Re: Shorthand

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sun Jun 08 2003 - 06:17:13 EDT

  • Next message: Karl Pentzlin: "Re: Shorthand"

    From: "Tom Gewecke" <>
    > >>
    > >
    > >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 ?
    > It seems doubtful, given the huge number of systems out there. Many
    > standard "shorthands" also changed significantly over their history. On
    > the other hand, I don't think these systems will ever be encoded, as it
    > does not seem like they are ever used for data interchange or storage in a
    > signficant way, they often have a substantial personal component, and are
    > now quickly becoming extinct. It's hard to imagine anyone devoting the
    > effort to encoding them. Personally I have looked at Pitman (regular and
    > simplified) and Gregg, and found the complexity to be enormous. Graphics
    > are probably a better way to represent them than "text."

    You should know that the French stenographic method Prévost-Delaunay is still tought in some professional training shools. And books about this method are still published (and sold on specialized libraries or online book shops like Amazon).

    Look in Google for "Prévost Delaunay" and you'll find references, inclusing in personnal curriculum vitaes where it is still recognized as a professional skill. It's much harder now to find people experimented with that system, and we start to see some renewed interests for training cursus (and that's why new books are edited that exhibit and explain this system, which has been tought to millions of people in Europe, which also continue to use it in their professional activities.

    Preserving this writing system with new publications and online web resources would help keeping this system active, as it has a proven value and is certainly easier to use than a specialized stenotyping machine. It's interest would also be useful for usage on handheld computers (without keyboards, and with small graphic screens), because it's better to have a standardized system than some incoherent personnal conventions which even the writer cannot reread after some time.

    I admitthat such writing system is an intermediate transcription form, but its usefulness is demonstrated, and being able to publish books and train people with modern technologies would probably help. I do not consider such standardized and widely tought system as "minor", and in fact it is more widely used than many rare scripts for extinct languages that are (or will be) encoded in Unicode (I also think that some methods like "Prévost-Delaunay" are still more widely used than IPA today!).

    I just think that some stenographic supporting association may create a formal abjad which contain such system, and fonts are quite easy to create to display those symbols. Don't consider it from the point of view of US (where stenotype machines were rapidly introduced to use ASCII letters, something which was only possible for the English language, and not well suited for French and German). That's why most resources about stenography on the web are in French and German.

    I don't know which system is widely used in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland, but it still has its supporters. these two systems are still used to transcript meetings at regional and national councils, and also used at the European Parlement, and in French national and local Assemblies.

    -- Philippe.

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