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and Engraved

" OCR living flocks of thoughts need no longer trudge it slowly
and wearily down the pen and along the paper, hindering each
other as they struggle through the strait gate of the old hand-
writing: our troops of feelings need no more crawl, as snails crawl,
to their station on the page ; regiment after regiment may now trot
briskly forward, to 11 paragraph after paragraph: and writing,
once a trouble, is now at breathing-ease. Our kind and loving
thoughts, warm and transparent, liquid as melted from the hot
heart, shall no longer grow opaque, and freeze with a tedious
dribbling from the pen; but the whole soul may now pour itself
forth in a sweet shower of words. Phonotypy and Phonography
will be of a use in the world not dreamt of, but by a few." The
Evangd of Love, p. 231, by HKNBY. SOTTON.




AN attempt is here made to exhibit the Phonographic system of
ISAAC PITMAN, in its own simplicity, philosophy, and beauty.

If, after an examination of this treatise, the student concludes that
the art is difficult of acquirement, or unworthy of his study, let him
attribute it to his inability to appreciate what is truthful and beauti-
ful, or to the author's failure in making it appear so.

The compiler of this work has had a lengthened experience in
teaching Phonography in Great Britain, and has been privileged to intro-
duce it into some of the leading Colleges and Schools of that country.
It has been his endeavor to embody the results of his experience in
the present work, in the hope of making the art of which it treats, as
widely known and practised as it deserves to be.

The ' Introduction " to this treatise is principally from the able pen of
ALEXANDER JOHN ELLIS, B. A., late of Trinity College, Cambridge.

This is not an unfitting place to express the obligations which every
admirer of alphabetic consistency is under, to one who has assisted in
the establishment and dissemination of the Phonetic Reform, with
a talent and noble generosity that have not been exceeded by any
other person living.

The excellent remarks on the advantages of Shorthand, are from
an improved edition of DR. BVROM'S system, by Mr. GAWTRESS.
They are here presented, not alone for their intrinsic worth, but as an
interesting memento of the fact, that this eloquent advocacy of the
use and advantages of Shorthand, first induced ISAAC PITMAN,
when a youth, to commence the study of the art, and from which re-
sulted the beautiful and complete system we now possess in


The illustrations introduced in the text of this work, are from
Phonographic types, prepared expressly for it, and are the first of the
kind produced in this country. They were cast by the Messrs.
WELLS, of this city, to whom the Phoiietic cause is much indebted.
These gentlemen have rendered valuable aid in the preparation of
types for Phonotypic printing, since its introduction into this country,
notwithstanding it has been attended with those sacrifices of time
and means which usually accompany the introduction, aud early
practice, of any new art.

The method adopted in the presentation of the system, of placing
the engraved exercises opposite to the typic page which contains their
explanations, and devoting each opening of the book to the details of
some specific principle, arc advantages which, we think, will be
appreciated by both teacher and student.

"Phonographic Institute,

Cincinnati, Ohio.


ave here [in a scheme which Sir John Herschell had just given]
the fewest letters with which it is possible to write English. But, on the
other hand, with the addition of two or three more vowels, and as many
consonants, every known language might, probably, he effectually reduced
to writing, so as to preserve an exact correspondence between the writing
and pronunciation, which would be one of the most valuable acquisitions,
not only to philologists, but to mankind ; facilitating the intercourse
between nations, and laying the foundation of the first step towards a uni-
versal language, one of the great desiderata at which mankind ought to
aim by common consent." Sm JOHN HERSCHELL. Article " Sound," Ency-
clopaedia Metropolitana, par. 367.

) : 3tS QDrigin. An easy and distinct mode of
communicating our thoughts and feelings to similarly constituted
beings, is one of the first and most pressing wants of social life.
Looks, signs, gestures, are not in all cases sufficiently expressive, and
it would be difficul* to imagine that two human beings, whose vocal
organs were unimpaired, should pass any considerable length of
time in each other's company without using articulate sounds as their
medium of communication. Indeed, we never find a family of
human beings without a common language. As long as intercourse
between family and family remains difficult, each family has its own
language. Facilitation of intercourse diminishes the number of dia-
lects; and now, that traveling is becoming so general, we may look
forward, with some degree of hope, to a time when "the whole earth"
shall again be "of one language and of one speech." But, however
great the facility of traveling may become, there will always exist a
necessity for a means of communication independent of personal
intercourse. To effect this, recourse must necessarily be had to
durable, visible signs. The day may be far distant, in which a uni-
versal language will be realized, but the means by which it will be


expressed, when it has grown into existence, and which, if previously
prepared, may have great influence on its formation, may be already

3t0 Representation. The human organs of speech are the
same in all the world, their mode of action is the same, and, there-
fore, the sounds which they are capahle of producing are the same.
From these sounds, which, probably, do not exceed one hundred for
the expression of all the languages iu the world, each group of fami-
lies, called a nation, has adopted a comparatively small number to
express its own ideas. But the first persons who struck out the noble
idea of represeutiug the sounds of speech, were not acquainted with
any languages beyond their own; or, at most, beyond the group of
languages to which their own belonged; and they, consequently,
limited their signs to the expression of those elements only with
which they were acquainted. Their success was various; but, in one
of the oldest systems of writing arranged on this principle, the
Sanscrit, we have an example of the most perfect attempt at repre-
senting the elements of spoken sounds by visible signs, that has yet
been adopted by a whole nation, as the dress of their literature.

2Upl)abtS: f)eir ijistorj] The European languages, it
is well known, are closely related to the Sanscrit, and a very slight
modification of the Sanscrit characters would have fitted them for
the representation of the elements of European sounds. But it was
not to be. The Europeans, probably, left India before the invention
of writing ; and the idea of representing the elementary sounds of
speech by visible signs, seems to have been conveyed to them from a
totally different quarter. The languages known as the Semitic,
namely, the Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic, contain sounds very dissim-
ilar to the European, with, of course, some similar or identical; and
the first imperfect attempt to represent these sounds in a kind of
skeleton character, was brought by commerce from Phoenicia to
Greece. The Greeks adopted the characters of the Phoenicians, and,
as their pronunciation of the Phoenician names, for the first two cha-
racters in the scheme, was alpha, beta, the term "alphabet" has
descended to modern times as the name of any collection of symbols
which, represent the elements of spoken sounds. That this alphabet
did not represent the Phoenician language with great accuracy, is
more than probable; but it certainly represented the Greek language


much worse. The Greeks contented themselves with rounding the
forms of the letters, and adding one or two characters, chiefly con-
tractions, and thus left the alphahet to come down to posterity. But
the mischief of the original error still remains. The llomans
adopted the Greek characters, with a few unimportant variations;
notwithstanding which, it remained very inadequate to the representa-
tion of Latin; while the northern nations, who came down like
locusts upon the Roman empire, seized upon the Roman letters, among
the other spoils, and violently contorted them for the representation
of languages which differed most remarkably from the Latin, both
in the number and quality of the elementary sounds. Some few
(the Sclavonic, for example,) were happy enough to escape this second
Babel, and rejoice in a convenient alphabet of their own. But each
nation that did use the Roman alphabet, used it in its own fashion,
and the variety of fashions thus introduced, was, as may be supposed,
very great.

&t)C (KttgUsl) angitage Out of a mixture of Saxon,
Danish, French, Latin, and Greek elements, arose our own tongue,
harsh and uncouth at first, but gradually winning its way, and now
bidding fair, by its own inherent merits, by the richness of its litera-
ture, and by the extent of our commerce, to become, if not the uni-
versal language itself, its immediate progenitor. "The English
language," observes the eminent philologist, Prof. Grirmn, "possesses a
power of expression such as never, perhaps, was attained by any
human tongue. Its altogether intellectual tiud singularly happy
foundation and development, has arisen from a surprising alliance
between the two noblest languages of antiquity the German and
the Romanesque the relation of which to each other is well known
to be such that the former supplies the material foundation, the latter
the abstract notions. Yes, truly, the English language may, with
good reason, call itself a universal language, and seems chosen to
rule in future times, in a still greater degree, in all the corners of
the earth. lu richness, sound reason, and flexibility, no modern
tongue can be compared with it not even the German, which must
shake off many a weakness before it can enter the lists with the

2te EMectioc Heprescntation. But into this language,

which grew up almost unawares, as a wild plant in a fertile soil, the


mode of writing each word was, (with, of course, frequent variations,)
copied from the language from which the word itself was derived;
each of the primitive languages using the Roman alphabet after its
own fashion. Custom sanctioned the abuse, and at the present day,
we have a mode of spelling so far removed from any apparent
attempt to represent the sounds of speech, that we should scarcely
have guessed there had ever been any intention of doing so, had we
not known its history. The English language, although arrived at a
high pitch of refinement, is, in its dress, almost in the primitive
ideagraphic stage. Its words are symbols of ideas rather than of
sounds, and it is only after severe, long, and harassing practice, that
we can be Bure of associating the right sound with the right sign.
The present alphabet, considered as the groundwork of a system of
orthography in which the phonetic system prevails, is an entire fail-
ure. It is defective in means for representing several sounds, and
the symbols it employs are used in such various senses that the mind
of the reader becomes perplexed. Digraphs must be looked upon
as single letters, quite as much as the single letters themselves; for
they have not the value of a combination of letters, but of one letter.
Viewed in this light, the English alphabet will be found to consist,
not of twenty-six letters only, but of more than two hundred ! and
almost every one of these two hundred symbols varies its meaning at
times, so that after having learned one meaning for each of them, the
reader has not learned all their meanings ; and having learned all
their meanings, he has no means of knowing which one he is to
apply at any time. " We violate every principle of a sound alpha-
betical system more outrageously than any nation whatever. Our
characters do not correspond to our articulations, and our spelling of
words cannot be matched for irregularity and whimsical caprice."*

JJroposeb phonetic ^Representation. TO this disregard

of the principles of a true orthography, in the representation of
the English language, and the consequent difficulty of acquiring
a correct knowledge of its spelling and pronunciation, may be
referred the fact, that millions speak the English language who
are incapable of reading and writing it. It is, also, the cause
of a great waste of time in the attainment of the elements of

* Chamber fs Papers for the People.


learning by the young. The realization of a reformed system of
orthography, by which these evils would be removed, many prac-
tical educators have considered as highly desirable, though it has
generally been thought to be unattainable. That which few had
courage even to hope for, has been given to the world through
the apparently unimportant circumstance of the publication, in
1837, of a new system of shorthand, based on an analysis of the
Euglish spoken language. Mr. Isaac Pitman, the author of this sys-
tem of Phonography, had, originally, no intention to disturb the
established orthography of the language, and, in the third edition of
his work, published in 1840. he observed, "it is, of course, Utopian,
to hope to change the printed medium of intercourse of the millions
who speak the English language; but, it is not extravagant, or hope-
less, to attempt to find a substitute for the complicated system of
writing, which we at present employ." In about a year after this
disclaimer was published, the success of phonetic shorthand writing
led many, who employed the system, to ask themselves the question,
why the principle of phonetic spelling, which was found so advanta-
geous in writing, should not be applied to printing. The blessings
that would follow the introduction of a natural system of spelling,
and the evils of the current orthography, began now to appear in
their true light; and, after many attempts to construct a phonetic
printing alphabet, with corresponding forms for longhand writing,
phonetic printing commenced in January, 1844, in the English Pho-
notypic Journal. We are encouraged to hope, from what has already
been effected, in the production and dissemination of books printed
phonetically, that, in the course of time, the current orthography will
give place to a system in which the phonetic idea will be uniformly
respected. It is true, that several attempts to construct, and bring
into use, a phonetic alphabet, had been previously made, by men
eminent in literature, or formidable by their abilities; but they were
characterized by extreme inattention to details, and society had not,
in any degree, been prepared for the change. The cause of ortho-
graphic reform is honored in having been pioneered by such men as
Sir John Cheke (1540), Bishop "Wilkius (1668), and Dr. Franklin
(1768). The fear, which is entertained by some, that the etymology
of words would be obscured by the introduction of phonetic spelling,
is groundless. The highest authority on this subject, Dr. Latham,
says, "all objections to change, [in spelling] on the matter of


theoretical propriety, are as worthless as they ever could be thought to
be." The learned Chevalier Bunsen asserts, that '-'the theory of ety-
mology is inseparable from that of phonology." These opinions
deserve to be made as public as is the groundless objection that
phonetic spelling is destructive of etymology.

$!)[)0tt0grapl)g. But it is not the inconsistency of English
orthography alone, of which we have to complain. The characters
employed iu ordinary writing are too lengthy and complicated to
allow of their being written with expedition. A system of writing
is required, that shall bring the operations of the mind and of the
hand into close correspondence that shall relieve the penman from
the drudgery inseparable from the use of the present system, by
making writing as easy and as rapid as speech. In allusion to this
great want of the present age, it was remarked iu the Introduction to
the fifth edition of Phonography, 1842, "There has hitherto existed,
among all nations, the greatest disparity, in point of facility and dis-
patch, between speaking and writing; the former has always been,
comparatively rapid, easy, and delightful; the latter tedious, cum-
brous, and wearisome. It is most strange that we, who excel our
progenitors so far in science, literature, and commerce, should con-
tinue to use the mode of writing which they have handed down to us,
(with but very slight changes in the forms of the letters,) though, by
its complexity, it obliges the readiest hand to spend at least six hours
in writing, what can be spoken in one." Phonography supplies the
want we have shown to exist, by presenting a system of alphabetic
writing, capable of being written with the speed of the most rapid
distinct articulation, and of being read with the certainty and ease of
ordinary longhand. This property of legibility is not shared by any
of the common systems of shorthand writing, which, being based upon
the romauic alphabet, necessarily partake of its inconsistencies and defi-
ciencies. It is well known, that manuscripts written in accordance
with other systems of shorthand, after having been put by for
a short time, usually become undecipherable to the writer himself.
Phonography, which has now been for many years used by thousands
of people, as a medium for correspondence, composition, &c., is found
to be even more legible than longhand writing.

Its Reporting (Capabilities. By Phonography, as

adapted to Reporting, the most fluent speaker may be taken down,


absolutely verbatim, and the reporter's notes, in the state in which
they were originally written, may be set up in type by any phono-
graphic compositor, who is acquainted with the reporting style ; or,
if the reporter reads over his notes, and inserts a few vowels, his
manuscript is then capable of being read, with the facility of ordinary
writing, by any one who has learned the system. Verbatim reports
of speeches have been set up by the compositors of the New York
Tribune, Type, of the Times, &c., and many English newspapers,
without being transcribed into longhand. Now, as on the old imper-
fect systems of shorthand, it is calculated that six hours are required
to transcribe for the press, what occupied one hour in delivery, it fol-
lows, from what has been said, that this new system of reporting,
while it is incomparably more accurate, has the additional advantage
of saving five hours out of every six at present devoted to preparing
the report for the press.

3ts Cegibilitn onb Completeness. The system of

shorthand writing here presented, is the result of innumerable steno-
graphic experiments, extending over a period of sixteen years. These
experiments were prosecuted for the purpose of ascertaining the best
adaptation of signs for the expression of the acknowledged sounds
of the language. In this ninth edition, several minor improvements
have been incorporated, after having been thoroughly tested in prac-
tice, for twelve mouths, by many phonographic reporters, and other
members of the Phonetic Society. The great practice which the sys-
tem has received, and is still receiving, from so many thousand per-
sons who are constantly using it, not merely for reporting, but for the
practical purposes of every- day life, such as writing letters, making
notes and extracts, keeping accounts, composition, &c., and the great
liberality with which they have communicated their suggestions, have
resulted in the production of a system far exceeding in completeness,
beauty, and utility, what the author could have pictured to himself
when he first published it in 1837 : and it is believed, that as no
other system of shorthand has had such great advantages, or is based
upon so just and philosophical a view of the elements of spoken
language, so in none other has the same degree of perfection been
attained, in none other can be found the same undeniable legibility,
in combination with the same adaptability to the most rapid


" SHORTHAND, on account of its great and general utility, merits a much
higher rank among the arts and sciences than is commonly allotted to it.
Its usefulness is not confined to any particular science or profession, hut is
universal ; it is, therefore, by no means unworthy the attention and study
of men of genius and erudition.'' Dr. Samuel Johnson.

SHORTHAND is capnble of imparting so many advantages to persons
in almost every situation of life, and is of such extensive utility to
society, that it is justly a matter of sin-prise, that it has not attracted
a greater share of attention, and heen more generally practised.

This art may be considered a National Blessing, and thousands
who look with the ntmost indifference upon it, are daily reaping the
fruits of its cultivation. It is scarcely necessary to mention how
indispensable it is in taking minutes of public proceedings. If all
the feelings of a patriot glow in our bosoms on a perusal of those elo-
quent speeches which are delivered in the Senate, or in those public
assemblies where the people are frequently convened to exercise the
privilege of citizens we owe it to shorthand. If new fervor he
added to our devotion, and an additional stimulus be imparted to our
exertions as Christians, by the eloquent appeals and encouraging
statements made at the auniversaries of our various religious socie-
ties we owe it to shorthand. If we have an opportunity, in inter-
esting judicial cases, of examining the evidence, and learning the
proceedings with as much certainty, and nearly as much minuteness,
as if we had been present ou the occasioti we owe it to shorthand.
In short, all those brilliant and spirit-stirring effusions which the cir-
cumstances of the present times combine to draw forth, and which
the press transmits to us with such astonishing celerity, warm from



the lips and instinct with the soul of the speaker, would have heen
entirely lost to posterity, and comparatively little known to ourselves,
had it not been for the facilities afforded to their preservation by
shorthand. Were the operations of those who are professionally
engaged in exercising this art, to be suspended but for a single week,
a blank would be left in the political and judicial history of our
country an impulse would be wanting to the public mind, and the
nation would be taught to feel and acknowledge the important pur-
poses it answers in the great business of life.

A practical acquaintance with this art is highly favorable to the
improvement of the mind, invigorating all its faculties, and drawing
forth all its resources. The close attention requisite in following the
voice of the speaker, induces habits of patience, perseverance, and
watchfulness, which will gradually extend themselves to other pur-
suits and avocations, and at length inure the writer to exercise them
on every occasion in life. When writing in public, it will also be
absolutely necessary to distinguish and adhere to the train of thought
which runs through the discourse, and to observe the modes of its
connection. This will naturally have a tendency to endue the mind
with quickness of apprehension, and will impart an habitual readi-
ness and distinctness of perception, as well as a methodical simplicity
of arrangement, which cannot fail to conduce greatly to mental supe-
riority. The judgment will be strengthened, and the taste refined ;
and the practitioner will, by degrees, become habituated to seize the
original and leading parts of a discourse or harangue, and to reject
whatever is common-place, trivial, or uninteresting.

The memory is also improved by the practice of stenography. The
obligation the writer is under to retain in his mind the last sentence
of the speaker, at the same time that he is carefully attending to the
following one, must be highly beneficial to that faculty, which, more
than any other, owes its improvement to exercise. And so much are
the powers of retention strengthened and expanded by this exertion,
that a practical stenographer will frequently recollect more without

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