Gregg Shorthand and the Smart Pen

Gregg Shorthand is named after John Robert Gregg who invented the system. It actually consists of a pen stenography system that became pretty popular in America at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the invention of mechanical stenography systems cause, the Gregg Shorthand system to loose its popularity.

Up to some 25 years ago, you could find shorthand classes at practically all high schools across the nation, but today, most high school students today have never heard of the Gregg Shorthand writing system.

The well-known publishing firm McGraw-Hill (they bought the Gregg Publishing Company) states that the current popular version is named the Centennial Version. This latest edition works well for business dictation, and it has considerably more short forms than earlier versions, the Series 90 and the Diamond Jubilee Series.

For court reporting and stenography, though, most experts find that the company’s models like the 1949 Simplified and the 1929 Anniversary Series are more efficient.  to use. The Gregg Shorthand system is actually a fantastic way for compressing language. You, the writer, is doing all the encoding and decoding. You will see that your brain is capable of doing it in real time at a very high speed. You can use a Sky wifi smartpen, a great piece of gee-whiz technology developed by the Livescribe company.

The smartpen is replacing basically all your usual reporter’s tools. First of all, the Sky wifi smartpen is also a pen that can write on old-fashioned paper, so you still will be able to scribble all of your notes just like you are used to. On top of that, the smartpen is also a top-notch digital recording device that creates an audio file of your interviews as you go along. And a minuscule camera that’s located near the pen’s tip takes simultaneously pictures of all your notes as you write.

A microprocessor, situated in the pen’s barrel, pulls all information together, and as the smartpen is actually a real computer, it is able to synchronize pictures of your handwritten notes in line with the audio recording. This also means that you can tap your pen’s tip anywhere in your notebook, and your smartpen is replaying the audio instantly when you took the note. And because the smartpen is WiFi enabled, all of your interview, the audio file, your notes, will be automatically uploaded to, for example, your Evernote account. Magic, isn’t it?

Optical character recognition (OCR) software is also available for the smartpen, another great feature! When you’ll be writing like any normal person would, the OCR will be converting your handwritten notes automatically into a file that you can copy and paste into your computer’s word processor. For quite a few reporters, this feature is fantastic, as it takes away the painful task of transcribing your interviews. But at the same time, you can use the 19th Century technology that’s called the Gregg Shorthand System.

In many ways, the Gregg system may even be called more ingenious than the above-described smartpen. And though you won’t find any gizmos or electronics, the Gregg has been a powerful and immensely influential technology system for over a hundred years. And many reporters still use the Gregg in this age of Internet and technology.

Gregg is essentially a pretty simple and highly efficient system to write English. Much more efficient than longhand English. This begins with the letters in our language themselves. We use the Roman alphabet for writing English, and this alphabet is actually far more complicated than strictly needed to differentiate between different letters. For example, to put a lower-case “b” in print we need to write a long, downward stroke and then a clockwise loop right at the stroke’s base. Subsequently, you must move your pen to write the next letter, an action that will take nearly as long as writing the letter itself.

Now with Gregg, the lower-case “b”, for example, is just a downward stroke of your pen, a and forward-leaning long curve that is facing to the right, similar to an open parenthesis, put in italics. This is just one example of how much more effective Gregg Shorthand is in comparison with our standard writing. Consonants are straight lines or shallow curves, and Gregg’s vowels are either small hooks or loops.

The most important aspect of the Gregg Shorthand system lies in the systematic abbreviation approach. Practically all letters in Gregg, when written by themselves, are representing a common word. Ther are also letters that may be used for a few different words related to the context. This means that almost 100 common English words can be rendered in just one single stroke. In the same way, in Gregg, most English words just are abbreviated to one or two pen strokes.