How Do You Learn Shorthand?


To learn shorthand, one should choose between an alphabetic and symbolic shorthand system, practice writing the symbols or alphabet and practice transcribing articles to get used to the system. Different shorthand systems offer lessons and learning kits; some of the lessons are online and include sample dictations so learners can practice writing shorthand at the speed of spoken language.

The ability to read back what one has written in shorthand is just as important as the ability to take dictation using shorthand. Those learning shorthand should practice reading their dictations back. It helps to read the shorthand out loud, especially when using an alphabetic system. Continued and diligent practice is the key to learning any shorthand system.

Shorthand refers to any of several systems of abbreviated writing used to take dictation. It was once used extensively by secretaries and journalists but is less common now due to the advent of recording technology. The most common symbolic shorthand is the Gregg system, which replaces letters with geometric symbols designed to be written as quickly as possible; someone proficient in Gregg shorthand can write up to 200 words per minute. Alphabetic shorthand systems are much easier to learn than Gregg because their symbols are based on standard English letters. However, they only allow for writing at speeds up to 120 words per minute.