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Shorthand

 Contents..

When I was a student, in lectures, students tried to write down notes about what the lecturer was saying. Portable voice recorders and similar devices let people record the audio of a lecture nowadays - and video it too. A fast typist could even bring a computer keyboard to a lecture and type the notes.

A shorthand system was most useful before that technology was common. One approach, in lectures, was to remove the vowels from much of a word so that it took less time to write. The skill is to leave in the vowels which are essential and strip out the ones which are not so that a re-read of the words still makes sense.

With my interest in memory techniques, I wanted a shorthand system which could also be used as a memory system for remembering quotes accurately in exams, etc. This article is the core of the shorthand system.

Typically, I am using 2 characters to represent words which are more than 2 characters long. Eg. An image meaning AC could be a prompt for 'ACcountant' or 'ACcessory'. The spelling prompts from an earlier lesson (People 00 to 99 article) can be used; or the alphabet A-Z images for weaker prompts: the Apple image (meaning 'A') can be stored at a mental location to prompt a word that begins with 'A' and a category of second letter: one of those people implies an 'A' followed by a consonant (person 71); and so 'A P-as-a-consonant -pointment' might be a prompt for recalling the word.

Word Code Default meaning Comment 2 Comment 3 Comment 4
why 0



how 1



because 2



what 3



for 4



where 5



or 6



when 7



and 8



if 9



a / an A



although A0



alkaline A2



act A3 theatrical acting behave Perform a duty
already A4



angle A5



around A6



also A7



anything A8



able A9




(All of the shorthand...)

The shorthand system was adjusted in August 2007 to allow images which represent 2 words. This was done by considering that the images for 00, 01, 02, ... 98, 99 [00 to 99] could all represent a pair of words if the first digit occurs in a list of 10 words and the second digit occurs in another list of 10 words:


First digit represents these possibilities:

0 you

1 he

2 she

3 we

4 they

5 there

6 I

7 this

8 that

9 it


Second digit represents these possibilities:

0 is / are

1 has / have

2 want

3 had

4 can

5 could

6 will

7 should

8 would

9 were


So, 23 is 'she' followed by 'had': 'she had'.

94 is 'there / where' followed by 'can': 'there can' or 'where can' [deduced from the context].

Another adaption is to allow a digit and a letter to represent 2 words; the intention is to create an image library to represent 0A, 3D, and so on [a digit followed by a letter].

First digit represents these possibilities:

0 why / from

1 how

2 because / with

3 what

4 for

5 where

6 or / through

7 when / on / in

8 and

9 if


The letter represents these possibilities:

A a

B so

C she

D these

E they

F this

G something

H her

I I

J those

K that

L his

M my

N no

O other

P it is

Q any

R another

S some

T it

U our

V the

W we / us

X there

Y you

Z too


9R is 'if' followed by 'another':

'if another'; or

[deduced from the context]


Other Activities

Here is a switch of the options which could be represented by digits 0 to 9 :

0 is / are

1 has / have

2 want

3 had

4 can

5 could

6 will

7 should

8 would

9 were


And the second digit of a 00 to 99 number can come from:

0 you

1 he

2 she

3 we

4 they

5 there

6 I

7 this

8 that

9 it


eg. 00 could be 'have you'. Another 00 to 99 image system could reverse this so that 00 is 'you have'.


Since images for 00 to 99 now mean words, how would I represent the number 71 for it to actually mean 71? One approach would be to have a mental image which means 'interpret the next image in a different way to ususal' - imagine a phrase book for example to mean that. So, if you travel your mental locations and see a phrase book then the next mental location will surely be a number image which needs to be interpreted to be a number.

This system seems like a departure from the AA-ZZ system where ES might prompt for a word beginning ES... . Instead, now, ES means 'Easy'; but what if a word beginning with 'ES..' needs memorising? Can ES be used for that as well? If there did not exist the extensive shorthand image approach of one image per shorthand code, one approach would be to create a mnemonic image which means 'use the next letter pair as a spelling prompt rather than as 'ES = Easy'; another approach is to create an extra alphabet pair system of images just for the shorthand system; and reserve the full AA-ZZ image system for the purpose of spelling prompts.

As long as you know a lot of mental locations in which to imagine each image, you could memorise a long piece of text quite reliably near the time of an exam. However, a memory system of mental locations, etc. is a big discipline to learn separately.

Further reading: Thoughts on pronunciation of Shorthand