This Unusual Script Was Devised for Simplifying Note-Taking, Yet Many Find It Unfamiliar.

Taking notes is easy in the digital age thanks to technology. Apps for documenting or simply simple recording allow you to capture meetings, conversations, and thoughts. However, prior to these useful inventions, things weren’t always that simple. The ability to write in shorthand allowed people to take notes in real time in the past.


Encyclopaedia Britannica claims that the Greek historian Xenophon invented shorthand at the beginning. But the writing technique wasn’t widely employed to jot down notes as people spoke until the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, the Latin shorthand system nearly vanished after being in use for more than a millennium.

Following a protracted hiatus, shorthand resumed its popularity in the Victorian era. Additionally, it was employed throughout the Reformation to speed up the notation of Bible translations. Ultimately, the need for stenographers throughout the Industrial Revolution led to the development of modern shorthand.

A contemporary form of shorthand was created by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837, and his brother introduced it to America in 1852. Although the Pitman style was popular in Britain, John Robert Gregg’s version eventually took its place in the US. Gregg Shorthand was the name given to it after it was first known as Light-Line Phonography (1888).

While shorthand was created to simplify letters, long hand refers to the lengthy strokes used to write words; this made it simpler to take notes and record information more quickly. Shorthand is often confused for an old text because it bears little to no similarity to the word it represents. Some people believe that it seems more like Arabic than English because of the different dots and loops that reduce our standard way of writing vowels and consonants.

Once people learned Gregg’s shorthand, they could take down 280 words. Despite its widespread use, note-taking remains relevant in a number of disciplines, including law, medicine, and secretarial work.

What do you think of shorthand? Have you personally utilized it or do you know of anyone who has? Please share this with others and let us know what you think so they may too learn more about this strange writing!

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