Stenographer/Shorthand

Shorthand Meaning writing Consonant Vowel

  • Shorthand Meaning

A system of fast writing that uses lines and simple signs to represent words and phrases.

  • Writing

Like Gregg shorthand, Pitman shorthand is phonemic: with the exception of abbreviated shapes called logograms, the forms represent the sounds of the English word, rather than its spelling or meaning. Unlike Gregg it is also partly featural, in that pairs of consonsant phonemes distinguished only by voice are notated with strokes differing only in thickness. There are twenty-four consonants that can be represented in Pitman’s shorthand, twelve vowels and four diphthongs. The consonants are indicated by strokes, the vowels by interposed dots.

  • Logograms (Short Forms)

Common words are represented by special outlines called logograms (or “Short Forms” in Pitman’s New Era). Words and phrases which have such forms are called grammalogues. Hundreds exist and only a tiny number are shown above. The shapes are written separately to show that they represent distinct words, but in common phrases (“you are”, “thank you”, etc.) two or three logograms may be joined together, or a final flick added to represent the.

  • Consonants

The consonants in Pitman’s shorthand are pronounced bee, pee, dee, tee, jay, chay, gay, kay, vee, eff, thee, ith, zee, ess, zhee, ish, em, el, en, ray ar, ing, way, yay, and hay. When both an unvoiced consonant and its corresponding voiced consonant are present in this system, the distinction is made by drawing the stroke for the voiced consonant thicker than the one for the unvoiced consonant. (Thus s is ⟨)⟩ and z is ⟨)⟩.) There are two strokes for rar and ray. The former assumes the form of the top right-hand quarter of a circle (drawn top-down), whereas the latter is like chay ⟨/⟩, only less steep (drawn bottom to top). There are rules governing when to use each of these forms.

  • Vowels

The long vowels in Pitman’s shorthand are: /ɑː/, /eɪ/, /iː/, /ɔː/, /oʊ/, and /uː/. The short vowels are /æ/, /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ɒ/, /ʌ/, and /ʊ/. The long vowels may be remembered by the sentence, “Pa, may we all go too?”, and the short vowels may be remembered by the sentence, “That pen is not much good”

A vowel is represented by a dot or a dash, which can be written either lightly or heavily depending on the vowel needed. As this gives only four symbols, they can be written in three different positions – either at the beginning, middle or end of a consonant stroke – to represent the 12 vowels.

The dots and dashes representing long vowels are darker than the ones representing short vowels. For example, say is written as “)•”, but seh (if it did exist) would be written as “)·”; see is written as “).,

  • Diphthongs

{\displaystyle ie\;\;\;^{\lor }\qquad oi\;\;\;^{\mathfrak {7}}\qquad ow\;\;\;_{\land }\qquad ew\;\;\;_{\cap }}There are four diphthongs in Pitman’s shorthand  /aɪ/, /ɔɪ/, /aʊ/, /juː/, as in the words “I enjoy Gow’s music.” The first three appear as small checkmarks; the “ew” sound is written as a small arch. Both “ie” and “oi” are written in first position, while “ow” and “ew” are written in third position. In the same way, the whole outline is placed above, on or through the paper’s ruled line. If the diphthong is followed by a neutral vowel, a little flick is added.

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