Phonography (Gr. , voice, and , to write), a system of shorthand, mainly invented by Isaac Pitman, of Bath, England, and published in 1887, since when various changes have been made by the inventor and other shorthand writers. In England the only text books of the art are those that are prepared or sanctioned by the inventor; but in the United States three distinct versions or modifications of the system are in common use, substantially as presented in the text books of James E. Munson and Andrew J. Graham of New York, and Benn Pitman (a brother of the inventor) of Cincinnati. The 24 English consonant sounds are each represented by a simple straight or curved line, the requisite number of distinct characters to write them all being obtained by giving these lines four different directions, and by making them both light and heavy. In the alphabet of phonography, on p. 459, the first 16 consonants are arranged in pairs of light and heavy signs; this is because of the near relation of such sounds.
By comparing the two sounds of any pair, it will be found that one is but a slight modification of the other; that they are produced at the same point and by the same contact of the organs of speech, in almost precisely the same manner, the only difference being that in one case the action of the organs is accompanied by a light or breath sound simply, and in the other the same action is accompanied by a heavy or partially suppressed vowel sound. This under tone or sub-vocal constitutes the only difference between the syllables pay, bay; tie, die; chest, jest; Kate, gate; fend, vend; thigh, thy; seal, seal; and shim, sion (as in vision). In each of these pairs the heavy stem is given to the heavy sound. The simple vowel sounds are written with a dot or a short dash placed to the consonant signs, distinction between one vowel and another being secured by writing these signs to the consonants in three places, namely, at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end, and by making them heavy for the long and light for the short vowels. The four double vowels or diphthongs, the sounds of i in ice, oi in oil, ow in owl, and ew in new, are usually represented by small angles, placed in a similar way to the consonant stems.
The following is the alphabet of phonographic signs:
The upright skeleton line to which the dots and dashes are placed in the above table is no part of the vowel sign; it is employed merely to show the positions of the vowels, namely, first, second, and third place. The diphthongs are written as follows:
Except in regard to the letters w, y, and h, no change has been made in the phonographic consonant signs since the publication of Pitman's second edition in 1840. The old stem sign for h, and the one still given by Benn Pitman and Graham, is ; but Isaac Pitman in his later editions adopted the sign (upward) or (downward) for h. E is also sometimes written with a light dot placed before the sign of the vowel which follows it; and in a few instances it is indicated by a tick sign joined to the stem of the succeeding consonant. Isaac Pitman also, in his later editions, varies from the above consonant table by adopting the signs w and y. The arrangement of the vowels as given in the foregoing scale, namely, ah, a, e, aw, o, do, etc, is . the one found in the works of Isaac Pitman and Munson; but Benn Pitman and Graham still adhere to the original arrangement, namely, e, a, ah, aw, , do, etc. The three diphthongs oi, ow, and ew are variously written by different authors. Both the Pitmans and Graham write the sounds of w and y, with a following vowel, by means of a small curve placed to the consonant stems in the vowel places, as shown below; the meaning of the signs according to the two vowel scales is indicated by the letters above and below the characters: wah:
In writing a word in phonography, the consonants are all made first without taking off the pen, and the vowel signs are written in afterward. The following are illustrations of words that are written exactly the same in all the versions of phonography:
The rule for writing the signs for the vowels when they occur between two consonant stems is as follows: All first-place vowel signs are written to the stem that precedes them; all third-place vowel signs, to the stem that follows them; of second-place vowel signs, those that are long are written to the preceding stem, and those that are short to the following stem. In addition to the simple stems of the alphabet proper, provision is made for still further abridging the phonographic writing by means of compound signs formed from the original simple stems by the addition to them of various hooks, modifications, circles, and loops. In the following table are given all of the hooks and modifications that experience has shown can be safely used by phonographic writers:
Although there is not perfect uniformity among reporters in the use of these hooks and modifications of the stems, the general principles governing their application are the same in all. The following examples illustrate their use:
The sounds of s and s, the most frequent in the language, besides having their stem signs, are also written by a small circle which is joined to straight stems, thus:
When joined to curved letters, it is turned on the inside of the curve, thus:
When occurring between two stems, it is written in the shortest direction, thus:
The s circle is joined to hooks by turning it on the inside, thus:
The circle is enlarged for ss, sz, etc, thus:
A small loop indicates st, and a large loop str, thus:
When a circle or loop is turned on the r or n hook side of a straight stem, if at the beginning the r hook is implied, and if at the end the n hook is implied, without being actually expressed; thus:
It is the practice of all experienced phonogra-phers to omit generally the signs of the vowels in writing, it being found that with the aid of the context no trouble is found in readily reading the unvocalized consonant outlines or skeletons of words. This legibility comes partly from the fact that, as the vowels form no part of the outline, their omission does not change the general appearance of the word. See the following illustrations:
The writing of word outlines in the first, second, or third position (viz., above the line, on the line, or under or through the line), according as the accented vowels are first, second, or third place, is of great importance in its effect upon the reading of unvocalized phonography. The following are illustrative of this fact:
The dotted line running across or near some of these characters, and some of the other characters in this article, represents the line or ruling of writing paper. Both the brevity and legibility of phonography are greatly promoted by the use of phrase writing, that is, by joining or embracing two or more words in one outline. The following phrase signs will serve to illus-trate this:
as well as,
'as there is,
Phonography is generally employed by reporters in this country and in Great Britain, and is also used by professional men. Since 1871 it has formed one of the regular branches of study in the college of the city of New York. The following is a complete list of phonographic text books published in America, with the dates of their first issue: " The Complete Phonographic Class Book," by S. P. Andrews and A. F. Boyle (1847); "The Phonographic Instructor," by James 0. Booth (1850); " The American Manual of Phonography," by Elias Longley (1851); " The Phonographic Teacher," by E. Webster (1852); " The Manual of Phonography," by Benn Pitman (1855); "The Handbook of Standard Phonography," by A. J. Graham (1858); and " The Complete Phonographer," by James E. Munson (1866).