Jumat, 27 September 2013

Go On, Make My Day

Go On, Make My Day - Part 1 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The last time I saw the phrase "Go on, make my day" was on a picture of a vicious dog, displayed on the window next to someone's front door. The dog was obviously going to enjoy carrying out his normal duties of protecting the house and getting his teeth into the intruder's leg. The dog's instinct, breeding, daily life and training, as well as the owner's expectations, will have been satisfied by the unwise and rash actions of the unfortunate person who does not heed the notice. Whether there was actually a dog in residence that day, or at all, might be questioned but finding out for sure is not on anyone's to do list. An equally convincing version is a portrait of the dog, making clear its breed and large size, with the words underneath "I live here". The satisfaction of someone or something making your day is when you finally have proof that your skills, methods, equipment or, in the dog's case, teeth used as weapons, actually work and do the job efficiently.* It inspires confidence that the situation can be dealt with successfully again and again with the tools that you possess, and puts you back in charge, and not at the mercy of events, problems or intruders.

*efficiently - the short form does not have an Ell stroke, but you can add a disjoined Ell if you felt it was necessary for clarity

Go On, Make My Day - Part 2 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Buy a clock like this for
your shorthand dictator
There is a shorthand lesson in here somewhere! When you have spent a lot of your precious time learning the skill, it is only natural to want to use it at every opportunity. Using it for real, rather than practising, highlights the fact* that you have a new item in your armoury for dealing with and capturing the endless flow of information – just like getting a new laptop, a camera that does more than just take pictures, or an Iphone that has all the apps that you need to make your life easier, faster and more efficient. There is no pleasure in having a new “toy” unless you are able to put it to work for real and gain a genuine satisfaction from possessing the necessary tools for what you wish to do.

*Fact - the phrase omits the "F", see

Go On, Make My Day - Part 3 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Tell me a bedtime story
or recite all the Short Forms

to get me to sleep

At work I sometimes imagined how things would be if I did not know shorthand. It was not that I would be doing that work in a different way. The reality was that it would just be someone else doing it and getting paid for it instead of me, and I would be doing the less interesting copy and audio typing jobs. I eagerly awaited each assignment and looked forward to proving my skills. I would leave the noisy typing room and go upstairs to the main offices with my pristine pad and pen, and find the desk of the person who had requested someone to take the notes and type them up. No-one dictated really fast, because they were composing the letters, reports or minutes, and stopping to think all the time. Nevertheless I had to be "on the ball" as they often wanted it read back to them to check up on the wording. No computers in those days to make proofing easy! At first, reading back was less* than comfortable, but it was a good training ground. I soon found that it was essential to mark the separate paragraphs clearly, so that I could find my place quickly.

*"Less" has downward Ell only in this phrase, the outline on its own has upward Ell.

Go On, Make My Day - Part 4 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Tell me I have reached 200 rpm
Once I had successfully completed my first few assignments at real-life shorthand writing, I was ready and willing to do it as often as possible. The instruction to go and take the shorthand really made my day. There was also satisfaction in seeing a job through from beginning to end,* as well as getting about more to meet the people in other parts of the building. For the learner, passing speed tests is very gratifying but the pleasure of achieving the finished result on paper - the transcript, letter or report, entirely accurate, complete and neatly laid out - not only makes your day, but also that of the person who requested it. Your qualms about your own shorthand ability, and their worries about whether the report will be what they said, will evaporate and be rapidly forgotten. Working on improving suddenly becomes very much more attractive, smoothing your path on future shorthand assignments. A job well done is also a good advertisement for the benefits of shorthand. A practical demonstration in a real job situation, especially when a deadline is met easily and in good time, is infinitely better than the mere relating of opinions on the merits or otherwise of shorthand.

*"from beginning to end", see

Go On, Make My Day - Part 5 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Unlike the ferocious dog, it is quite in order and perfectly legal for you to “sink your teeth” into shorthand. When you achieve your first successful dictation attempt, however short and at whatever speed, I know from experience that this will certainly make your day and provide the energy and incentive to continue your efforts to improve. When you smash through your personal speed target, whether that is 20 words per minute or 200 words per minute, or anything in between, I would like to say, “Go on, make my day” and let the rest of us shorthand devotees know, via the Guestbook, of your victory, which I trust will be just one in a succession of shorthand achievements. (868 words)

Minggu, 15 September 2013

Pitman's Snippets

The books that you have been learning from contain neat, tidy, drawn shorthand, and my own offerings, in this blog and my main website, also aim to present shorthand in a form that you can confidently copy. Once you have gained some experience, you will increasingly find that shorthand can be written in a more flowing and cursive manner, and still be read back with ease. There is less room for manoeuvre than with longhand, as you cannot slope the strokes or change their relative length without changing their meaning, but real written shorthand is unlikely to match the perfection of form found in the books, at least when written at a reasonable speed. 

As an introduction to more scribbled shorthand, I would like to invite you to visit my new BlogSpot called Pitman's Snippets, where I am posting bits and pieces of rough-and-ready shorthand. You will have to use all your shorthand knowledge to read them, as there is no longhand key provided. This is exactly how real life shorthand is - your shorthand notes are the only thing that you have (unless you have also made a sound recording) and you must rely on that and read back without anyone helping you with the difficult or questionable parts. With the snippets blog you can improve your abilities in this area, without any hassle or stress, and can treat it as a game. 
When you are "up against it" in producing a transcript for your employer or in a exam, in the face of outlines refusing to yield themselves to being deciphered, you will, I hope, have gained some extra confidence in your ability to complete the task or assignment.

Pitman's Snippets logo header

Although the shorthand in the snippets is less than neat, I can assure you that all the outlines are dictionary correct. A few vowel signs are included to help with the reading but if these notes were for myself, I would probably leave them out, and your own notes also will have vowel signs only where you need them. All the items have a brief caption, to make them accessible via the search box. Some of the snippets will be wilder and messier than others, and I hope you enjoy the challenge of reading them. The absence of longhand for checking will make your successes in reading even more valuable, as you will know that you have achieved complete reading accuracy all on your own. (406 words)

Pitman's Snippets - Note scrap

Sabtu, 14 September 2013

End Of Summer

End Of Summer - Part 1 of 2 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! BlogSpot

Hardy fuchsia "Brutus"
Hardy fuchsia "Brutus"
It seems that our British summer has come to a rather sudden end, with a week of mist, drizzle and rain. We have had plenty of hot weather during July and August, and although we dream of it going on forever, we know that is not going to happen, nor would we really want it to. Our weather is unpredictable and a hot sunny period may last a week or more, or maybe just for that day, with a sudden change in conditions occurring without warning. Here in Britain we tend to want to make the most of such days, getting out in the sunshine and enjoying ourselves, talking about it endlessly and making sure that we do not waste a single moment of it. A longish spell of summery weather can produce an untroubled lazy easiness with no sense of rushing or being hurried about, which is just the right attitude for the necessary rest and relaxation for those whose working days are busy and high-pressured. Remembering the coming grey or rainy days of autumn and the short days of winter, I generally plan my activities around the weather, and save indoor duties for the less appealing days. This applies equally to sunny winter days, which can still be enjoyed even if they are not warm. I resist sitting at the computer doing things that are not needed immediately, especially when the sun is shining and the fresh air beckons.

End Of Summer - Part 2 of 2 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! BlogSpot

Pond netting and goldfishThe garden is still full of flowers, the grass is greener than ever, and the snails and slugs are still travelling across the lawn when morning comes, after their night-time forays. I think the frogs are having a good time too, being able to roam around in more comfort when it is wet, but as most of them are this year’s new batch, they are very small and remain unseen. They will be finding dark damp corners to hide away for the winter. The fine pond netting that we put over to safeguard the fish, after an unwanted visit from a pair of passing ducks earlier in the year, is now collecting leaves. On the misty mornings it has a grey appearance instead of almost invisible black, matching the spider webs nearby. Unlike previous years, this time I am well prepared for “putting the garden to bed” for the winter. All but one bag of daffodil bulbs have been planted. All the plants in the big ceramic pots are actually in plastic pots inside, so the ceramic pots remain safe from frost cracking. If there is another spell of warm dry weather after this, there will be a sense of urgency to ensure that everything is sorted and tidy before the onset of chillier days. In wintry weather there is no great desire to attend to those things, and the cosy computer corner, hot drink and fluffy slippers win every time. (482 words)

Jumat, 06 September 2013

Misspellings 1

Misspellings 1 - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The practice sentences below contain one hundred common misspellings, all shown in capital letters. These are described on the Oxford Dictionaries website.* The exercise sentences would be more beneficial if you transcribe them by typing rather than reading, so that your fingers also learn the correct spellings. It is more difficult to transcribe practice sentences than connected matter, because there is no thread of meaning running through them all and therefore no context* to help speed up your reading. As the purpose is to learn or revise the correct longhand spelling, it might be helpful to write the shorthand at a comfortable low speed, so that the outlines are well formed and easy to read. Taking slow shorthand is useful to counteract the tendency for the outlines to become straggly and messy. It would be frustrating if, despite writing and reading the shorthand correctly, the transcript was spoiled because of a misspelling.

* "context" - for this outline, it is better to always use the con dot, and never use proximity, so that it cannot be misread as "text"

Misspellings 1 - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

As you can see, the blog title is numbered, and this ominous presence of a numeral should alert you to the fact that more lists of commonly misspelled words will be offered at some later date. You have been warned and it may be helpful not to store the English dictionary on the dusty top high shelf, where it can only be retrieved by hauling out the stepladder* and moving furniture, chairs and boxes! Please note the different outlines for misspelled and misspelt. They use the large circle to make them easier to read. They reflect the fact that the prefix and main word each have their own S sound, which can be heard in the pronunciation* as a longer hesitation over the S’s, rather than two separate sounds.

* "ladder" on its own would be written with L + D with hook R.

* Inserting the diphone sign will prevent it looking like "pronouncement"

Misspellings 1 - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

  • We will ACHIEVE our goal of providing ACCOMMODATION for our guests ACROSS the country.
  • The man APPARENTLY had a very AGGRESSIVE manner and an untidy APPEARANCE.
  • Basically there was an ARGUMENT over who had carried out the ASSASSINATION.
  • Now we are BEGINNING to BELIEVE that this is a very BIZARRE BUSINESS indeed.
  • The picture on the CALENDAR was a view over the CARIBBEAN countryside and seashore.
  • The CHAUFFEUR drove our friend to the CEMETERY.
  • They will be COMING to the COMMITTEE COMPLETELY CONSCIOUS of the problem.
  • Their CURIOSITY over the matter is DEFINITELY resulting in a DILEMMA for us.
  • If you DISAPPEAR from the party too quickly, you will DISAPPOINT your friends.

Misspellings 1 - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

  • Instead of producing ECSTASY, the EXISTENCE of the gold only ended in EMBARRASSMENT.
  • They measured the temperature in degrees FAHRENHEIT in order to improve the ENVIRONMENT.
  • He was not FAMILIAR with FLUORESCENT lights but FINALLY he bought one.
  • We will not be importing any FOREIGN goods in the FORESEEABLE future.
  • We FORWARDED the invitation to FORTY of our FRIENDS.
  • He went FURTHER and explained to us the GIST of this GLAMOROUS story.
  • The GUARD HAPPENED to see the HARASSMENT that took place near the GOVERNMENT building.
  • The HONORARY secretary told a HUMOROUS story about the IDIOSYNCRASIES of his work.
  • I have, INCIDENTALLY, read the INDEPENDENT report which was sent out IMMEDIATELY.

Misspellings 1 - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

  • He found it IRRESISTIBLE to INTERRUPT the conversation with his superior KNOWLEDGE.
  • Please LIAISE with them regarding the manufacture of the MILLENNIUM celebration LOLLIPOPS.
  • It is NECESSARY to mention the NOTICEABLE interest in the NEANDERTHAL* exhibit at the museum.
  • It OCCURRED to me that this would be a good OCCASION to visit the PAVILION.
  • This problem OCCURRED yesterday and in fact it has been OCCURRING PERSISTENTLY.
  • At the museum they saw a PIECE of stone from the PHARAOH'S tomb.
  • The POLITICIAN was in POSSESSION of a PORTUGUESE passport.
  • The group PREFERRED to discuss the PROPAGANDA PUBLICLY.
  • We will be REALLY very pleased when we RECEIVE the information REFERRING to the plans.
*Full strokes are used for "neander-", rather than doubling plus N hook, so that the following stroke can be joined

Misspellings 1 - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

  • You must REMEMBER that his remarks REFERRED to the RELIGIOUS RESISTANCE group.
  • They were under SIEGE and in this SENSE they felt they were SEPARATE from others.
  • The new rules SUPERSEDE the old ones and we believe they will be SUCCESSFUL.
  • We were SURPRISED at the TENDENCY for these persons to undergo a TATTOO.
  • We are on the THRESHOLD of success and THEREFORE we look forward* to TOMORROW.
  • He was TRULY sorry that he did not hold his TONGUE and had said these WEIRD things.
  • UNFORTUNATELY we have had to close UNTIL next month due to UNFORESEEN circumstances.
  • With the new device, WHEREVER you go you will know WHICH road to take. (727 words)
* The R hook is omitted from the F in this phrase