Friday, 27 December 2013

Anki & Teeline

Hi all,
Just a quick note to say I will be creating an Anki card deck of Teeline outlines to aid my relearning. And if we're all very lucky, I'll share it via the built in Anki system!

For those who don't know what Anki is

Friday, 16 August 2013

Majestic Teeline

This week has been good for shorthand! I feel I have greatly misjudged Teeline as simply a system of missing out vowels. Surely (I thought) any child can do that! I have found it to be much more than that: as I've been going through the NCTJ textbook I've been impressed by the shortcuts I've been learning. But that's not all that impressed me.

First off, you don't miss out vowels half as much as 'all' implies, greatly increasing the readability of written Teeline. Vowels are always present at the beggining of words and at the end (so Andy is spelt andi and Emma is ema, equestrian eqstrn and so on), as well as being in the middle of words to make outlines more distinguishable and easier to write (for example, one always writes the short form of a vowel between an r and m). If a word has a similar outline to another, you can always write the intermediate vowel just beside it (e.g. shop and ship are far too easily confused without this)

Second, Teeline is current. There are resources and people actively learning Teeline out there. You can take exams in Teeline. Ironically, this is a fantastic resource for someone learning on their own, without a teacher, as resources are very available and encouragement it just a google search away.

Third, Teeline is forgiving. Unlike Gregg and Pitman, you can develop your own handwriting much more in Teeline. The symbols are designed to be distinctive, so that even if it's scruffily written, it should be fairly readable. You still have to be careful though, it says NCTJ textbook that just like handwriting, your Teeline will look different to other peoples and it should be read by other people

Fourth and lastly, the speed at which it is learned. I have been learning for about 14 days, and I'm on unit 10 of 20. By the end of unit 20, I will likely be able to write at about 50 wpm. Because of the way it is structured, I have been able to write Teeline from unit 1, (although many of the time saving tips were absent in my early writing). This has allowed me to truly embrace Teeline in a way that isn't possible with other systems I know; it has allowed me to stave off the temptation to procrastinate, because if I don't feel like doing a difficult dictation, why not just start writing phrases I've heard off the TV programme I'm watching? Or write notes on a youtube video I'm watching? It may not be a great way to learn, but it's a great way to beat a bout of the blues. Even drilling words can be a good starter! Teeline is definitely a shorthand that is designed to be learned, not admired.

In summary, Teeline fits with today's 'learn when I can' culture, using what one already knows (how to spell/write) to speed up the learning. I've really come to love Teeline for what it is.

Friday, 9 August 2013

From Gregg to Teeline

Just a short post this week, I've switched from Gregg to Teeline! The main reason: time. I've already learned to write basic shorthand in Teeline, whereas with Gregg it was taking a week to learn a simple phrase! I'm also going to start writing my blog posts in shorthand as well as typed in order to practice.


This weeks post in Teeline Shoorthand

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Day Here in the Good Air...

'A day here in the good air' written for at least the 10th time

I am cursed with a good memory. While this is useful in physics (my degree) it's useless for trying to read passages in Gregg as I end up memorising the passages! (I have read the exercise starting 'A day here in the good air...' so many times now I think I can almost quote the whole exercise.) But how to solve this problem?

This is where Fundamental Drills in Gregg Shorthand has come in very useful: this book is filled with meaninglessly worded examples of Gregg which no-one would ever write in an ordinary everyday langauge, but is useful for learning it (think 'I can go. He can go. I can go there. He can go there' etc.). Each exercise is complete with a short annotation indicating which unit you need to read before hand. There are 6 rules at the start of the book which can be boiled down to these two.
  1. Read the examples. Read them again. Read them until you read them at the same speed you hear the spoken word
  2. Now you're ready to write. Write fast and write accurately.
This is the method I've been using and I must say, it has greatly aided my practice of Gregg. Not only does it provide some variation to the units, every sentence is so similar that it's not so easy to accidentally memorise the passage. It also helps to train outlines I'll often use (in this case the phrase 'I can go' or 'I can' appears frequently).

I'll report back in a month with how the Fundamental Drills are going. Do you have any techniques you use to help you keep Gregg 'fresh' in your mind? Or have you found a hidden cache of Gregg resources for early on in the learning process? Let me know in the comments below.

These are a couple of pictures of my latest work.

Unit 1 practice from Fundamental Drills


Personal drills, getting angles between lines and circles correct etc.

PS You may've noticed, it's not Friday today! I'm publishing early because I probably won't be able to publish tomorrow, so enjoy!

Friday, 19 July 2013


Motivation is a fickle thing. I'm not short on reasons why everyone should learn shorthand as standard in school. Nor am I short on justifications of why I should spend my hard earned holiday learning this unique and 'out of date' skill. But when it comes to actually practising it ... this week has been pretty bad for it. Like every useful skill, it's much more fun to talk about it than it is to learn it. In fact, in total over the whole week, I think I've done 40 minutes of practice.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, first I'm going to change and do the practice! I have a cool new technique for learning Gregg I want to share with you, but I think it would be best to talk about it after I've used it properly for a week. Maybe I'll even reward myself with a new album from Bridgit Mendler if I practice for 30 minutes every day. Maybe I should watch this video every day, and take inspiration from Jose Luis.

What techniques do you use to motivate yourself?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Useful trick to remember some shapes

In learning unit 1, the following basic outlines are presented
As I looked at these outlines, I realised something: k, g, r and l are all the shape one makes with their their tongue to make the same sound! Try it now, make a k sound and notice how the tongue's shape is very similar for the k outline. I use this trick to distinguish between r and k constantly. Also, in this unit voiced constants are longer than unvoiced (this may be general, but I don't know enough Gregg yet to say so).

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Learning Gregg Shorthand

This blog is going to be about my journey in learning Gregg Shorthand. For those who don't know, Gregg Shorthand is a system of writing which allows the writer to record speech live, as it is spoken. It is possible to reach speeds of 200 wpm with this technique! If you still want to know more, click here for more info.

I'll be learning the Anniversary Edition of Gregg Shorthand, which can be found at (It is a long time out of print, so it's much easier to use the pdf; later versions of Gregg also tend to be slower for reasons which are explained at

I'll be trying to post every Friday with my progress (and possibly things I've noticed which helped me to learn). So sit back, relax, and come learn with me!