Re: Shorthand

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Jun 07 2003 - 19:04:16 EDT

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    From: "Tom Gewecke" <>
    > >There are interesting signs and symbols in this script, which could still
    > >have their use today for other applications than "live transcriptions". I
    > >have a couple of books (published in 1972 and 1974) which describes the
    > >system (in business environements), and wonder if someone was sponsoring a
    > >proposal to encode it...
    > Not to my knowledge. However some space has been noted for them in the
    > "roadmap" starting at 1E000.

    Thanks for pointing this block. But will it be enough to support at least the most wellknown variants that were (and sometimes are still) tought ? I see a "pre-allocation" at U+11E00..U+11EFF (i.e. 256 symbols, also extensible on the next 256 codepoints) within the descriptive range defined on the roadmap as:
        00011800-00011FFF African and other syllabic scripts.
    This is quite strange, and I wonder if it was defined only for the rarely used US method, and there may also exist other methods adapted to Russian (or Chinese: is it Bopomofo?) which also got a good standardization so that they were integrated in training cursus and diplomas, or learning books were (and probably are still) published and sold.

    It's true that there exists quite a lot of shorthand systems, but some were quite highly used (and are still tought today in special training programs), notably in the North of France or Belgium, and in Germany or Austria. There seems to exist at least 2 French methods, and one of these also has a "simplified" version. There seems to exist another German method, and another historic method in UK and US (which gave also some variants, but were probably less used and standardized as the French and German methods).

    It's true that today the invention of the audio-tape, and the now widespread use of word-processors with autocorrection facilities or the recent recognition of handwriting on notepads, have deprecated much of its use in business activities. Notebook and pad computers can now be used more easily in meetings, but there are still some places where such "shorthand" scripts (named "stenography" when it has some standardization) are useful (notably within public meetings, judiciary trials, simply because it's much easier to search immediately in written notes than on a audio-tape, and because audio records will be difficult to use without good recording conditions), this is the only way to fidely transcript the flow of many oral discussion groups (really needed for public testimonies in trials)... Some also learn such system to take their notes without missing important words and quotations (notably medical or legal students, and searchers).

    I can even find training books on Amazon and other online shops, or auction sites for such stenographic systems. The most widely used French stenographic method is based on a set of consonnantal syllables with optional vowel signs that may have several forms (depending on their horizontal or vertical attachment to the consonnanat syllables). It works in a way that has large similarities to some Brahmic scripts, or to the handwritten simplified Arabic script (except that it is written from left to right, and use ligated forms is favored to the use of points or detached diacritics).

    The particularity of this system is that the baseline of some syllables may be moved up or down to adapt to the previous syllables. It also includes common ligatures for frequent word terminations or prefixes, or recurrent words, plus some glyph metrics rules to mean a repetition.

    -- Philippe.

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