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Search Shorthand Shorthand is any system of rapid handwriting which can be used to transcribe the spoken word. Shorthand systems use a variety of techniques including simplifying existing letters or characters and using special symbols to represent phonemes, words and phrases.
A brief history of shorthand systems Ever since the invention of writing scribes have used various techniques to enable them to take notes quickly and efficiently. The Ancient Egyptians devised two scripts, Hieratic and Demoticas alternatives to their complex Hieroglyphic script, which was used mainly for monumental inscriptions.
Both Hieratic and Demotic worked on the same principles as the Hieroglyphs but the symbols were considerably simplified. During the 4th century BC, the Greeks devised a number of symbol systems which reduced letters to a single stroke and which could also be used to represent common words, suffixes and prefixes.
Such systems are generally referred to as stenography narrow writingbrachygraphy short writing or tachygraphy swift writing.
One shorthand system popular with the Romans was Tironian Notes or Notae Tironianae, which was invented by Cicero's secretary Tiro in order to record Cicero's speeches. It used a combination of simplified letters and special symbols and was used in Europe in various forms until the Middle Ages.
In the Running script some of the strokes that make up characters are joined and others are left out. In the Draft script each character is written with a single continuous stroke and there is considerable variation in how this is done.
As a result, the Draft script is very difficult to read without special training. Attempts have been made to standardise the way the characters are written in the Draft script but they have not met with popular acclaim.
Modern shorthand systems There are a number of different shorthand systems currently in use. The most popular ones include: Over the years is has been gradually improved and has been also adapted for 15 different languages. The system was widely used in the UK and USA by secretaries, reporters and writers, but lost popularity with the invention of pocket tape recorders.
Notable features Pitman is phonetic: For example, the sound [f] in form, elephant and rough is written in the same way for each word.
Vowel sounds are optional and are written with small dots, dashes or other shapes next to the main strokes. This helps increase writing speed because most words can be identified from their consonants only.
The thickness, length and position of the strokes are all significant. There are many special abbreviations and other tricks to increase writing speed. The record for fast writing with Pitman shorthand is wpm during a two-minute test by Nathan Behrin in The Oscar nominations have been announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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