How to use Alphabetic Shorthand Systems

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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.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

    Speedwriting

  1. 1

    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.)

  2. 2

    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."

  3. 3

    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\".

    Forkner Shorthand

  1. 1

    Reduce the alphabet to 19 letters such as "V" for every and ever.

  2. 2

    Use symbols for vowels. For example, easy becomes "e-z".

  3. 3

    Use brief forms of words such as "Db" for distribute. Use abbreviations and phrasing.

  4. 4

    Draw a line through the letters "C," "S" or "T" to represent the sounds ch, sh or th.

    EasyScript

  1. 1

    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".

  2. 2

    Use a one-letter code for prefixes and suffixes. An example is "u" for under and the word "understand" would then be written, "usta."

  3. 3

    Use more than one letter for compound words and separate with a slash, as in "co/ri" for "copyright."

    Use Alphabetic Shorthand

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    Enter medical information with alphabetic shorthand if a medical employee. Doctors often use shorthand on medical records and in their notes.

  4. 4

    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.

Tips and warnings

  • For more information on Speedwriting, obtain a book such as "Speedwriting for Notetaking and Study Skills."
  • For more information on Forkner Shorthand, refer to a book like "Forkner Shorthand" by Hamden Forkner.
  • Easy Script doesn't take long to learn. Or, as you'd write it in Easy Script, "it dn' tk lg t lr".
  • For more information on EasyScript, see "Easy Script I: Learn to Take Fast Notes in a Matter of Hours."
  • Alphabetic shorthand systems don't use many symbols, so they are slower than shorthand using symbols, but they are also easier to learn because there are fewer new characters to memorize.
  • Practice the shorthand to develop your skill. You will want to learn it before you work on your speed. Accuracy is very important. Use a tape recorder to dictate the material to yourself.
  • Learn the shorthand system by reading. Read the shorthand first and understand it in longhand. Then copy the shorthand. Write out sentences and phrases until you know it.

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