Shorthand or Stenography is an Art deeper than Pacific Ocean” !!
Shocked?? Yeah.. Though the above line is quoted by me, but if our Linguist Issac Pitman would have been alive today, he would have surely agreed to what I wrote. According to me, Shorthand is a long way of dealing with some Signs and Symbols, which will initially make you feel worn out, but later on it will surely make your life easy. You can use these symbols to skip writing long sentences. And literally speaking, it helped me a lot. Whatever Subject I study, I write my notes in Shorthand and it saves much time rather than writing whole sentences.
Shorthand is an Art of writing something with the help of symbols and lines and these symbols are phonetic in Nature.
The symbols doesn’t follow the rules of English Morphology. It’s only the Sound that matters.
For example: In English we write the word “Calm” by adding silent “L” but in shorthand silent “L” is not required because the Sound we hear is what we have to to write on paper.
And for that.. You should be a good listener too.
The significance of writing in shorthand is that it will save much of your time.
How I practiced…
In my case, it all started with a Pencil and a Notepad, when our teacher told us to write the Consonants of Shorthand one by one on every page of the Notepad.
There are 24 Consonants in Shorthand.
The Image that I uploaded above is the list of Shorthand Consonants that I made during my College time (YWCA Of DELHI).
From the above image.. You will see that the consonants are drawn with light as well as the dark colour pen. This is not a design, it’s a rule that the Dark symbols represent sounds that are spoken out with the help of the vibration of the our Vocal cords and the Light symbols are spoken without the vibration of Vocal cords.
The first step is to learn these constants by heart as they are the most basic and important tool for learning Shorthand.
For practising shorthand.. You have to write atleast 5 to 10 times the same consonant everyday.
The second and the most important thing that is required to learn in a language is to learn its Vowels.
There are 12 vowels in Shorthand.
Positioning of a Vowel in a Consonant takes place Above the Line, On the Line and Through the Line, and these positional changes reflects the sound of Vowel.
A vowel is represented by Dark and Light dot and Dark and Light Dash with the 3 positioning systems that make up to 12 vowels.
And the best method to learn Vowels is by pronouncing each and every vowel sound.
By the pronunciation of each sound you will be able to easily relate the vowel with the Consonant and then form a word.
Word formation (Joining of consonants along with vowels) requires constant practice and confidence .
After understanding the Consonants, Vowels and Joinings.. All you need to do is to retain them in your mind forever. This can be done with the daily practice of One to two hours.
After learning the basics , you will encounter some of the rule based concepts of shorthand like Halving, S-circle, types of hooks, types of loops, Vowel Identification etc. These concepts helps Shorthand to get more and more flexible and more short to write. And a time comes when you have to skip writing all the vowels in a word because positioning of vowels also takes up enough time.
All these concepts were learnt by me in a long time of 5 to 6 months according to the curriculum of our college. But it really took a lot of hardwork and time from my side. But eventually everything ran smoothly because I felt interest in that.
And yes.. Interest is a very necessary Aid if you really want to become a Stenographer, because without your inner effort and workout, learning Shorthand is just a waste of time and energy.
And when it come to the Speed building, it will mean that you have reached the final stage of Shorthand.
Speed building is possible only if you are clear with the therotical concepts of Shorthand. Basic knowledge is very important and it should be in your mind always.
During the commencement of my speed building classes, at first I felt very awkward as I was not able to catch the speed of my Teacher. But slowly and steadily, everything fell into place, and I was able to write at the speed of 80 WPM (Words per minute). A speed of 80 WPM was enough for me at that time. But after joining the Computer Institute Network Net, I further practiced to increase my speed and accuracy, and now I can write at the speed of 100 WPM. It’s all about constant practice and the determination that led me to grow.
While writing the Dictation at the speed of 100 WPM and above, we have to encounter many difficult words like the names of Ministers and all. So for that, the best way to write them is to either learn them by yourself before the time of Dictation or write their initials during Dictation.
Likewise you will face ample of vocabulary and it’s in your hand to write them and recognise them while reading.
Shorthand is really a great challenge . And the Shorthand Dictation is like a game which you have to play with full concentration otherwise your Game will be Over.!!
That’s why.. Not everyone has the same to ability to dive in the deep ocean of Shorthand because it requires Courage, Consistency and Patience.