What is shorthand?
Shorthand is a system of writing in which words and letters are represented as symbols. Writing in shorthand is much quicker than writing in longhand. Those who know shorthand can dazzle their friends and colleagues with their super-fast writing skills.
The speed with which people are able to write in shorthand makes it ideal for those in professions that involve writing and note-taking. Secretaries and journalists often learn shorthand. However, the system can be used by anybody who writes, such as those taking minutes at a meeting, general office administrators, teachers or even lawyers. Or sometimes people want to learn shorthand as a new skill to challenge themselves.
People who can write in shorthand will always have an advantage over other job applicants.
What’s more, people who can write in shorthand to take accurate and reliable notes that never miss a word will always be the manager’s first choice to take on assignments. This is a great way to climb up the career ladder.
There are many people around the world who learned shorthand as a system of writing many years ago when they were at school. They will always be amazed when they see somebody writing in shorthand. ‘Oh wow, I used to write in shorthand,’ they say. ‘Gosh, I didn’t know that people still did that. How cool!’
Shorthand is a system of writing that is loved by everyone. It can be used in a variety of settings – and it can even be easily adapted to many different languages . All you need is paper and a pen, or pencil! What’s more, writing in shorthand always impresses people, especially those who’ve never learned it and are baffled by the symbols.
Even though digital gadgets are readily available, shorthand is more popular than ever before. In fact, it’s becoming more popular as growing numbers of people around the world start to learn this time-honoured skill.
History of shorthand
Writing in shorthand is a technique that has been used by dozens of cultures dating back to Ancient Greece. The Chinese, Japanese and early Europeans also used some form of shorthand to abbreviate words and letters.
But the two most prevalent systems to develop in the 19th century were Pittman and Gregg shorthand. Both these shorthand systems are phonetic – meaning they use symbols to represent the sounds that words make.
Pittman was first introduced in 1837 by Sir Isaac Pittman and Gregg shorthand was first published in 1888. Arguably the most popular of these two techniques was Pittman which was used all across the English speaking world.
The Pittman system of shorthand was continually changed over the years. In the modern world, both systems have been superseded by Teeline shorthand which is now the most widely accepted and up-to-date version of shorthand.
Teeline was invented by James Hill. He was a master of the Pittman style of shorthand but felt that for all but the brightest writers it was too difficult and took too long to learn.
Many people felt that only extremely talented pupils with a gift for shorthand were able to fully understand the system. Even then, it could take three years of constant studying before they were competent.
Hill wanted to make learning shorthand easier and set about creating his own system that was not based on phonetics, but the actual letters in the words.
Teeline Shorthand finally came about in 1966 when Hill was asked to take over the journalists’ shorthand class at Clarendon College in Nottingham.
The results achieved during those early days were so impressive that Hill’s unique system of Teeline that was growing in popularity by the day was recommended to the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
Hill retired to devote his time to Teeline and with his wife, Constance, spent his final years tirelessly promoting the system.
Even after Hill’s death, Constance continued his legacy and gave lectures and classes on Teeline shorthand. It is a testament to their early work that Teeline became so popular and is today set to become the main system of shorthand writing in the world.
One of Hill’s most memorable quotes that he told pupils was: ‘If you can write, you can write Teeline’. The saying is as true today as it was 40 years ago.
There are three different types of shorthand. They are: Pitman shorthand, Gregg Shorthand and Teeline shorthand.
Types of shorthand
- Pitman shorthand was the original form of this shortened writing and note-taking. Many older people who learned shorthand at school when they were younger will have learned Pitman. It’s still used by some younger journalists today, too.
- Gregg shorthand was invented after Pitman and is popular in the U.S. It uses a similar technique to Pitman.Green is a phonetic type of shorthand, which means that the symbols are based on the sounds of letters and words. However, this type of shorthand is a little more difficult and takes longer to learn.
- Teeline shorthand is the third type of shorthand. It was invented more recently in the 20th century and is the most modern form of shorthand.It is much quicker to learn and easier for students of all abilities to master.