Lyle, David (DNB00)

LYLE, DAVID (fl. 1762), stenographer, was the author of an ingenious treatise entitled ‘The Art of Short-hand improved, being an Universal Character adapted to the English Language, whereby every kind of subject may be expressed or taken down in a very easy, compendious, and legible manner,’ London, 1762, 8vo. He describes himself on the title-page as a master of arts, having probably taken that degree in one of the Scotch universities. His name is not to be found in the lists of graduates in arts at Cambridge, Oxford, Dublin, and Edinburgh. In the dedication of his work to the Earl of Bute he states that by his lordship's good offices he was enabled to bring his new mathematical instruments to great perfection, and that he had completed a set of them for the use of the king. The introduction to his method of stenography contains a masterly exposition of the theory of the art and trenchant criticisms of the systems of Weston, Macaulay, and Annet. He was by no means successful, however, in reducing his theory to practice; for although his beautifully engraved tables of words present an imposing and ornamental appearance from their neatness and brevity, a close examination reveals the fact that their shortness is produced, in the majority of instances, by omitting words and syllables necessary to the sense. His vowel scheme, on a strictly phonetic basis, was more extensive than any previously attempted. But the merits of the system are purely theoretical.

[Gibson's Bibliography of Shorthand, pp. 122, 180; Lewis's Hist. of Shorthand, p. 128; Rockwell's Teaching, Practice, and Literature of Shorthand, 2nd ed. p. 105; Shorthand, i. 7, 22, 40, 62.]

T. C.