1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shorthand
SHORTHAND, a term applied to all systems of brief handwriting which are intended to enable a person to write legibly at the rate of speech. Synonyms in common use are stenography (from στενός, narrow or close), and tachygraphy (from ταχύς, swift), or occasionally brachygraphy (from βραχύς, short).
Greek and Roman Tachygraphy.—The question of the existence among the ancient Greeks of a system of true tachygraphy, that is, of a shorthand capable of keeping pace with human speech, has not yet been solved. From surviving records we know that there were, both in the 4th century B.C. and in the early centuries of the Christian era, as well as in the middle ages, systems in practice whereby words could be expressed in shortened, form by signs or groups of signs occupying less space than the ordinary method of longhand writing. But such systems appear to have been systems of brachygraphy or stenography, that is, of shortened writing, which were not necessarily also systems of tachygraphy properly so called. If, however, as there is some reason to believe, the Roman system of tachygraphy, as exhibited in the Tironian notes (see below) was derived from a Greek system, it may fairly be inferred that the latter system was also a developed system of tachygraphy. But, be that as it may, no very early specimens of Greek shorthand have hitherto come to light; and the key to the decipherment of the stenographic inscriptions in the waxen book of the 3rd century in the British Museum (see below) still remains to be discovered. We are therefore in the dark whether we have in this MS. an example of true tachygraphic writing. Here it may be noticed that certain words of Diogenes Laertius have been taken to imply that Xenophon wrote shorthand notes (ὑποσημειωσάμενος) of the lectures of Socrates; yet a similar expression in another passage, which will not bear this meaning, renders it hardly possible that tachygraphy is referred to.
The surviving records of Greek shorthand are not very numerous, although they are scattered through a long period of time, beginning with the 4th century B.C. and extending to the 14th century. They have been arranged in three groups. At the head of the first group, which embraces all that has been found dating down to the 3rd century, is a remarkable inscription, unfortunately fragmentary, on a marble slab discovered on the Acropolis of Athens in 1884, which is attributed to the 4th century B.C.; and it is on this discovery that the actual claim of tachygraphy to have been practised among the ancient Greeks chiefly rests. The inscription describes a system, or rather part of a system, whereby certain vowels and consonants can be expressed by strokes placed in various positions. But here, too, it has been urged that we have the explanation of a system of brachygraphy only, and not one of tachygraphy. To the first group also belong a few specimens of shorthand writing on papyri of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and, above all, the most important MS. of Greek stenographic symbols hitherto discovered. This is the waxen book already referred to (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 33,270), consisting of seven wooden tablets coated with wax on both sides, and two covers thus coated on the inner sides, which seems to have been the exercise-book of a shorthand scholar who has covered its pages with symbols,which in places are repeated again and again as if for practice.
In these symbols we may have an actual system of tachygraphic shorthand, and not a mere syllabary; but unfortunately they have not yet been interpreted.
The second group of examples of Greek shorthand is confined to a few fragmentary papyri and waxen tablets ranging from the 4th to the 8th century, chiefly among the Rainer collection at Vienna, to which Professor Wessely has devoted much labour.
After this there is a long period unrepresented by any remains, until we come to the period of the third group, which stands quite apart from the preceding groups, being representative of the medieval Greek tachygraphy of the 10th century. First stands the Paris MS. of Hermogenes, with some tachygraphic writing of that period, of which Bernard de Montfaucon (Pal. Gr., p. 351) gives some account, and accompanies his description with a table of forms which, as he tells us, he deciphered with incredible labour. Next, the Add. MS. 18231 in the British Museum contains some marginal notes in shorthand, of A.D. 972 (Wattenb., Script. Graec. specim., tab. 19). But the largest amount of material is found in the Vatican MS. 1809, a volume in which as many as forty-seven pages are covered with tachygraphic writing of the 11th century. Cardinal Angelo Mai first published a specimen of it in his Scriptorum veterum nova collectio, vol. vi. (1832); and in his Novae patrum bibliothecae tom. secundus (1844) he gave a second, which, in the form of a marginal note, contained a fragment of the book of Enoch. But he did not quote the number of the MS., and it has only been identified in recent years. The tachygraphic portion of it has been made the subject of special study by Dr Gitlbauer for the Vienna Academy. It contains fragments of the works of St Maximus the Confessor, the confession of St Cyprian of Antioch, and works of the pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita. There are also certain MSS. written at Grottaferrata belonging to the group.
But here again this medieval shorthand is not a tachygraphic system in the true sense of the word, but a syllabic system having very little advantage over the ordinary system of contracted longhand in respect to rapidity of writing, excepting that the scribe could pack more of the text into a given space. The medieval system therefore cannot be regarded as a development of any ancient system of Greek tachygraphy, but rather as a stunted descendant or petrified fragment, as it has been called, of an earlier and better system. Other medieval varieties or phases of Greek shorthand have also been traced in the 14th and even in the 15th century.
Evidence of the employment of tachygraphy among the Romans is to be found in the Writings of authors under the empire. It appears to have been taught in schools, and, among others, the emperor Titus is said to have been skilled in this manner of writing. According to Suetonius the first introduction of shorthand signs or notae was due to Ennius; but more generally Cicero's freedman M. Tullius Tiro is regarded as the author of these symbols, which commonly bear the title of Notae Tironianae. The Tironian notes belonged to a system which was actually tachygraphic; that is, each word was represented by a character, alphabetic in origin, but having an ideographic value. The notes, as we have them, have come down to us in a medieval dress, and are probably amplified from their shapes of early times with various diacritical additions which attached to them after the practice of the system had died out, and when the study of them had become an antiquarian pursuit, demanding a more exact formation of the symbols and their variants than was possible or necessary to a shorthand writer familiar with the system and writing at full speed. Such a system of shorthand, expressing words by comprehensive symbols or word-outlines, could be the only system possible for rapid reporting of human speech. But it seems that in instances where a symbol was not forthcoming to express an unusual word, such as a proper name, it was customary, at lcast in the written notes which have survived, to express it by a group of syllabic signs. A reporter, taking down a speech, could not have waited to express the unusual word or proper name by such a slow process; and no doubt in actual practice he would, in such an emergency, have invented on the spur of the moment some conventional sign which he would remember how to expand afterwards. But in the medieval inscriptions written in Tironian notes a syllabic system was made use of in such cases; and hence arose variations in different countries in the syllabic method of expressing words; an Italian system, a French system and a Spanish system having already been identified. Such a syllabic system is comparable with the “African” and “Italian” varieties of the medieval Greek shorthand system noticed above.
There are no ancient documents written in Tironian notes. But the tradition of their employment survived, especially in the chanceries of the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties of the Frankish empire; and a limited use of them was made by the officials who controlled the royal diplomas. In Merovingian documents they generally accompany the subscription of the referendary, the earliest instance being in a diploma of Chlothar II. A.D. 625. From the reign of Thierry III. they become fairly frequent. They give brief indications referring to the composition of the deed, the name of the person moving for it, that of the official revising it, &c. Such uses may be regarded as safeguards against forgery. A more extensive employment of the notes prevailed under the Carolingian monarchs. Official MSS. were written in these characters as, for example, the formulary of the chancery of Louis the Pious. They appear in subscriptions, often attached to the ruches (see Diplomatic). Sometimes they accompany the monogrammatic invocation at the beginning of a deed; sometimes they themselves contain the invocation or a pious formula. Such notes continued to appear in royal deeds down to the end of the 9th century; and so inveterate had their employment become in certain positions in the charters, that the scribes, after having forgotten their meaning, went on adding mere imitative signs. In the 10th century they appear in ecclesiastical and even private deeds, but in the latter class of documents their use was probably only suggested by vanity and pretension to learning on the part of the scribes. Even in the 11th century a few notes lingered on, their meaning fast dying out.
In general literature Tironian notes were adopted in the 9th and 10th centuries by the revisers and annotators of texts. Of this period also are several MSS. of the Psalter written in these characters, which it has been suggested were drawn up for practice at a time when a fresh impulse had been given to the employment of shorthand in the service of literature. The existence also of volumes containing lexicons or collections of Tironian notes, of the same period, points to a temporary revival of interest in these symbols of Roman tachygraphy. But such revival was short-lived; early in the 11th century it had expired.
Authorities.—J. Gomperz, Über ein bisher unbekanntes griech. Schriftsystem (Vienna Academy, 1884) and Neue Bemerkungen (1895); M. Gitlbauer, Die drei Systeme der griech. Tachygraphie (Vienna Academy, 1896); K. Wessely, Ein System altgriech. Tachygraphie (Vienna Academy, 1896); T. W. Allen, “Fourteenth Century Tachygraphy,” Journ. Hellen. Studies, xii. (1890); F. W. G. Foat, “On Old Greek Tachygraphy,” J.H.S., xx., giving a full bibliography (1901); Archiv für Stenographie (new series, 1901); F. Ruess, Über griech. Tachygraphie (1882); J. W. Zeibig, Geschichte und Literatur der Geschwindschreibekunst (1878); V. Gardthausen, Griech. Paläographie (1879); P. Carpentier, Alphabetum Tironianum (1747); U. F. Kopp, Palaeographia critica (1827); J. Tardif, Mém. sur les notes tironiennes (1854); O. Lehmann, Quaestiones de notis Tironis, &c. (1869); A. P. Kühnelt, Über die Geschwindschrift der Alten (1872); F. Ruess, Über die Tachygraphie der Römer (1879); W. Schmitz, Comment. notarum Tironiarum (1893) and many other works; Mélanges J. Havet (1895); J. Havet, Œuvres (1896); E. Chatelain, Introduction à la lecture des notes tironiennes (containing a full bibliography, 1900).
(E. M. T.)
In the 10th century all practical acquaintance with the shorthand systems of Greece and Rome faded completely away, and not till the beginning of the 17th can the art be said to have revived. But even during that interval systems of writing seem to have been practised which for speed approximated to modern shorthand.
Shorthand in English-speaking Countries.—England was the birthplace of modern shorthand. The first impulse to its cultivation may possibly be traced to the Reformation. When the principles of that movement were being promulgated from the pulpit, a desire to preserve the discourses of the preacher naturally suggested the idea of accelerated writing. It is certainly striking that in the early systems so many brief arbitrary signs are provided to denote phrases common in the New Testament and Protestant theology. In the early systems of Dr Timothy Bright and Peter Bales almost every word is provided with an arbitrary sign. Dr Bright (c. 1551-1615) was a doctor of medicine who afterwards entered the church. His Characterie. An Arte of Shorte, Swifte and Secrete Writing by Character (1588), which set forth a system of writing by character or shorthand, was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, who rewarded the author with a Yorkshire living, and granted to him the sole right for fifteen years of teaching and printing books “in or by Character not before this tyme commonlye knowne and vsed by anye other oure subjects” (Patent Roll, 30, Eliz. part 12). Peter Bales (1547?-1610) promised his pupils that “you may also learn to write as fast as a man speaketh, by the arte of Brachigraphie by him devised, writing but one letter for a word”; his “Arte of Brachigraphie” is contained in his Writing Schoolemaster (1590). Only with a gigantic memory and by unremitting labour could one acquire a practical knowledge of such methods.
The first shorthand system worthy of the name which, so far as is known, appeared in England is that of John Willis (d. c. John Willis. 1627), whose Art of Stenographie (London, 14 editions from 1602 to 1647) is substantially based on the common alphabet; but the clumsiness of his alphabetic signs, and the confused laborious contrivances by which he denotes prefixes and terminations, involving the continual lifting of the pen, would seem to render his method almost as slow as longhand. Of the numerous systems which intervened between J. Willis's and Isaac Pitman's phonography (1837) nearly all were based, like Willis's, on the alphabet, and may be called, a, b, c systems. But seven were, like phonography, strictly phonetic, viz. those by Tiffin (1750), Lyle (1762), Holdsworth and Aldridge (1766), Roe (1802), Phineas Bailey (1819), Towndrow (1831) and De Stains (1839).
A few general remarks apply largely to all the a, b, c systems. Each letter is designated by a straight line or curve (vertical, A, b, c systems. horizontal, or sloping), sometimes with the addition of a hook or loop. C and q are rejected, k being substituted for hard c and q, s for soft c. Signs are provided for ch, sh, th. G and j are classed under one sign, because in some words g is pronounced as j, as in giant, gem. Similarly each of the pairs f, v and s, z has only one sign. A few authors make the signs for j, v, z heavier than those for g, f, s. Some class p and b, t and d, each under one sign. The stenographic alphabet is therefore—a, b, d, e, f (v), g (j), h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s (z), t, u, w, x, y, ch, sh, th. Letters which are not sounded may be omitted. Gh, ph may be counted as f in such words as cough, Philip; but the th in thing is never distinguished from the th in them. Thus the a, b, c systems are largely phonetic with respect to consonant-sounds; it is rather with regard to the vowels that they disregard the phonetic principle. No attempt is made to provide adequately for the many vowel-sounds of the language. Thus the signs for like and lick, for rate and rat, &c., are the same. In the case of vowel-sounds denoted by two letters, that vowel is to be written which best represents the sound. Thus in meat the e is selected, but in great the a. In some a, b, c systems, including the best of them (Taylor's), a dot placed anywhere does duty for all the vowels. This practice is, of course, a fruitful source of error, for pauper, and paper, gas and goose, and hundreds of other pairs of words would according to this plan be written alike. In the early systems of Willis and his imitators the vowels are mostly written either by joined characters or by lifting the pen and writing the next consonant in a certain position with respect to the preceding one. Both these plans are bad; for lifting the pen involves expenditure of time, and vowels expressed by joined signs and not by marks external to the word cannot be omitted, as is often necessary in swift writing, without changing the general appearance of the word and forcing the eye and the hand to accustom themselves to two sets of outlines, vocalized and unvocalized. In the better a, b, c systems the alphabetic signs, besides combining to denote words, may also stand alone to designate certain short common words, prefixes and suffixes. Thus in Harding's edition of Taylor's system the sign for d, when written alone, denotes do, did, the prefixes de-, des-, and the terminations -dom, -end, -ened, -ed. This is a good practice if the words are well chosen and precautions taken to avoid ambiguities. Numbers of symbolical signs and rough word-pictures, and even wholly arbitrary marks, are employed to denote words and entire phrases. Symbolical or pictorial signs, if sufficiently suggestive and not very numerous, may be effective; but the use of “arbitraries” is objectionable because they are so difficult to remember. In many shorthand books the student is recommended to form additional ones for himself, and so of course make his writing illegible to others. The raison d'être of such signs is not far to seek. The proper shorthand signs for many common words were so clumsy or ambiguous that this method was resorted to in order to provide them with clearer and easier outlines. For the purpose of verbatim reporting the student is recommended to omit as a rule all vowels, and decipher his writing with the aid of the context. But, when vowels are omitted, hundreds of pairs of words having the same consonant skeleton (such as minister and monastery, frontier and furniture, libel and label) are written exactly alike. This is one of the gravest defects of the a, b, c systems.
John Willis's system was largely imitated but hardly improved by Edmond Willis (1618), T. Shelton (1620), Witt (1630), Dix (1633), Mawd (1635), and Theophilus Metcalfe (1635). T. Shelton's system, republished a great many times down to 1687, was the one which Samuel Pepys used in writing his diary. It was adapted to German, Dutch and Latin. An advertisement of Shelton's work in the Mercurius Politicus of 3rd October 1650 is one of the earliest business advertisements known. The book of Psalms in metre (206 pages, 2⅜ × 1½ in.) was engraved according to Shelton's system by Thomas Cross. Metcalfe's Radio-Stenography, or Short-Writing, was republished again and again for about a hundred years. The 35th “edition” is dated 1693, and a 55th is known to exist. The inefficiency of the early systems seems to have brought the art into some contempt. Thus Thomas Heywood, a contemporary of Shakespeare, says in a prologue that his play of Queen Elizabeth
|“||Did throng the seats, the boxes and the stage|
|So much that some by stenography drew|
|A plot, put it in print, scarce one word true.”|
Shakespeare critics would in this manner explain the badness of the text in the earliest editions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry V. Perhaps a study of J. Willis's system and of E. Willis's (which, though not published till after Shakespeare's death, was practised long before) may shed light on corrupt readings of the text of these plays. Rich's system (1646, 20th edition 1792) was Rich. reproduced with slight alterations by many other persons, including W. Addy, Stringer, and Dr Philip Doddridge (1799 and three times since). The New Testament and Psalms were engraved in Rich's characters (1659, 596 pages, 2½ × 1½ in., 2 vols.), and Addy brought out the whole Bible engraved in shorthand (London, 1687, 396 pp.). Locke, in his Treatise on Education, recommends Rich's system; but it is encumbered with more than 300 symbolical and arbitrary signs. In 1847 it was still used by Mr Plowman, a most accomplished Oxford reporter.
In 1672 William Mason, the best shorthand author of the 17th century, published his Pen pluck'd from an Eagle's Wing. Mason. The alphabet was largely taken from Rich's. But in his Art's Advancement (1682) only six of Rich's letters are retained, and in his Plume Volante (1707) further changes are made. Initial vowels are written by their alphabetic signs, final vowels by dots in certain positions (a, e at the beginning; i, y at the middle; o, u at the end), and medial vowels by lifting the pen and writing the next consonant in those same three positions with respect to the preceding one. Mason employed 423 symbols and arbitraries. He was the first to discover the value of a small circle for s in addition to its proper alphabetic sign. Mason's system was republished by Thomas Gurney in 1740, a circumstance which has perpetuated its use to the present day, for in 1737 Gurney was appointed shorthand writer to the Old Bailey, and early in the 10th century W. B. Gurney was appointed shorthand-writer to both Houses of Parliament. Gurney reduced Mason's arbitraries to about a hundred, inventing a few specially suitable for parliamentary reporting. The Gurneys were excellent writers of a cumbrous system. Thomas Gurney's Brachygraphy passed through at least eighteen editions.
In 1767 was published at Manchester a work by John Byrom, sometime fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, entitled The Byrom. Universal English Shorthand, distinguished for its precision, elegance, and systematic construction. Byrom had died in 1763. Having lost his fellowship by failing to take orders, he made a living by teaching shorthand in London and Manchester, and among his pupils were Horace Walpole, Lord Conway, Charles Wesley, Lord Chesterfield, the duke of Devonshire and Lord Camden. Shorthand, it is said, procured him admission to the Royal Society. He founded a stenographic club, to the proceedings of which his journal, written in shorthand, is largely devoted. In the strangers' gallery of the House of Commons in 1728 Byrom dared to write shorthand from Sir R. Walpole and others. In 1731, when called upon to give evidence before a parliamentary committee, he took shorthand notes, and, complaints being made, he said that if those attacks on the liberties of shorthand men went on he “must have a petition from all counties where our disciples dwell, and Manchester must lead the way.” Thomas Molyneux popularized the system by publishing seven cheap editions between 1793 and 1825. Modifications of Byrom's system were issued by Palmer (1774), Nightingale (1811), Adams (1814), Longmans (1816), Gawtress (1819), Kelly (1820), Jones (1832) and Roffe (1833). Byrom's method received the distinction of a special act of parliament for its protection (15 Geo. II. c. 23, for twenty-one years from 24th June 1742). To secure linearity in the writing and facility in consonantal joinings he provided two forms for b, h, j, w, x, sh, th, and three for l. A, e, i, o, u, he represented by a dot in five positions with respect to a consonant. Practically it is impossible to observe more than three (beginning, middle and end). With all its merits, the system lacks rapidity, the continual recurrence of the loop seriously retarding the pen.
In 1786 was published An Essay intended to establish a Standard for a Universal System of Stenography, by Samuel Taylor Taylor. (London). This system did more than any of its predecessors to establish the art in England and abroad. Equal to Byrom's in brevity, it is simpler in construction. No letter has more than one sign, except w, which has two. Considering that five vowel places about a consonant were too many, Taylor went to the other extreme and expressed all the vowels alike by a dot placed in any position. He directs that vowels are not to be expressed except when they sound strong at the beginning and end of a word. Arbitraries he discarded altogether; but Harding, who re-edited his system in 1823, introduced a few. Each letter when standing alone represents two or three common short words, prefixes and suffixes. But the list was badly chosen: thus m represents my and many, both of them adjectives, and therefore liable to be confounded in many sentences. To denote in and on by the same sign is evidently absurd. Taylor's system was republished again and again. In Harding's edition (1823) the vowels are written on an improved plan, the dot in three positions representing a, e, i, and a tick in two positions o, u. Several other persons brought out Taylor's system, in particular G. Odell, whose book was re-edited or reprinted not less than sixty-four times, the later republications appearing at New York. The excellence of Taylor's method was recognized on the Continent: the system came into use in France, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Rumania, Hungary, &c.
The Universal Stenography of William Mavor (1780) is a very neat system, and differs from Taylor's in the alphabet and in Mavor. a more definite method of marking the vowels. A, e, i, are indicated by commas, o, u, y, by dots, in three places with respect to a letter, namely beginning, middle and end. Other systems were introduced by J. H. Lewis (1812) and Moat (1833).
The vast mass of a, b, c systems are strikingly devoid of originality, and are mostly imitations of the few that have been mentioned. Nearly all may be briefly described as consisting of an alphabet, a list of common words, prefixes and suffixes, expressed by single letters, a list of arbitrary and symbolical signs, a table showing the best way of joining any two letters, a few general rules for writing and a specimen plate.
Pitman's phonography, on account of its enormous diffusion in Great Britain and the colonies, and in America, its highly Pitman's Phonography. organized and original construction, and its many inherent advantages, merits a more extended notice than has been given to the systems already mentioned. In 1837 Mr (afterwards Sir) Isaac Pitman (q.v.) composed a short stenographic treatise of his own, which Samuel Bagster published under the title of Stenographic Sound-Hand. The price was fixed at fourpence, for the author had determined to place shorthand within the reach of everybody. In 1840 a second edition appeared in the form of a penny plate bearing the title Phonography, the principal feature of the system being that it was constructed on a purely phonetic basis. In December 1841 the first number of what is now known as Pitman's Journal appeared at Manchester in a lithographed form. It was then called the Phonographic Journal, and subsequently in turn the Phonotypic Journal, the Phonetic News and the Phonetic Journal. Pitman's system was warmly taken up in America, where it was republished in more or less altered forms, especially by the author's brother Benn Pitman, and by Messrs A. J. Graham, J. E. Munson, E. Longley, and Eliza B. Burns. A large number of periodicals lithographed in phonograph are published in England and America. The Shorthand Magazine, monthly, was started in 1864. Of standard English books printed or lithographed in phonograph may be mentioned, besides the Bible, New Testament, and Prayer Book, The Pilgrim's Progress, The Vicar of Wakefield, Pickwick Papers, Tom Brown's School-Days, Macaulay's Essays and Biographies, Gulliver's Travels, Blackie's Self-culture, Bacon's Essays, and a long list of tales and selections. Numerous societies have been formed in all English-speaking countries for the dissemination of phonograph, the largest being the Phonetic Society. Phonography has been adapted to several foreign languages, but not so successfully as Gabelsberger's German system. T. A. Reed's French Phonography (1882) was intended only for English photographers who wish to report French speeches. Other adaptations to French were by A. J. Lawson and J. R. Bruce. A society for the adaptation of phonograph to Italian was organized at Rome in 1883 by G. Francini, who published his results (Rome, 1883, 1886). Phonography was adapted to Spanish by Parody (Buenos Aires, 1864), to Welsh by R. H. Morgan (Wrexham, 1876), and to German by C. L. Driesslein (Chicago, 1884).
The main features of Pitman's system must now be described. The alphabet of consonant-sounds is—p, b; t, d; ch (as in chip), j; k, g (as in gay); f, v; th (as in thing), th (as in them); s, z; sh,
zh (as in vision); m, n, ng (as in thing); l, r; w, y, h. The sounds p, t, ch, k are represented respectively by the four straight strokes \|/_; and the corresponding voiced sounds b, d, j, g by exactly the same signs respectively written heavy. F, th (as in thing), s, sh are indicated by / respectively; the same signs written heavy and tapering to the ends are used for v, dh, z, zh respectively. M, n, l, r are denoted by Av/ N respectively. R is also represented by / written upwards and in a more slanting direction than the sign for ch. The signs for sh and l may be written up or down when in combination, but standing alone sh is written downwards and l upwards. The signs for w, y, h are ¢//o/» all written upwards. H has also 2 down. Ng, mp (or mb), rch (or rj), lr, are represented by the signs for n, m, r, l respectively written heavy. Signs are provided for the Scotch guttural ch (as in loch), the Welsh ll, and the French nasal n. S is generally written by a small circle. The long-vowel sounds are thus classified-ā (as in balm), ē (as in bait), ee (as in feet), aw (as in law), ō (as in coal), 66 (as in boot). The vowels ā, ē, ee are marked by a heavy dot placed respectively at the beginning, middle, and end of a consonant sign; aw, ō, ōō by a heavy dash in the same three positions, and generally struck at right angles to the direction of the consonant. The short vowels are ă (as in pat'), ĕ (as in pet), ĭ (as in pit), ŏ (as in pot), ŭ (as in but), and ŏŏ (as in put). The signs for these are the same as for the corresponding long vowels just enumerated, except that they are written light. Signs similarly placed are provided for the diphthongs oi (as in boil), ōă or ōĕ, ōĭ (as in Boanerges, poet, coincide), for the series yā, yē, yee, &c., and for the series wti, Vwé, wee, &c. The signs for ei (as in bite) and on (as in cow) are v^, and may be placed in any position with respect to a consonant. A straight line may receive four hooks, one at each side of the beginning and end, but a curve only two, one at each end in the direction of the curve. Hooks applied to a straight line indicate the addition of r, l, n, and f or v respectively, thus ^^ pr, pl, » pf or pv, and pn; ** kr, ** kl, = kf, -ekn; / 1f or 1v, /' rn. Hooks applied to a curve denote the addition of r, n respectively, thus & fr, w fn; ¢' mr, fa mn. Vowel-signs placed after (or, in the case of horizontal strokes, under) a consonant having the n or f, v hook are read between the consonant and the n or f; thus TB cough, & fun, but ¢T~ crow, pray. A large hook at the commencement of a curve signifies the addition of l, as Q fl. The hooks combine easily with the circle s, thus sp ° sp1 (where the hook r is implied or included in the Circle), ° spz, pns (the hook it being included), . Ms, &¢. The halving principle is one of the happiest devices in the whole history of shorthand. The halving of a light stroke—that is, writing it half length-implies the addition of t; the halving of a heavy-stroke that of d, the vowel placed after (or under) the halved stroke being read between the consonant and the added t or d, thus (thaw, (thought, Dee, I. deed, pit, P cat, k fat, ~i» note, &c. By this means very brief signs are provided for hosts of syllables ending in t and d, and for a number of verbal forms ending in ed, thus >| ended. The halving of a heavy stroke may, if necessary, add t, and that of a light stroke d, thus % beautified. By combining the hook, the circle, and the halving principle, two or three tocon- gether, exceedingly brief signs are obtained for a number of sonantal series consisting of the combination of a consonant with one or more of the sounds s, r, l, n, f, t, thus °\sp, °\spr, e-sp1t, °~° sprts; pl, spl, splt, ** splnt, ** sptnts; ., fn, fns, , fnt, s fnts; < frn, frnd, &c. As a vowel-mark cannot conveniently be placed to a hook or circle, we are easily led to a way of distinguishing in outline between such words as |— cough and . coffee, pen and penny, /° race and /Z) racyrr, &c. This distinction limits the number of possible readings of an unvocalized outline. A large hook at the end of a stroke indicates the addition of -shon (as in fashion, action, &c.). This hook easily combines with the circle s, as in actions, positions. The circle s made large indicates ss or sz, as in pieces, (O losses. The vowel between s and s (2) maybe marked inside the circle, as in 419 cxe1cise, /, subsistence. The circle s lengthened to a loop signifies st, as in step, & post, while a longer loop indicates str, as in, Q muster, , minster. The loop may be continued through the consonantal stroke and terminate in a circle to denote sts and strs, as in ** boasts, ** minsters. The loop written on the left or lower side of a straight stroke implies the n hook and so signifies nst, as in iz against, J danced. A curve (or a straight stroke with a final hook) written double length implies the addition of tr, dr, or thr, as in ** father, ** letter, ** kinder, fender, Z 1ende1. This practice is quite safe in the case of curves, but a straight stroke should not be lengthened in this way when there is danger of reading it as a double letter. The lineal consonant signs may stand alone to represent certain short and common words as in many of the old, a, b, c systems, with this difference, that in the old systems each letter represents several words, but in phonograph, in almost every case, only one. By writing the horizontal strokes in two positions with respect to the line (above and on) and the others in three positions (entirely above, resting on and passing through the line) the number is nearly trebled, and very brief signs are obtained for some seventy or eighty common short words (e.g. be, by, in, if, at, it, my, me, &c.). A few very Common monosyllables are represented by their vowel-marks, as the, remnant of (: of, remnant of &; 'on, remnant of L', A certain number of longer words which occur frequently are contracted, generally by omitting the latter part, sometimes a middle part of the word, as in (lisp) expect, (dji) dange1, (krk sk) characteristic, (nd f t) indefatigable. The connective phrase of the is intimated by writing the words between which it occurs near to each other. The is often expressed by a short slanting stroke or tick joined to the preceding word and generally struck downwards, thus '/ in the, & yo, ”, for the.
Three principles which remain to be noticed are of such importance and advantage that any one of them would go far to place phonograph at the head of all other systems. These are the principles of positional writing, similar outlines and phraseography. (1) The first slanting stroke of a word can generally be written so as either to lie entirely above the line, or rest on the line, or run through theline, thus
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In the case of words composed wholly of horizontal strokes the last two positions (on and through the line) coincide, as V* ' . These three positions are called first, second and third respectively. The first is specially connected with first-place vowels (ā, ă; aw, ŏ; î; oi), the second with second-place vowels (ē, é; ō, ŭ), and the third with third-place vowels (ee, ĭ; ōō, ŏŏ; ou). In a fully vocalized style position is not employed, but in the reporting style it is of the greatest use. Thus the outline (tm) written above the line must be read either time or Tom; when written resting on the line l/ tome or tame; when struck through the line teem, team or tomb. By this method the number of possible readings of an unvocalized outline is greatly reduced. That word in each positional group which occurs the most frequently need not be vocalized, but the others should. In the ease of dis syllables it is the accented vowel which decides the position; thus methought should be written first position méthod second position **. (2) Another way of distinguishing between words having the same consonants but different vowels to vary the outline. The possibility of variety of outline arises from the fact that many consonant sounds have duplicate or even triplicate signs, as we have seen. For instance, r has two lineal signs and a hook sign, and so each of the words carter, curator, creature and creator obtains a distinct outline. A few simple rules direct the student to a proper choice of outline, but some difference of practice obtains among photographers in this respect. Lists of outlines for words having the same consonants are given in the instruction books; the Reporter’s Assistant contains the outline of every word written with not more than three strokes, and the Phonographic Dictionary gives the vocalized outline of every word in the language. Aided by a true phonetic representation of sounds, by occasional vocalization, variety of outline, and the context, the phonographic verbatim reporter should never misread a word. (3) Lastly, phraseography. It has been found that in numberless cases two or more words may be written without lifting the pen. A judicious use of this practice promotes legibility, and the saving of time is very considerable. Words written thus should be closely connected in sense and awkward joinings avoided. Such phrases are .. I am, .. I have, ./ you are, ~ you may, .. it would, it would not, .. we are, /\ we have, .. we have not, .. we have never been, .. my dear friends, ... as far as possible, ... for the most part, and many thousands of others. For the sake of obtaining a good phraseogram for a common phrase, it is often advisable to omit some part of the consonant outline. Thus the phrase you must recollect that may very well be written, ,, .°/°i (you must recollect that). Lists of recommended phraseograms are given in the Phonographic Phrase Book, the Legal Phrase Book and the Railway Phrase Book.
Specimens of Phonography.
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Key.—If all the feelings of a patriot glow in our bosoms on a perusal of those eloquent speeches which are delivered in the senate, or in those public assemblies where the people are frequently convened to exercise the birthright of Britons—we owe it to shorthand. If new fervour be added to our devotion, and an additional stimulus be imparted to our exertions as Christians, by the eloquent appeals and encouraging statements made at the anniversaries of our various religious societies-we owe it to shorthand. If we have an opportunity in interesting judicial cases, of examining the evidence, and learning the proceedings with as much certainty, and nearly as much minuteness, as if we had been present on the occasion—we owe it to shorthand.
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Key (the phraseograms being indicated by hyphens).—Characteristics of the Age.—The peculiar and distinguishing characteristics of the present-age are-in every respect remarkable. Unquestionably an extraordinary and universal-change has commenced in-the internal as-well-as-the external-world—in-the-mind-of-man as-well-as-in-the habits of society, the one indeed being-the necessary-consequence of the other. A rational consideration of the circumstances in-which-mankind are at-present placed must-show-us that influences of the most-important and wonderful character have-been and are operating in-such-a-manner-as-to bring-about if-not-a reformation, a thorough revolution in-the organization of society. Never in-the-history-of-the-world have benevolent and philanthropic institutions for-the relief of domestic and public affliction; societies for-the promotion of manufacturing, commercial and agricultural interests; associations for-the instruction of the masses, the advancement of literature and science. the development of-true political-principles, for-the extension in-short of-every description of knowledge and-the-bringing-about of-every kind-of reform, -been-so numerous, so efficient and so indefatigable in-their operation as at-the-present-day.
An enumeration made in 1894 showed that 95%, of British newspaper reporters used Pitman's system; but there are still numerous varieties preferred by individuals. Of the systems published since the invention of phonography the principal are A. M. Bell's Stenophonography (Edinburgh, 1852), Professor J. D. Everett's (London, 1877), Pocknell's Legible Shorthand (London, 1881), and J. M. Sloan's adaptation (the Sloan-Duployan) of the French system of Duployé (1882). More recent essays in English shorthand are almost' entirely in the direction of script characters with connected vowels, as contrasted with the geometric forms and disjoined vowels of Pitman's phonograph. The majority are founded on the French system of the brothers Duployé, but Cursive Shorthand (Cambridge, 1889), by Prof. H. L. Callendar, and Current Shorthand (Oxford, 1892), by Dr Henry Sweet, may be noted as original methods, the first having a phonetic, and the second both an orthographic and a phonetic, basis.
The distinctive features in recent shorthand history have been the widely-extended employment of the art, the increased attention paid to instruction and the growth of stenographic societies. Throughout the civilized world the systems employed are those of the leading authors of the 19th century; earlier systems have now a numerically small number of practitioners. Shorthand has become an almost indispensable qualification for the amanuensis, and practical stenographic ability is a necessary equipment of 'the typewriter operator. In professional and commercial offices, and more recently in the services, dictation to shorthand writers has become general. Shorthand has been included among examination subjects for the army, navy, civil service and medicine in the United Kingdom, and to a certain extent in other countries. Its inclusion in the Technical Instruction Act.of 1889 was the first recognition of shorthand by the British parliament, and it was subsequently comprised in the codes of elementary day and evening continuation schools. It first became an examination subject for secondary schools in the Oxford Local Examination in 1888, but the Society of Arts has examined students of polytechnics, &c., in shorthand since 1876. Examinations in Connexion with the phonographic system of Isaac Pitman date from 1845.
In 1887 the tercentenary of the origination of modern shorthand by Timothy Bright and the jubilee of Isaac Pitman’s phonograph were celebrated by the holding of the first International Shorthand Congress in London. Subsequent congresses were held at Paris (1889), Munich (1890), when a statue of Gabelsberger was unveiled; Berlin (1891), Chicago (1893), Stockholm (1897), Paris (1900), &c. These gatherings have promoted the improved organization of stenographic practitioners in the respective countries. After the first congress, three national organizations were established in Great Britain by Pitman writers, which take the place of the Phonetic Society (established in 1843 and dissolved in 1895). In America the formation of national associations for reporters and teachers followed the fifth congress.
As regards speed in shorthand writing, it may be mentioned that at the exhibition at Olympia (London) in 1908, the “World’s Shorthand Championship” was awarded for 220 words a minute for five minutes. But it has been claimed that a rate of 250 words a minute has been accomplished. It may be pointed out, however, that such a rate cannot be wanted for any practical purpose, since the fastest public speaker never speaks anything like 250 words a minute, even though for a demonstration such a thing could be done. The average rate of public speaking is from 120 to 150 words a minute.
Foreign Shorthand Systems.
To complete the history of the subject, the following notes on systems introduced in various European countries may be useful.
German.—C. A. Ramsay’s Tacheographia (Frankfort, 1679, and several times afterwards until 1743) was an adaptation of T. Shelton'sEnglish system. Mosengeil (1797) first practically introduced short
hand writing into Germany in an adaptation of the Taylor-Bertin method. Reischl's (1808) is a modification of Mosengeil's. On Horstig's (1797) are based those of an anonymous writer (Nuremberg, 1798), Heim (1820), Thon (1825), an anonymous author (Tübingen, 1830), Nowack (1830), Ineichen (1831), an anonymous author (Munich, 1831) and Binder (1855). Mosengeil published a second system (1819) in which Horstig's alphabet is used. On the Mosengeil-Horstig system are based Berthold's (1819) and Stark's (1822). On Danzer's (1800), a close imitation of Taylor's, is based that of Ellison v. Nidlef (1820). Other systems are those of Leichtlen (1819); J. Brede (1827); Nowack (1834), a system in which the ellipse is employed as well as the circle; Billharz (1838); Cämmerer (1848), a modification of Selwyn's phonography (1847); Schmitt (1850); Fischback (1857), a reproduction of Taylor's; and that of an anonymous author (1872), based on Horstig, Mosengeil and Heim. Nowack, in his later method of 1834, makes a new departure in avoiding right or obtuse angles, and in endeavouring to approximate to ordinary writing. This system Gabelsberger considered to be the best which had appeared down to that date. F. X. Gabelsberger's (1789-1849) Anleitung zur deutschen Redezeichenkunst (Munich, 1834) is the most important of the German systems. The author, an official attached to the Bavarian ministry, commenced his system for private purposes, but was induced to perfect it on account of the summoning of a parliament for Bavaria in 1819. Submitted to public examination in 1829, it was pronounced satisfactory, the report stating that pupils taught on this system executed their trial specimens with the required speed, and read what they had written, and even what others had written, with ease and certainty. The method is based on modifications of geometrical forms, designed to suit the position of the hand in ordinary writing. The author considered that a system composed of simple geometrical strokes forming determinate angles with each other was unadapted to rapid writing. He does not recognize all the varieties of sound, and makes some distinctions which are merely orthographical. Soft sounds have small, light and round signs, while the hard sounds have large, heavy and straight signs. The signs too are derived from the current alphabet, so that one can find the former contained in the latter. Vowels standing between consonants are not literally inserted, but symbolically indicated by either position or shape of the surrounding consonants, without, however, leaving the straight writing line. On Gabelsberger's system is based that of W. Stolze (1840). Faulmann (Vienna, 1875) attempted in his Phonographie to combine the two methods. While Gabelsberger's system remained unchanged in principle, Stolze's split into two divisions, the old and the new. These contain many smaller factions, e.g. Velten's (1876) and Adler's (1877). Arends's (1860) is copied from the French system of Fayet. Roller's (1874) and Lehmann's (1875) are offshoots of Leopold Arends's (1817-1882). Many other methods have appeared and as rapidly been forgotten. The schools of Gabelsberger and Stolze can boast of a very extensive shorthand literature. Gabelsberger's system was adapted to English by A. Geiger (Dresden, 1860 and 1873), who adhered too closely to the German original, and more successfully by H. Richter (London, 1886), and St0lze's by G. Michaelis (Berlin, 1863).
French.—The earliest French system worthy of notice is that of Coulon de Thévenot (1777), in which the vowels are disjoined from the consonants. Later may be divided into two classes, those derived from Taylor's English system, translated in 1791 by T. P. Bertin, and those invented in France. The latter are (a) Coulon de Thévenot's; (b) systems founded on the principle of the inclination of the usual writing—the best known being those of Fayet (1832) and Sénocq (1842); and (c) systems derived from the method of Conen de Prépéan (5 editions from 1813 to 1833). Prévost, who till 1870 directed the stenographic service of the senate, produced the best modification of Taylor. Many authors have copied and spoilt this system of Prévost. The best known are Plantier (18) and Tondeur (1849). On Conen's are based those of Aimé-Paris (1822), Cadrès-Marmet (1828), Potel (1842), the Duployé brothers (1868), Guénin, &c. Among amateur writers the Duployan method is best known.
Spanish.—The father of Spanish stenography was Don Francisco de Paula Marti, whose system was first published in 1803. The alphabet is a combination of Taylor's and Coulon's. By decree of November 21, 1802, a public professorship of shorthand was founded in Madrid, Marti being the first professor. Founded on Marti's system are those of Serra y Ginesta (1816) and Xamarillo (1811). Many Spanish systems are merely imitations or reproductions of Marti's, and adaptations of Gabelsberger's, Stolze's and Pitman's systems. That of Garriga y Maril (1863) has attained some popularity in Spain.
Italian.—Italian translations and adaptations of Taylor's system succeeded one another in considerable numbers from Amanti (1809) to Bianchini (1871). Delpino's (1819) is the best. The Gabelsberger-Noe system (1863) has gained many followers.
Dutch.—J. Reijner's Dutch method (1673) was an adaptation of Shelton's, and Bussuijt's (1814) of Conen's system. Sommerhausen and Bossaert (1829) received prizes from the government for their productions. Cornelis Steger (1867) translated Taylor's work. Gabelsberger's system was transferred to Dutch by Rietstap (1869), and Stolze's by Reinbold (1881).
Adaptations of, Gabelsberger's method have also come into use in other countries.
Indian.—Mirza Habib Hosain, at the Mahommedan Educational Conference of 1905 in India, introduced a system of Urdu and Hindi shorthand, called “Habib's Samia,” for which he was awarded a gold medal. The Pitman system has also been adapted for some Indian languages.
Authorities.—J. W. Zeibig's Geschichte u. Literatur der Geschwindschreibekunst (Dresden, 1878) contains a historical sketch of the use of shorthand in ancient and modern times (especially in Germany), a full bibliography of shorthand literature in all languages, a number of lithographed specimens, and a useful index. Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education, No. 2, 1884 (Washington, 1885), by J. E. Rockwell, contains a very complete and accurate bibliography of English and American shorthand publications, a chronological list of 483 English and American shorthand authors, notices on shorthand in the United States, on the employment of stenographers in the American courts, on American shorthand societies and magazines, and a beautifully engraved sheet of 112 shorthand alphabets. Isaac Pitman's History of Shorthand (reprinted in the Phonetic Journal of 1884) reviews the principal English systems previous to phonography, and a few foreign ones. The author draws largely on J. H. Lewis's Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Stenography (London, 1816). Other histories of shorthand are by F. X. Gabelsberger (prefixed to his Anleitung zur deutschen Redezeichenkunst, Munich, 1834), A. Fossé (refixed to his Cours théorique et pratique de sténographie, Paris, 1849), Scott de Martinville (Paris, 1849), M. Levy (London, 1862) and T. Anderson (London, 1882). Here too should be mentioned J. Heger's Bemerkenswerthes über die Stenographie (Vienna, 1841), mainly historical; J. Anders's Entwurf einer allgemeinen Gesch. u. Lit. d. Stenographie (Coeslin, 1855); R. Fischer's Die Stenographie nach Geschichte, Wesen, u. Bedeutung (Leipzig, 1860); Krieg's Katechismus der Stenographie (Leipzig, 1876); Dr Westby-Gibson's Early Shorthand Systems (London, 1882); T. Anderson's Shorthand Systems, with a number of specimens (London, 1884); T. A. Reed's Reporter's Guide (London, 1885), and Leaves from the Notebook of T. A. Reed (London, 1885). Mr C. Walford's Statistical Review of the Literature of Shorthand (London, 1885) contains valuable information on the circulation of shorthand books and on shorthand libraries. Among later publications dealing fully with the history and practice of shorthand are the Transactions of the London Congress in 1887, and similar publications in connexion with later congresses; Bibliography of Shorthand, by J. Westby-Gibson, LL.D. (London, 1887), treating of English, colonial and American authors; Shorthand Instruction and Practice, by J. E. Rockwell, of the United States Bureau of Education (Washington, 1893), dealing with shorthand work throughout the world; and Examen critique des sténographies françaises et étrangères, by Dr Thierry-Mieg (Versailles, 1900).
- ↑ For instances, see Zeibig's Geschichte u. Lit. der Geschwindschreibekunst (Dresden, 1878), pp. 67-79. For John of Tilbury's system (c. 1175), see especially Shorthand, No. 5, and Hermes, viii. p. 303.
- ↑ The Bodleian Library contains the only known copy of Bright's book. For a description of the system, see Phonetic Journal (1884), p. 86; Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education (Washington, 1884), No. 2, p. 8; and Notes and Queries, 2nd ser., vol. ii. p. 394. A is represented by a straight line, the other letters of the alphabet by a straight line with a hook, circle, or tick added at the beginning. Each alphabetic sign placed in various positions, and having some additional mark at the end, was used to indicate arbitrarily chosen words beginning with a, b, c, d, &c. There were four slopes given to each letter and twelve ways of varying the base, so that forty-eight words could be written under each letter of the alphabet if necessary. Thus the sign for b with different terminal marks and written in four different directions signified a number of words commencing with b; 537 such signs had to be learned by heart. By adding certain external marks these signs were applied to other words: thus by writing a dot in one of two positions with respect to a sign the latter was made to represent either a synonym or a word of opposite meaning. Under air are given as synonyms breath, exhalation, mist, reek, steam, vapour.
- ↑ Bales's method was to group the words in dozens, each dozen headed by a Roman letter, with certain commas, periods, and other marks to be placed about each letter in their appropriate situations, so as to distinguish the words from each other.
- ↑ The first edition, published anonymously, is entitled The Art of Stenographie, teaching by plaine and certaine rules, to the capacitie of the meanest, and for the use of all professions, the way to Compendious writing. Wherevnto is annexed a very easie Direction for Steganographie, or Secret Writing, printed at London in 1602 for Cuthbert Burbie. The only known copies are in the Bodleian and British Museum libraries.
- ↑ See a paper by J. E. Bailey, “On the Cipher of Pepys' Diary,” in Papers of the Manchester Literary Club, vol. ii. (1876). Shelton (1601-1650) is not to be confounded with the translator of Don Quixote.
- ↑ See Zeibig's Gesch. u. Lit. d. Geschwindschreibekunst, p. 195.
- ↑ See M. Levy's Shakspere and Shorthand (London), and Phonetic Journal (1885), p. 34.
- ↑ Pleasant Dialogues and Drammas (London, 1637), p. 249.
- ↑ This curiosity is described in the Phonetic Journal (1885), pp. 158, 196. The Bodleian Library has a copy.
- ↑ Byrom's private journal and literary remains have been published by the Chetham Society of Manchester. See, too, a paper by J. E. Bailey in the Phonetic Journal (1875), pp. 109, 121.
- ↑ Taylor, it was only lately discovered, died in 1811; see M. Levy in The Times (April 10, 1902), and Notes and Queries (May 24, 1902).
- ↑ For early English systems, see especially some careful papers by Mr A. Paterson in Phonetic Journal (1886).
- ↑ Phonography is so legible that the experiment of handing the shorthand notes to phonographic compositors has often been tried with complete success. A speech of Richard Cobden, on the Corn Laws, delivered at Bath on 17th September 1845, and occupying an hour and a quarter, was reported almost verbatim, and the notes, with a few vowels filled in, handed to the compositors of the Bath Journal, who set them up with the usual accuracy. A notice of the occurrence appeared the next day in the Bath Journal, and was immediately transferred to the columns of The Times and other newspapers. Mr Reed tried the same experiment with equal success, the notes being handed to the compositors in their original state (Phonetic Journal, 1884, p. 337),