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:
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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.)
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."
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\".
Reduce the alphabet to 19 letters such as "V" for every and ever.
Use symbols for vowels. For example, easy becomes "e-z".
Use brief forms of words such as "Db" for distribute. Use abbreviations and phrasing.
Draw a line through the letters "C," "S" or "T" to represent the sounds ch, sh or th.
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".
Use a one-letter code for prefixes and suffixes. An example is "u" for under and the word "understand" would then be written, "usta."
Use more than one letter for compound words and separate with a slash, as in "co/ri" for "copyright."
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.
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.
Enter medical information with alphabetic shorthand if a medical employee. Doctors often use shorthand on medical records and in their notes.
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.
Use Alphabetic Shorthand
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.