Alphabetic shorthand systems use characters from the Roman alphabet. They drop most vowels, use semi-phonetic spelling and are twice as fast as writing longhand. There are several alphabetic shorthand systems, including EasyScript, Forkner and Speedwriting.
Here are a few instructions used to develop a shorthand system:
- Leave short vowels out and write long vowels only. So “you” becomes “u” and “are” becomes “r.” (This is a lot like text messaging abbreviations.)
- Use the letter “k” for the k or hard-c sounds, as in “kd” for “could.” Use the letter “j” for the sound j or soft g as in “aj” for “age.” Write the letter “c” for the sound ch as in “ec” for “each.”
- Become familiar with symbols. The word “the” is represented with a period and the end of the sentence is marked with a slash. For example, the sentence “The new book is big” is written as “. Nu bk s bg\”.
- Reduce the alphabet to 19 letters such as “V” for every and ever.
- Use symbols for vowels. For example, easy becomes “e-z”.
- Use brief forms of words such as “Db” for distribute. Use abbreviations and phrasing.
- Draw a line through the letters “C,” “S” or “T” to represent the sounds ch, sh or th.
- Divide words into five categories: simple, prefix, suffix, prefix/suffix and compound. A simple word is a word that doesn’t have a prefix or suffix such as “have,” which would be written “hv.” Another example of a simple word combination is “thank you,” which would be written as “ty”.
- Use a one-letter code for prefixes and suffixes. An example is “u” for under and the word “understand” would then be written, “usta.”
- Use more than one letter for compound words and separate with a slash, as in “co/ri” for “copyright.”
Use Alphabetic Shorthand
- Take notes in meetings or in class. Keep up with an interesting professor, lecturer or tour guide. Alphabetic shorthand allows you to catch most of the information conveyed.
- Jot down people’s orders at a restaurant if you’re the waitperson. Since shorthand uses the alphabet, the cooks should be able to decipher it. If in doubt, you can always put some words in longhand.
- Enter medical information with alphabetic shorthand if a medical employee. Doctors often use shorthand on medical records and in their notes.
- Use shorthand in your journal or diary. If you can’t write fast enough for your thoughts, alphabetic shorthand is a convenient way to keep up. In addition, snoopy people may have a more difficult time deciphering what you write.
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