Shorthand. Among all the systems of shorthand, or stenography, we know of none less complicated than that of Taylor, improved by Harding. First, we give the alphabet: -
The vowels, it will be seen, are represented by points; the period representing a, e, i, the comma doing the same for o and u; each being further distinguishable by the position of the point. From the consonants, e and z are dismissed as needless; where the former has a hard sound, k is used ; where a soft one, s. One character suffices for f and v, for g and j, and for k and q. Thus the consonants are reduced without difficulty or confusion to sixteen. The double consonants, ch, sh, th, etc., are marked by distinct characters. Again, single vowels are allowed to stand for words, as a for an. The and and are noted by commas, differently placed ; b stands for be, by, and been, and so on. It is considered a good practical rule in learning, to test progress and efficiency by trying how rapidly the student can write the entire alphabet; to do it correctly four times in a minute, is good. The next source of gain is abbreviation, as by the use of single letters to mark the first and last syllables of words, b standing for abs, in absorb, for instance, d for dom in kingdom. It is known that these letters do not represent merely a letter, by their being slightly disconnected from the word to which they belong, while they are still so near that they cannot be mistaken for independent words. But whole words, of length, are also expressed by a letter or by a mark - these are called arbitrary, and vary according to the writer's particular subject matter. Students of law, medicine, and divinity, reporters for newspapers, can each easily frame for themselves a plan of writing rapidly those special words which occur frequently to them, are difficult to write literally, and are not liable to be mistaken.