This text-book of Phonography is, as its name implies, a course in Munson Phonography that is shorter than that presented in the author's recent and larger work, The Art of Phonography (A complete instructor in the best method of shorthand for all kinds of verbatim work, with the author's latest improvements). It has been designed especially as a phonographic instruction book for schools, by the use of which teachers will be able to advance their pupils with great rapidity to a practical knowledge of Phonography, without at the same time sacrificing thoroughness.
All the essentials of Phonography are presented, but in a more condensed form than in the other work. The reading and writing exercises are considerably shorter, but will be found amply sufficient for any class work ; and the particular reading and writing exercises connected with each Lesson have been made entirely independent of each other, neither of them containing any words which are found in the other, so that the learner will have nothing to aid him in his reading or writing but the rules and principles of Phonography as presented in the text and the illustrative examples. As soon as the learner has been put in possession of sufficient phonographic knowledge to make it practicable to do so, he is set at work reading and writing short sentences. At first the sentences are necessarily very simple, very much like the matter of a child's primer ; but as advance is made they become more and more complex and comprehensive until the final ones take in and represent the whole of Phonography. Some of the sentences may seem a little humorous, but it has been thought that a little pleasantry will relieve the study somewhat of monotony and the effects of much close application.
For those, however, who wish to make a thorough scientific study of the system, as well as for teachers of the art, and for learners who are pursuing the study by themselves, the larger work will be indispensable. Speed in writing Phonography comes very largely from being familiar with a large number of different word-outlines, — having an extensive phonographic vocabulary, as it were ; and The Art of Phonography far excels all other text-books of Phonography in the number of word-outlines given in shorthand characters.
The attention of teachers of Phonography, and other Phonographers who may be interested, is respectfully asked to the following statement :
I claim for my system of Phonography superiority over others mainly for the following reasons :
I. Its alphabet, including both consonant and vowel representation, is absolutely simple and for that reason is the best for the teacher, and has proved itself to be the best in practice.
II. In the application to the consonant-stems of the various abbreviating principles of Phonography, such as hooks, modifications by halving and lengthening, circles and loops, etc., there is the most complete freedom from exceptions to general rules - again aiding both the teacher and the practitioner.
III. The adaptation of the system to the requirements of the practical reporter is much more thorough and complete than is to be found in any other system. This last point is of very great importance, although it is apt to be overlooked by teachers and casual investigators of shorthand systems.
My consonant-signs are all simple stems, the origin of which is shown at page 1, paragraph 5 ; whereas in the alphabets of other systems of Phonography may be found instances of either compound stems being used for simple consonant-sounds or simple stems used for double consonant-sounds, or both. This absolute simplicity of the consonant-signs of my alphabet enables me to provide very concise and simple rules for the carrying out of the main principles of Phonography, to the advantage of both teacher and pupil, as will now be illustrated by comparison of some of the important rules given in this book with the corresponding rules to be found in the leading instruction book of the old or " Ninth Edition " Phonography. At pages 70 and 72 are the rules for the "Either I ox r may be added after any straight stem by a small initial-hook. For / it is turned on the right side of downstrokes, and on the upper side of rightstrokes. For r it is turned on the side opposite the El-hook.
" Either / or r may be added after any curved stem by an initial-hook, the hook being made large for / and small for r."
The " Ninth Edition " rules covering the same subject are as follows :
"A small hook on the circle-side, and at the beginning of any consonant-stroke (except /, r, m, n, ng, s, z, zv, A), indicates that an / follows it.
"Shel and Zhel never stand alone, have their hooks at the bottom, and are always written upward.
" The reporter uses a large initial hook on Em, En, Ray [our Ree] for /.
"Signs to indicate the combination of r with a preceding consonant (except s, z, /, r, m, n, ng, w, y, h), are obtained by turning over sidewise the corresponding El-hook signs, except Shel, Zhel, which are turned over endwise.
" Sher and Zher have their hook at the top, and are always written downward.
" R may be added to Em and En by a small initial hook, provided they are widened [that is, changed to our Hay and Ing respectively]."
At pages 86 and 89 are the rules for the
HALVING AND LENGTHENING PRINCIPLES. (munson phonography.)
" Either t ox d may be added to any stem, straight or curved, simple or hooked, by making it half its ordinary length.
1' The syllables ter, der, ther, and ture may each be added to any curved stem, whether simple or hooked, and to any straight stem with final-hook, by making the stem twice its ordinary length."
The " Ninth Edition " rules on the same subject are as follows :
HALVING AND LENGTHENING PRINCIPLES. ("ninth edition" phonography.)
" Either t or d may be added to certain signs, by halving them :
" 1. To any unhooked consonant-stroke, except El, Lay [our Lee], Em, En, Ar [our Er], Ing, Way, Yay, Emp or Emb [our Hay].
" 2. To any hooked consonant-stroke.
"Way, Yay, Emp, and Ing are never halved for any purpose ; but El, Lay, Em, En, and Ar are sometimes halved.
" Hooked Way, Yay, Emp, unlike simple Way, Yay, Emp, may be halved.
" By halving the curve-signs for /, Mr, n, or^, — t ox d is added, according as the shortened letter is made light or heavy. " Doubling the length —
1. Of Ing adds kr or gr.
2. Of any other curve, adds tr, dr, or thr.
" The reporter may derive great advantage from doubling a full-length straight line, without a final attachment, to add hr for there, their, or they are the heavy lines being tapered toward their termination."
Attention is also called to the rule for the circle for s or z on page 98. It will be seen that it is all-comprehensive and covers everything, including the outlines of such words as chose, debts, salt, enters, fruits, puffs, fines, faints, founders, cycle, sinner, etc.; and shows the great advantage of not teaching the circles and loops until after the learner has mastered all the hooks and the halving and lengthening principles.
The invention and adoption by me of the new sign for ishun, namely, a large final-hook joined to stems with a circle intervening (page 123), enables me to use the old ishun-curl for n always, and for ing after loops (page 122). The use of the curl for n is exceedingly valuable in writing proper names ending in "son,"etc.
My vowel-scale, in which all the broad, open vowels (ah, a, aw, 6, 1, 01, ow) are put in one position by themselves and all the close vowels (ē, i, oo, oo, u) in another position by themselves, makes the writing of word-outlines in the positions of the accented vowels perfectly simple and easy of acquisition and application ; while the vowel-scale of the "Ninth Edition," in which the vowels, open and close, are all mixed up, renders the practice of writing words in position quite difficult. For a very full treatment of this subject the reader is referred to the preface to the Revised Edition of The Art of Phonography, pages iv. to vii.
With regard to the adaptation of the system to the requirements of the practical reporter, I will state that many years ago, I made an important discovery respecting the length of word-outlines ; namely, first, that in writing Phonography we analyze our word-outlines into their stem-signs, not counting hooks, circles, etc., they being considered merely as connectors of stems ; and, second, that the mind grasps and the fingers execute outlines of one, two, and three stems much more easily than outlines of four or more stems. Acting on this conclusion, I have, in preparing all my text-books, as far as I possibly could, kept my word-outlines within the three-stem limit.
To illustrate with a few examples I will take the outlines of the following words, selected at random from Isaac Pitman's Dictionary : affirmative, decorum, incandescent, melancholy are there written respectively Ef-Er-Em-Tev (4 stems), Dee-Kay-Ree-Em (4 stems), En-Kay-En-Dess-Ent (5 stems), Em-Len-Kay-Lee (4 stems) ; while my outlines for the same words respectively are Fer-Met-Vee (3 stems), Dee-Ker-Em (3 stems), En-Kend-Esent (3 stems), Mel-En-Kel (3 stems).
I will now touch briefly upon another important respect in which my Phonography has been, I think, more completely adapted to the wants of the reporter than any other system. Every system of shorthand has a considerable number of conflicting outlines which, unless special provision is made to avoid or neutralize them, become veritable pitfalls to the reporter. Some of them are common to all systems ; and in addition to those each system has a good many others that are peculiar to itself. In the List of Words and Phrases Specially Distinguished, commencing at page 182, are given most of the instances of that kind that are to be found in Munson Phonography. This list is the most complete of the kind that has ever been published in connection with any system ; it being one of the important fruits of the author's long experience as a stenographic reporter. The result is that the Munson system is more completely "charted" against the dangers of unvocalized Phonography than any other.
A word in closing in regard to certain new-fangled systems of shorthand that are now being urged with great persistency upon educators, which are entirely outside of what is commonly known as "Phonography." The author of one of them seeks to convince by shouting, "No shaded lines, no ruled paper, no word-signs, to burden the memory." Another uses the more emphatic war-cry, "One slope! One position !! One thickness !!I Connective vowels!!!!" Now each of these claims, which to the uninitiated seems so fascinating, is really a very serious defect. Writing (without vowels) the consonants with light and shaded lines, struck in all directions, and in different positions with reference to the ruling of paper, is the very thing that enables us to have a shorthand in which very few word-outlines exceed three steins in length. If these long-established requisites of stenography are discarded verbatim speed is an impossibility.
When a student takes up the study of shorthand he is entitled to have the best. Either of the well-known American systems of Phonography is better than any of the new systems of shorthand that I have seen.
J. E. M.
New York, November, 1900.