The Info List - Gregg Shorthand

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Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
is a form of shorthand that was invented by John Robert Gregg in 1888. Like cursive longhand, it is completely based on elliptical figures and lines that bisect them.[1] Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
is the most popular form of pen stenography in the United States; its Spanish adaptation is fairly popular in Latin America. With the invention of dictation machines, shorthand machines, and the practice of executives writing their own letters on their personal computers, the use of shorthand has gradually declined in the business and reporting world. However, Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
is still in use today. There is a reasonable possibility that John Robert Gregg
John Robert Gregg
structured his shorthand on the Mnemonic major system based on the previous work of Pierre Hérigone
Pierre Hérigone
and others following the publication of The Anti-Absurd or Phrenotypic English Pronouncing and Orthographical Dictionary by Major Beniowski in 1845.[2][3][4] Several versions of this system were published. Pre-Anniversary includes the first five editions, the first one published in two small paper-covered pamphlets in 1888, the second published in 1893,[5] the third in book form in 1897, the fourth in 1902,[6] and the fifth in 1916.[7] Anniversary, a revised and simplified form published in 1929, was so called because it was to be published on the fortieth anniversary of the system (1928), but there was some delay in publication.[8] In 1949, Simplified was created, in which many of the principles and memorized forms were removed or simplified due to findings of studies by the publishers and suggestions of many shorthand teachers.[9] Diamond Jubilee was published in 1963, which simplified the Simplified version.[10] Series 90 was published in 1978, which simplified it further.[11] The last version was Centennial, published in 1988, with several similarities to the Diamond Jubilee system earlier.[12] Besides these main editions, which were designed for the dictation speeds expected of any shorthand system of the time, a number of simpler, personal-use editions were published from 1924 to 1968. These included "Greghand" in 1935, and "Notehand" in 1960 and 1968.[13] Gregg is often contrasted to Pitman shorthand, as the two share significant predominance over other English shorthand systems.[14] Pitman uses line thickness and position to discriminate between two similar sounds,[15] but Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
uses the same thickness throughout and discriminates between similar sounds by the length of the stroke.[16] John Robert Gregg
John Robert Gregg
was originally a teacher of a Duployan shorthand
Duployan shorthand
adaptation to English ( Duployan shorthand
Duployan shorthand
was the dominant system in France, and also featured uniform thickness and attached vowels).[17] However, he found the angular outlines of Duployan-based systems to be detrimental to speed.[18] Gregg shorthand features cursive strokes which can be naturally blended without obtuse angles.[18] In addition, because the symbols of Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
are developed especially for English rather than adapted from a French system, they are a better fit for the language (for example, Gregg has a symbol for th /θ/ whereas the Duployan systems would use a dotted t, which takes longer to write).[19]


1 Writing 2 Versions

2.1 Pre-Anniversary Gregg shorthand 2.2 Gregg Shorthand
Anniversary Edition 2.3 Gregg Shorthand
Simplified 2.4 Gregg Shorthand
Diamond Jubilee Edition 2.5 Gregg Shorthand
Series 90 2.6 Gregg Shorthand
Centennial Edition 2.7 Other versions

3 Adaptations 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links


Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
is a system of phonography, or a phonetic writing system, which means it records the sounds of the speaker, not the English spelling.[16] It uses the f stroke for the /f/ sound in funnel, telephone, and laugh.[20] All silent letters are omitted.[16] The image on the right shows the strokes of Gregg Shorthand Simplified. The system is written from left to right and the letters are joined. Sh (= /ʃ/) (and zh = /ʒ/), Ch (= /tʃ/), and J (or Dzh, = /dʒ/) are written downward,[20] while t and d are written upward.[16] X /ks/ is expressed by putting a slight backward slant on the s symbol, though a word beginning ex is just written as if spelt es (and, according to Pre-Anniversary, ox is written as if os).[21] W when in the middle of a word, is notated with a short dash under the next vowel.[22] Therefore, the letter Q (= /kw/) is usually written as k with a dash underneath the next vowel.[22] In Anniversary and before, if z need be distinguished from s, a small tick drawn at a right angle from the s may be written to make this distinction.[23]

Sample of text from "A Christmas Carol", published in Gregg shorthand, 1918.

Many of the letters shown are also brief forms, or standard abbreviations for the most common words for increased speed in writing.[24] For instance, instead of writing kan for "can", the Gregg stenographer just writes k.[16] These brief forms are shown on the adjacent image. There are several others not shown, however. For instance, "please" is written in Simplified and back as simply pl,[25] and "govern" as gv.[26] Phrasing is another mechanism for increasing the speed of shorthand writing. Based on the notion that lifting the pen between words would have a heavy speed cost, phrasing is the combination of several smaller distinct forms into one outline.[27] For example "it may be that the" can be written in one outline, "(tm)ab(th)a(th)".[28] "I have not been able" would be written, "avnba" (note that to the eye of the reader this phrase written in shorthand looks like "I-have-not-been-able", and so phrasing is far more legible than a longhand explanation of the principle may lead one to believe). The vowels in Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
are divided into groups that very rarely require further notation. The a is a large circle, and can stand for the a in "apple" /æ/, "father" /ɑː/, and "ache" /eɪ/.[29] The e is a small circle, and can stand for the e in feed /iː/ and help /ɛ/, the i in trim /ɪ/ and marine /iː/, and the vowel in her and learn /ɜːr/.[29] The ī represents the i in fine /aɪ/.[30] The o is a small hook that represents the al in talk /ɔː/, the o in jot /ɒ/, cone /oʊ/, and order /ɔːr/.[31] The u is a tiny hook that expresses the three vowel sounds heard in the words who /uː/, up /ʌ/, and foot /ʊ/.[32] It also expresses a w at the beginning of a word.[33] In "Anniversary," short and long vowel sounds for e, a, o and u may be distinguished by a mark under the vowel, a dot for short and a small downward tick for long sounds.[34] There are special vowel markings for certain diphthongs.[30] The ow in how /aʊ/ is just an a circle followed by a u hook. The io in lion /aɪ.ə/, or any diphthong involving a long i and a vowel, is written with a small circle inside a large circle.[35] The ia in piano /i.æ/ and repudiate /i.eɪ/ is notated as a large circle with a dot in its center.[35] In Anniversary and back, if ea need be distinguished from ia, it is notated with a small downward tick inside the circle instead of the dot.[35] The u in united /juː/ is notated with a small circle followed by an u hook above it.[30] Due to the very simple alphabet, Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
is very fast in writing; however, it takes a great deal of practice to master it. Speeds of 280 WPM (where a word is 1.4 syllables) have been reached with this system before, and those notes are still legible to others who know the system.[36] Some left-handed shorthand writers have found it more comfortable to write Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
from right to left.[37] This "mirror writing" was practiced by a few people throughout the life of Gregg shorthand. However, left-handed writers can still write Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
from left to right with considerable ease. Versions[edit] Throughout its history, different forms of Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
have been published. All the versions use the same alphabet and basic principles, but they differ in degrees of abbreviation and, as a result, speed. The 1916 version is generally the fastest and most abbreviated version. Series 90 Gregg has the smallest degree of abbreviation, but it is also generally the slowest standard version of Gregg. Though each version differs in its level of abbreviation, most versions have expert and reporting versions for writers who desire more shortcuts. Pre-Anniversary Gregg shorthand[edit] Gregg Shorthand
was first published in 1888 by John Robert Gregg; however, it was in a very primal stage, and therefore did not gain much success. Five years later, a much better version was published. This version was published in a second edition in 1893, then in a third edition titled "Gregg Shorthand" in 1897. The fourth edition, published in 1902, developed more shortcuts. The fifth edition, published in 1916, is the version most commonly referred to as "Pre-Anniversary" Gregg shorthand; this version has the largest number of brief forms, phrases, and shortcuts. Gregg Shorthand
Anniversary Edition[edit] In 1929 another version of Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
was published. This system reduced the memory load on its learners by decreasing the number of brief forms and removing uncommon prefixes. It was intended to have been published in 1928 on the fortieth anniversary of the system, but it was published a year afterward due to a delay in its production. Gregg Shorthand
Simplified[edit] Gregg Shorthand
Simplified was published in 1949. This system drastically reduced the number of brief forms that needed to be memorized to only 181. Even with this reduction in the number of brief forms, one could still reach speeds upward of 150 WPM. The system was simplified in order to directly address the need of business stenographers, who only needed to produce 100-120 WPM transcription. The creator of an advanced reporting version of Gregg Shorthand, Charles Lee Swem, wrote in The National Shorthand
Reporter, "An abbreviated, simplified edition of our system has been published and accepted for the purpose of training office stenographers, and not necessarily reporters." He also advised, "I do not believe any young student should hesitate to study Simplified for fear it will jeopardize his chances of becoming a reporter. It is fundamentally the same system as we reporters learned from the Anniversary edition. Once Simplified is learned, the change-over to the reporting style is comparatively simple and can be made by any writer."[38] Gregg Shorthand
Diamond Jubilee Edition[edit] The Diamond Jubilee series was published through most of the sixties and the seventies (1963–1977). It was simpler than the Simplified version, and reduced the number of brief forms to 129. For Diamond Jubilee students who wanted to increase speed for reporting, an edition of "Expert" Diamond Jubilee was available to push speeds upward. Gregg Shorthand
Series 90[edit] Series 90 (1978–1987) was an even simpler version, which used a minimal number of brief forms and placed a great emphasis on clear transcription, rather than reporting speed. Although it introduced a couple of new abbreviations and reintroduced some short forms that were missing in Diamond Jubilee, it eliminated several other short forms, and was in the main simpler, longer, and slower than the previous editions. Shorthand
was dwindling in popularity during this series' usage. Gregg Shorthand
Centennial Edition[edit] Published in 1988, this is the most recent series of Gregg shorthand. It was the only version since the Pre-anniversary edition of 1916 to increase the complexity of the system from the previous one, having 132 brief forms. Other versions[edit] The above versions of Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
were marketed for professional use, such as business and court reporting. Gregg Shorthand
Junior Manual, designed for junior high school students, was published in 1927 and 1929. Greghand, A Simple Phonetic Writing for Everyday Use by Everyone was published as a pamphlet in 1935. The 1960 and 1968 editions of Gregg Notehand focused on how to take effective classroom and personal notes using a simple form of Gregg shorthand. Adaptations[edit] Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
has been adapted to several languages, including Afrikaans, Esperanto,[39] French,[40] German,[41] Hebrew[citation needed], Irish, Italian, Japanese, Polish,[42] Portuguese,[43] Russian, Spanish,[44] Catalan, Thai and Tagalog. With a few customizations, it can be adapted to nearly any language. The Spanish version, designed by Eduardo Vega, is the most popular adaptation. The Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese
version slightly modified the original system, under the name 'Beifang Suji (Northern Shorthand)'. See also[edit]

Writing portal

Court reporter Pitman shorthand Simson Shorthand Stenomask Stenotype Teeline Transcript (law)


^ Gregg, John Robert (1922). Basic Principles of Gregg Shorthand (PDF). New York: Gregg Publishing. p. 5.  ^ History of the Major System ^ The Anti-absurd Or Phrenotypic English Pronouncing & Orthographical Dictionary by Major Beniowski ^ The Mnemonic Major System and Gregg Shorthand
Have the Same Underlying Structure ^ Gregg, John Robert (1895). Gregg's Shorthand: A Light-Line Phonography for the Million. Boston: John Robert Gregg.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1905). Gregg Shorthand: A Light Line Phonography for the Million. New York: Gregg Publishing Co.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1916). Gregg Shorthand: A Light-Line Phonography for the Million. New York: Gregg Publishing.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1929). Gregg Shorthand: A Light-Line Phonography for the Million (PDF). New York: Gregg Publishing.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1955). Gregg Shorthand
Manual Simplified (2d ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-024548-7.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1971). Gregg shorthand
Gregg shorthand
([2d ed.]. ed.). New York: Gregg Division, McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-024625-4.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1978). Series 90. New York: Gregg Division/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-024471-5.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1988). Gregg Shorthand
for Colleges. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-037401-5.  ^ Leslie, Louis (1968). Gregg Notehand (2d ed.). New York: Gregg Division, McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-037331-0.  ^ Gregg, Basic Principles, 2. ^ Pitman, Isaac (1916). Course in Isaac Pitman Shorthand. New York: Isaac Pitman & Sons. p. 6.  ^ a b c d e Gregg, 1929 Manual, 1. ^ Cowan, Leslie (1984). John Robert Gregg: A Biography. Oxford: The Pre-Raphaelite Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-947635-00-9.  ^ a b Gregg, Basic Principles, 16. ^ Sloan, John M. (1883). The Duployan Phonographic Instructor: An Improved Adaptation to the English of the Duployan French Method. Dublin: W. Leckie & Co. p. 11.  ^ a b Gregg, 1929 Manual, 18. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 29. ^ a b Gregg, 1929 Manual, 53. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 23. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 10. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 66. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 50. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 15. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 86. ^ a b Gregg, 1929 Manual, 3. ^ a b c Gregg, 1929 Manual, 61. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 34. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 48. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 52. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, 4. ^ a b c Gregg, 1929 Manual, 65. ^ Gregg, 1929 Manual, viii-ix. ^ Leslie, Louis (1953). Methods of Teaching Gregg Shorthand. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 128–129. ISBN 0-07-037254-3.  ^ Swem, Charles Lee, "Why Gregg Simplified?" The National Shorthand Reporter, 14(9): 385. ^ Jackson, Ernest L. (1918). Gregg Shorthand
Adapted to Esperanto (PDF). New York: Gregg Publishing.  ^ Senecal, R. J. (1939). Sténographie Gregg. New York: Gregg.  ^ Greenberg, Samuel Valencia (1924). Gregg Shorthand
Adapted to the German Language. New York: Gregg.  ^ Widzowski, Józef (1926). Stenografja Polska. New York: Gregg.  ^ Harter, Eugenio Claudio (1955). Estenografia Gregg. New York: Gregg.  ^ Gregg, John Robert (1923). Taquigrafía Gregg. New York: Gregg. 

Further reading[edit] Hollier, Dennis (June 24, 2014). "How to Write 225 Words Per Minute With a Pen". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2015-03-11.  Reporter offers "a lesson in the lost technology of shorthand." External links[edit]

Gregg.angelfishy.net, dedicated to Gregg Shorthand's perpetuation Internet Archives Public Domain Gregg Shorthand
Novels and Manuals

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Arabic Pitman shorthand Hebrew

Ashuri Cursive Rashi Solitreo

Tifinagh Manichaean Nabataean Old North Arabian Pahlavi Pegon Phoenician


Proto-Sinaitic Psalter Punic Samaritan South Arabian

Zabur Musnad

Sogdian Syriac

ʾEsṭrangēlā Serṭā Maḏnḥāyā

Teeline Shorthand Ugaritic




Asamiya (Ôxômiya) Bānglā Bhaikshuki Bhujinmol Brāhmī Devanāgarī Dogri Gujarati Gupta Gurmukhī Kaithi Kalinga Khojki Khotanese Khudawadi Laṇḍā Lepcha Limbu Mahajani Meitei Mayek Modi Multani Nāgarī Nandinagari Odia 'Phags-pa Newar Ranjana Sharada Saurashtra Siddhaṃ Soyombo Sylheti Nagari Takri Tibetan

Uchen Umê

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Kolezhuthu Malayanma



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Blackfoot Déné syllabics

Fox I Ge'ez Gunjala Gondi Japanese Braille Jenticha Kayah Li Kharosthi Mandombe Masaram Gondi Meroitic Miao Mwangwego Sorang Sompeng Pahawh Hmong Thomas Natural Shorthand



Abkhaz Adlam Armenian Avestan Avoiuli Bassa Vah Borama Carian Caucasian Albanian Coorgi–Cox alphabet Coptic Cyrillic Deseret Duployan shorthand

Chinook writing

Early Cyrillic Eclectic shorthand Elbasan Etruscan Evenki Fox II Fraser Gabelsberger shorthand Garay Georgian

Asomtavruli Nuskhuri Mkhedruli

Glagolitic Gothic Gregg shorthand Greek Greco-Iberian alphabet Hangul Hanifi IPA Kaddare Latin

Beneventan Blackletter Carolingian minuscule Fraktur Gaelic Insular Kurrent Merovingian Sigla Sütterlin Tironian notes Visigothic

Luo Lycian Lydian Manchu Mandaic Medefaidrin Molodtsov Mongolian Mru Neo-Tifinagh New Tai Lue N'Ko Ogham Oirat Ol Chiki Old Hungarian Old Italic Old Permic Orkhon Old Uyghur Osage Osmanya Pau Cin Hau Runic

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large small bird-worm

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Hindu-Arabic Abjad Attic (Greek) Muisca Roman



Celtiberian Northeastern Iberian Southeastern Iberian Khom


Espanca Pahawh Hmong Khitan small script Southwest Paleohispanic Zhuyin fuhao


ASLwrite SignWriting si5s Stokoe Notation


Afaka Bamum Bété Byblos Cherokee Cypriot Cypro-Minoan Ditema tsa Dinoko Eskayan Geba Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics Iban Japanese

Hiragana Katakana Man'yōgana Hentaigana Sogana Jindai moji

Kikakui Kpelle Linear B Linear Elamite Lisu Loma Nüshu Nwagu Aneke script Old Persian Cuneiform Vai Woleai Yi (Modern) Yugtun

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International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA) Nemeth braille code


e-book Braille
embosser Braille
translator Braille
watch Mountbatten Brailler Optical braille recognition Perforation Perkins Brailler Refreshable braille display Slate and stylus Braigo


Louis Braille Charles Barbier Valentin Haüy Thakur Vishva Narain Singh Sabriye Tenberken William Bell Wait


Institute of America Braille
Without Borders Japan Braille
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3arabizi Alay (Indonesia) Denglisch Doge Fingilish (Persian) Greeklish Gyaru-moji (Japan) Jejemon (Philippines) Leet
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See also English internet slang (at Wiktio