tutorial, for the
"previous" key, I had to press ESC instead to get back a page)
Screenshot of demo video
Typing to Music
This may bring back memories for those who learned typing to music –
six recordings at approximately 3 minutes each, of music combined
with metronome at increasing speeds, taken from "Pitman's Gramophone
Course" 78 rpm vinyls from the beginning of the 20th century. The
sixth one is more conducive to Scottish dancing and you may find
your feet tapping as well as your fingers!
Shorthand Dates This
gives a list of dates of various shorthand systems from 16th century
and Pitman historical dates up to present.
Google Books: Popular Mechanics November 1914, Shorthand
advertisement on page 17 A very effusive advertisement to
encourage the learning of shorthand and promising huge salaries for
little outlay, as do most of the advertisements in the magazine. A cartoon portrait drawn with
Pitman's Shorthand outlines from 1891 at the British Library:
Social history article on shorthand training for railway workers.
shorthanders and typists reminiscing on experiences of learning
their skills, and the quirks of the office machinery of their time.
In pre-computer days, typing and paperwork had to be got right first
time, as the typewriter ribbon ink was going immediately onto the
paper, and so instant accuracy was the essential – no backspacing on
a screen or auto-correct, and no saving to disk of what you have
typed, but only the prospect of stopping to correct multiple carbon
copies for every typo. Younger learners today need to strive for
typing accuracy more by willpower than mechanical necessity, a
praiseworthy achievement as it develops the quality of
self-determination and "stickability", and I am sure we older
shorthanders are cheering them on every step of the way!
DECIPHER HISTORICAL SHORTHAND
York Castle Museum, UK,
are appealing for help to read the Pitman's Shorthand in two diaries
written by a soldier during the First World War, during the
Palestinian conflict of 1917-18. The newspaper article shows some
photos of the pages. This shorthand will probably be the Centenary
(1913) or Twentieth Century (1900) version of the Pitman's system.
(article is dated 14 January 2014)
WKU Library Blog (West Kentucky University)
has a picture of a drawing plus shorthand for deciphering - it is
not Pitman's, and looks more like Gregg to me.
down the page to the item "Military Broadsides" dated 5 Feb 2013.
Mount Desert Island
(Maine, USA) Historical Society has some historical shorthand
they would like deciphered. “During the American Civil War,
James M. Parker of Mount Desert, Maine served in the First Maine
Heavy Artillery Regiment from 1861 to 1864. During the course of his
service, the 23-year-old soldier wrote many letters to his
20-year-old sister Letitia. But only one two-page letter, written in
October 1863, is written in shorthand.” It is Pitman’s, seems to
be one of the US variants, and it also appears that the young man
was still learning the system, using full strokes for nearly
everything. Scans of the shorthand are on their Facebook page, and
you can also contact them via their website:
Here is a historical
piece of Pitman's Shorthand that you might like to have a go at
deciphering, from the Sir Samuel Steele Collection at the University
of Alberta in Canada, found scribbled on the back of one of his
memoir sheets, with a request from the conservators for "any
ideas?". Steele was a North West Mounted Police officer in Canada in
the 19th century. I have posted my own effort at reading it, but you
may be able to see instantly what I have not.
If you enjoy squiggles other than Pitman's, and languages other than
English, this site
www.omniglot.com/puzzles.htm has a page showing good definition
photos of puzzling inscriptions, marks, writings, various shorthands
and languages that the contributors would like deciphered and which
you may be able to help with. The site is about languages and
Word game word finder
searches for all or part of words, and much more, for word games,
puzzles, crosswords, anagrams etc. It is also very useful for
finding words containing the same groupings of letters, to help
practise points of shorthand theory and build up vocabulary.
apostrophe deserves our protection. It is indeed a threatened
species!" Run by John Richards, retired
reporter/sub-editor. Straightforward help to use the apostrophe
Free online talking dictionary of English pronunciation with 130,000
This website from The University of Edinburgh
gives "Accents of English from Around the World – hear and compare
online". You choose a word from the list and a tabulation is
displayed where you can hover over each regional variation to hear
it spoken. This gives you some idea of the difficulties faced by any
creator of a phonetic shorthand, and why your particular accent may
not be faithfully recorded in Pitman's Shorthand. Fortunately our
brains recognise that they are all variations on the same word, and
we all end up writing Hay with Circle S for house, as below.
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MUSEUMS & PUB
the museum has a display and a book for sale about Sir Isaac
Pitman's years spent in Trowbridge. Should I ever travel that way, I
shall certainly go in and check it out.
www.galleryofshorthand.org Museum illustrating the role of pen
and machine shorthand, both pen and machine, throughout history. Located in
Federal Court Central Islip, New
York, USA. The links Part I, II and III on home page refer to Youtubes of interview with its director.
This is a website (not a physical museum) showing antique office
illustrations and photographs of American offices, equipment,
business training, typewriting and stenography from the 19th and
early 20th century. Fascinating to view our predecessors in the art
– our shorthand brothers and sisters, and fellow typists — and a
great encouragement to keep this valuable skill going in our own
time. Never again will you complain of having an ancient computer.
in Trowbridge Wiltshire, UK, the great man's birthplace. I have not
visited it, but you may wish to have your photograph taken there for
your Shorthand Brag Book.
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Pay attention to ... what?
Throughout this website I encourage
thinking of shorthand while you are out and about, looking at
adverts, road and shop signs etc, and taking shorthand study material with you
on your Ipod or similar device. This 32-second YouTube from
www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org on the dangers of texting while
walking or driving is a reminder of what
can happen to the incautious:
Here is a very short article on how to focus your efforts for
creative writing and authoring, using the "F.A.S.T." method to break
up the process into manageable sections. Of course, all your
inspired output will be done in shorthand as well, so you can get
your thoughts and ideas on the page extra rapidly, and will be
streets ahead of anyone else using the method! Author Jeff Bollow.
Cloud Appreciation Society
You used to see pictures in the clouds, and
now you see clouds that look like shorthand outlines. This website
has amazing and very beautiful photos of "Clouds that look like
things" from contributors worldwide, a good place to spend some of
your relaxing time between practice sessions.
The Hunger Site
"The Hunger Site was founded to focus the power of the Internet on a
specific humanitarian need: the eradication of world hunger."
Every time you click the button
on their site, their site sponsors pay for cups of food.
Registered charity No. 1079730
Smile International is a humanitarian aid charity whose aims are
"to relieve suffering and poverty through the distribution of
humanitarian aid and long-term development projects."
They have volunteering opportunities in the UK and around the world
– a use for every skill you can name, from IT consultants and
builders, to blanket knitters, all equally valued and valuable.
Smile provides education, literacy and job skills programmes to
enable people in poor areas to join the working world and support
that every piece of writing in the world was in a shorthand you
you would need urgent help from those in a more privileged position.
Smile is doing this and much more.
Check them out at
Comprehensive set of links to a huge number of
weathercharts, ideal for professionals, hobbyists, students and
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