Thursday, February 7, 2013


 It is day 7 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is "Texting".  For me it was more like a test I didn't study for.  Visit Nicky's page to see what the other long-suffering participants have written.

Way back in the dark ages before smart phones and home computers there was shorthand.  The Gregg version was invented by John Robert Gregg in 1888.  I took it in high school, (more recently than 1888) and it was probably my favorite class.  All the letters and sounds of the alphabet are represented, but the key to shorthand are brief forms.  Brief forms are words or phrases represented by one symbol, which increased efficiency.

After learning the alphabet and brief forms, we took dictation.  This was the fun part.  We started out at around 40-60 words per minute, and worked up.  I think my max rate was 140 words per minute.  We had to take and successfully transcribe 120 wpm to pass.  The funny thing was that after taking it at 110 or 120, going back to 90 or 100 was actually harder.  I think it was because we were used to the higher speed and had to recalibrate.

Thanks to modern technology, shorthand is a dying art.  Now we have computers and automated dictation equipment.  So how does all this tie in to texting?  Although serving different purposes, the brief forms used in shorthand are similar to the shortened words and phrases used in texting.  This new language allows us to convey our thoughts in 160 characters or less.  That's important when we're typing with just our thumbs.

We've actually used abbreviations like these for years such as FYI, BYOB, ASAP.  BTW, there are enough out there to MEGO.  I'll leave you with this list of shortcuts so you can tune up your texting skills.  TAFN.  CUL8R.

PS - What are some of your favorite texting short cuts?

PPS - Did anyone else take shorthand?


  1. My texting shortcut is to call someone on the telephone. Ha!

  2. Wow, you have mad texting skills, I actually had to look up some of those abbreviations. I'm ashamed to be a Finn.

  3. I took shorthand. Not sure how many words you had to do to pass - maybe 90-100ish.

    It was rather nifty. I could probably pick it back up - and I have a book. I remember a lot of it. The squiggles actually made sense the way they used/explained them.

    I know with court reporting, each court reporter has her own, it would be extremely difficult for one court reporter to read what another one typed up. I thought that was quite odd when I learned about that.

    Anyway - I am old - so I did indeed take it. :)

  4. That's interesting about the shorthand. I think it's cool you took it. I can imagine writing that fast.

    This would make a good story. What would happen if the phones suddenly stopped working and messages had to be sent. I can see a young person growing to appreciate an older person's skill at shorthand.

    In answer to your question: I don't text. My cell phone is old style. It drives my kids crazy:~)

  5. Ah Gregg shorthand - the bane of my existence. I only made it up to 80 wpm, could be the awkward way I hold my pen (lefthanded and like a child trying to color in a masterpiece).

  6. Between your post and mine I think we've covered the prehistory of texting! Great minds, huh? :)

  7. Fun post, Linda. My sister took shorthand and my mother taught it to me.. well a few basics, that is. My dad used to claim he could write shorthand, then pick up a pend and hold his hand close to his chest, lean in and write on the pad. That was his first of writing with a short hand.

  8. I didn't take shorthand, but in my years as a newspaper person, I developed my own way of taking notes quickly, especially when chatting with a fast talker.

  9. nonamedufus- I'd rather email or visit in person. Too much telephone as a teen.

    Ziva- Sorry to disappoint you, but I had to google texting terminology. Those all came off my list.

    Mariann- I really enjoyed the class. Of course I always enjoyed what I did well in. Having a great teacher helped too.

    Sara- It's easy when one mark represents several words. Back in the really dark ages, notes were written and delivered by courier.

    Tami- From a right-handed perspective, I can't image trying to do shorthand left-handed. I can't even write regular words left-handed legibly.

    Nora Blithe- Indeed they do!

    Hilary- Writing with a short hand...that's funny.

    P.J. - I've read that some people still use shorthand when they don't want what they're writing to be read by others around them. I can see where that would come in handy for a reporter.

  10. I never had to take short hand or typing. Now they barely teach the kids cursive - that is going to be the next lost way of communicating.

  11. I took shorthand too, but never really mastered it. Most people who wanted me to take dictation just let me write the stuff for them.

  12. I never learned shorthand but my mom has a notebook with her shorthand IN IT!

  13. I never took shorthand, but my handwriting looks like I did. Sadly.

  14. Wow, it sounds like a lot of words per minute. I actually write transcripts in my work, but I have no idea how many words I type per minute. Would be interesting to find out though.

    I did not take shorthand, not sure we even had such a course when I was in school. :)

  15. Hey Linda! So, technology enabled us to evolve from one gobbledigook writing system only, only to provide another? It's a harsh mistress, I tell ya! Indigo

  16. I've always wondered what shorthand was all about. Sadly, I've always been too lazy to simply look it up. I appreciate the history lesson, Linda.

    As for text message abbreviations, I usually try not to use them unless I'm being ironic. I guess that makes me boring and inefficient. I would have probably failed those shorthand classes.


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