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Historical Background of Stenography

Updated on February 6, 2010

Historical Background of Stenography


Shorthand is the art of writing rapidly and legibly by means of lines, circles, and symbols in place of conventional letters and words. John Robert Gregg invented the shorthand system in May 28,1888. Since the publication of Gregg Shorthand in 1888, the system has been learned and used by millions of writers. The flexibility of the system, which enables the writer to use it with equal effectiveness for personal, stenographic, and reporting purposes, has made Gregg Shorthand the most widely used system in the world. The successful use of Gregg Shorthand not only in English but also in the many foreign languages to which it has been adapted is striking evidence of the genius of the inventor, John Robert Gregg, in devising the most efficient shorthand alphabet in more than 2,000 years of shorthand history. Stenography is defined as the science of taking dictation and transcribing into readable script. The functional method of teaching Gregg Shorthand was announced in 1934, and a special manual of the system employing the method was published in 1936. The functional method type of presentation, fundamentally a language art of teaching, allows much scope for the ingenuity of individual teacher within the framework of language arts teaching.

In 1949, the ultimate goal of the shorthand course — accuracy and rapid transcription — were made possible. Teachers who have enjoyed shorthand find teaching an even greater pleasure. Many teachers have shared many valuable and practical suggestions designed to make the teaching and learning of Gregg Shorthand even more effective. These suggestions have led to new features that should do much to create and maintain the student's interest and to prepare him even more thoroughly for dictation and transcription and these features include transcription emphasis, applied vocabulary studies, pre-transcription quizzes, assistance with homework, and class participation such as talks with the student, shorthand reading material in assignments, checklists, reading score­boards, theory presented in small segments, key to word lists, recall charts, and practice material improvements.

Difference Between Longhand and Shorthand

LONGHAND are words that we write in our daily lives. They are what we transcribe in shorthand.  Shorthand is based on longhand. Anyone who has learned to read and write longhand can learn to read and write shorthand; it is as simple as that. Strokes you will write in shorthand are those that you are accustomed to writing in longhand. In fact, many of the strokes in shorthand alphabet are derived directly from the longhand forms.

In many ways, shorthand is easier to learn than longhand. In shorthand, you will have to learn only one way to represent a letter; in longhand, you had to learn many different ways to represent each letter.

Principles of Writing Shorthand

In the English language, many words contain letters that are not pro­nounced. In shorthand, these silent letters are omitted, only the sounds that are actually pronounced in a word are written. All shorthand characters are based on sound, therefore, only those sounded letters are represented with shorthand characters. Shorthand characters are written in the order in which they are sounded. Thus, stenography or shorthand is a process by which words are written in symbols according to the way they are sounded or pronounced.

Importance of Speed Writing for Personal and Business Advantage

SPEED WRITING or Shorthand helps one to obtain an interesting and profitable position in business. It enables a person to qualify for office employ­ment in court, government offices, and even in research work. With speed writing, you will have a personal tool that will be of value to you throughout your life. For classroom activities, the students can use shorthand as a valuable aid in taking down notes, lectures, and news reports.

Shorthand saves time and effort not only on the job or in school, but also in everyday writing by using your shorthand as a substitute for slow and much more cumbersome longhand. Many great men have used the shorthand for personal purposes, too.



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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      this is so amazing!!


      it helped me and our whole group on our project!!



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