Info: Teeline and other Shorthand Systems

This is sort of a repost/elaboration on my earlier post on shorthand, but I wanted to make a post on Teeline in particular. I no longer write Teeline, having switched to Gregg for aesthetic and multilingual purposes, but Teeline is nevertheless a great shorthand system, easy to learn and fast enough (I got to around 80 wpm before I decided to switch).

Teeline is easy to read and write because, unlike other systems, the letters are all very distinct. There is also a symbol for every letter of the alphabet, so it can be written orthographically instead of phonetically. What really makes it fast is the fact that it removes all medial vowels, but this also means that readback should be done quickly or all meaning can be lost. To download a full pdf on the system, click here.

Though it depends on how long it takes you to finish the manual, you should be at about 30 or 40 wpm when you are done. To continue speedbuilding, you can download free dictation here (I’m not affiliated with them in any way).

If you don’t think Teeline’s your thing, you can read about Gregg and Pitman in an earlier post of mine. If you’ve already decided, but unsure where to find a manual, you can download a Pitman one here and a Gregg one here. I’m also learning Gregg, and you can find texts in my extremely beginner French Gregg here. (If you are thinking about learning French Gregg, it’s probably best you don’t try to copy my style though, at least not until I improve some more.)

Lastly, if you want to learn about shorthand in general, this is the highly informational site that inspired me to start shorthand in the first place. Thanks Marc for posting a link to this blog, by the way!

Site: French Shorthand Blog

Hi folks, Baobab here! I’ve just created a shorthand blog in French. It has stories and famous speeches written in French Gregg shorthand (par moi!) and the keys in regular French underneath. Right now, my shorthand is not at the point yet where it should be even looked at, let alone read but one day I hope to be able to churn out readable texts for your enjoyment.

I’ll also make a page soon with information on learning French Gregg shorthand, with examples and images and crazy stuff like that. I’m learning English Gregg too (slowly) so I could do one in English in a few months if there is enough interest.

Files: Shorthand Manuals

OK, for people who want to learn shorthand online, sometimes looking for material can be a wild goose chase. When I first started learning Teeline, it seemed there wasn’t much online, and the courses that were online costs money. There are many free courses online, but a lot will only take you part-way through the theory. Manuals are nice because they follow a complete and strict course. I did manage to find a manual for Teeline online, along with some other shorthand systems so you can have the choice if you want to download them here. They should all be open source or public domain, but if you do own the rights to any of these manuals, contact us and I’ll gladly take the offending manual down.

Teeline Manual

Gregg Pre-Anniversary (1916) Manual

Gregg Anniversary (1929) Manual

Isaac Pitman (1852) Manual

Feel free to download any of them. This is a rather incomplete list, so if you find any better manuals (Handywrite, Speedwriting, Gregg Simplified, etc.) that can legally be put on here, let us know!

How-to: Shorthand Speedbuilding

When learning to write in shorthand, often the theory (while extremely important) will not be adequate to build proper speed. The solution for most is to get some dictation recordings and practice by listening and writing down what the speaker says as quickly and as accurately as possible. Here’s the second problem: How do you get dictation recordings if you’re: a) a kid (like me); b) living somewhere where they are not readily available (e.g. Nepal, Botswana, or the Falklands); or c) cheap (sort of like me)?

What I first did was to get a book, choose a nicely sized paragraph, and with a timer and a calculator, see how fast I could write the paragraph. It works, but it wastes time while you count words and type numbers in, and it’s a little boring. It also doesn’t really count as dictation.

What I did next was to go to this YouTube channel, which I’ve already mentioned in a previous post. It’s great because it has speeds down to 20 wpm and can therefore be used by an almost complete beginner. The downside is that many of the recordings have really long, scientific, medical words which – while they may be useful to journalists and such – are not really useful to people like me who just want to take down notes in class.

The last thing I want to talk about is a truly awesome website called Shorthand Shorthand Shorthand. It has loads of info on shorthand types, tips for learning shorthand, and tips for speedbuilding. The thing I find the most useful is something the author calls Self Dictation. It’s not exactly an extremely creative idea (it’s a series paragraphs on which you write each shorthand outline on it’s corresponding word) but it follows a strict structure of 50 exercises on a whopping 71 pages, so you’ll find yourself improving with every exercise. To obtain the Word Document, you’ll have to write an email to him, but he is really quick with replying with the file (I got mine after only one hour). He also updates his site with new dictations every month, so you can do the traditional method of speedbuilding on his site too.

None of these sites have the best way to build speed, but I think that with a mixture of different exercises and methods, we should all be zooming along at our desired speed before the world ends in December.

Links: Getting Started with Shorthand (En français aussi!)

UPDATE July 2015: Nous avons ajouté une section pour la sténographie française que vous trouverez en bas. 

Today, with the advent of computers and pocket recorders, shorthand has largely fallen out of popularity. But there are still some people, like me, who are just interested to find out what this lost art was like to use and have some fun along the way.

English:
If you’re interested in speed, you should probably try writing Pitman. The speed record for Pitman Shorthand is 322 words per minute, though it is probably the most difficult to learn on this list. It requires that some strokes be thicker and thinner, as it was meant to be used with a fountain pen, but the same can be achieved with a pencil and the correct technique. If you are interested here’s a website with all the basic principles, along with loads of links to other courses and websites: Long Live Pitman’s Shorthand!. Or you go straight to the full pdf manual.

Arguably the most popular of all shorthand systems is the Gregg system, at least in North America (the picture above is in Gregg). It does not require thick and thin strokes, nor does it distinguish between strokes on the line or above, so it can be written on blank sheets of paper. It’s also quite unique among shorthand systems by being very rounded and cursive-looking. It is only slightly slower than Pitman, with a record of 282 wpm. There are many versions of Gregg, the hardest and fastest being Pre-Anniversary (1916), and the slowest and easiest being Series 90 (1978). It is recommended that Simplified (1949) be for non-business use, and Anniversary (1929) for court reporters and such, though you can visit this website for in depth descriptions of all the system. Or you can go ahead and download a pdf manual for the 1929 Anniversary version.

Although there are many more systems, the last one I want to talk about here is Teeline. It is much slower than the other systems, but it is much easier to learn. It is very popular with people in the UK, and is used a lot by journalists there. Although it is rarely used above 140 wpm, most people find it adequate for everyday use. I myself have been learning it for about two weeks, and I can do about 30 wpm. Courses can be easily found in the UK, but it is difficult to find a course that teaches it for free online. However, there is an awesome pdf that covers pretty much all the basics.

Français:
J’ai experimenté un peu avec le système Duployé, créé en 1860 par Émile Duployé. Le manuel est ici. C’est un système assez simple à apprendre, mais moi je le trouve un peu laid. Il utilise beaucoup des cercles et des lignes droites, ce qui peut être difficile à garder lisible à haute vitesse. Par contre, c’est un système conçu spécialement pour le français, alors vous y trouverez beaucoup d’abréviations et trucs pour sauver du temps.

La sténographie Gregg était originalement créée pour la langue anglaise en 1888 par John Robert Gregg. C’est le système le plus célébré du monde, mais particulièrement dans les États-Unis (le système Pitman était plutôt utilisé dans le Royaume-Uni). Il y avait beaucoup des adaptations pour des autres langues et, bien que des systèmes originalement français, comme le Duployé, sont plus communs en France, la version française de Gregg avait de bon succès en Québec, où on avait besoin d’un système utile pour écrire en deux langues. La version que j’utilise est la version de R. J. Sénécal (manuel ici), publié en 1939. Cette version est très liée à la version Anniversary en anglais, qui était publié en 1929.

Mise-à-jour 26 oct. 2017: J’avais crée une liste d’abréviations en 2012 qui pourrait peut-être vous aider à mémoriser les signes spéciaux.

To practise speed with your shorthand, you’d probably have to try getting some dictation recordings, where people speak at a certain speed so you can write things down. Although there are not many available for download that are below 50 wpm, there is a YouTube channel that has a couple under 50, along with speeds up to 180 wpm. And there are many other systems as well! A great website I found that covers shorthand in general is www.shorthandshorthandshorthand.com. It focuses more on Gregg shorthand but provides links to lots of different alternative systems as well. And you can even find some dictation mp3 files too, so there you go!

Are you going to try learning shorthand. Or, if you already know shorthand, which method do you prefer? Tell us in the comments!