Do You Recognize This Strange Script? It Was Invented To Make Note-Taking Easier

Do You Recognize This Strange Script? It Was Invented To Make Note-Taking Easier

The shorthand method was invented to help people jot down notes easily.

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With the advent of the digital age, day to day activities have become fairly simple then they used to be. Not only did it help us with an abundance of appliances it has also made work life easier. There are a plethora of applications that exist today for us to document, shorten, and utilize any important information provided during say meetings. Today we find ourselves spoilt for choice as everyday companies are coming up with their updated versions of documentation software. Thus, we are often left wondering how people managed to get through the day without access to technology. Well, there seems to have emerged an answer- shorthand.


It is humanly impossible to document each and every word at the exact speed with which it is spoken by someone. Moreover, an average person speaks about 125-150 works every minute and surely it is a challenge to keep up. Hoping to find a solution to this problem the shorthand, a handy tool to jot down notes. It was created during the Victorian period according to The Epoch Times. This efficient method created to ensure accurately has two different systems. One of them was widely used in Britian and was developed by Thomas Pitman. The other one was developed by John Robert Gregg and became a common tool used across the United States. 


These two systems were designed for people to take down notes while keeping up with the speed at which the words were spoken. It ensured that everything was taken down without missing out on any vital information. Surely, you have heard of the term "longhand" which was used to describe cursive writing because of all the loops and strokes used while writing it. As for the art of shorthand, it was referred to as "stenography," a word that originates for the Greek word "stenos" which stands for "narrow" writing. Pitman's version had 25 single consonants, 24 double consonants, and 16 vowel sounds. Thus, the shorthand method was designed to reduce the number of letters to its simplest form with the aim of making the process of documentation easier and faster. 


People often confuse the shorthand text for ancient ones as it hardly bears resemblance to the actual word it represents. While some of the text looks like small curved lines with odd dot and dash, a few of the letters are loopy and cursive which makes it resemble the Arabic style more than it does English. Thomas Pitman developed the initial system and John Robert Gregg revolutionized shorthand by focusing more on the sounds of the words than the alphabets. Take symbol for the sound of k for example, it could either be represented by the letter c or k and depending on the rest of the word, it could be explained. 


In this manner, Gregg grouped similar-sounding letters and reduced the time taken to document speech drastically. Another instance would be the grouping the sounds of letters d and t. Gregg also devised symbols to denote commonly used words such as it, the, to and for. Moreover, he varied the lengths to differentiate between diagonal lines and loops. His system revolved around circles, hooks, and loops. In 1888, he first published his work in the form pamphlet, Light-Line Phonography. Although Pitman shorthand was used in the United States, it wasn't very popular. So Gregg took his revised version and travelled through the Midwest, the West, and the South, to teach and implement his system, and soon enough, it caught on and became the standard in the country.


If you pick up the shorthand system of John Robert Gregg, it would allow you to note down a number of words which you would never have deemed possible. Although it seems ancient, the system has not yet gone out of practice entirely and still employed by people working in legal, medical, and secretarial fields. Apparently, knowing shorthand is considered an indispensable skill as it not only helps you jot down information with unthinkable speed but also help you pass messages while maintaining secrecy. 


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