David Philip Lindsley.

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' Now what naltirr a there ngainst the formation of written signs, which

l/licity corresponding with that of spoken sou:

up with the voice, and a

man ;(j >ak.' ' Horace Mann.



OTIS C L A r 1' , 3 B K A C ON STREET.

1 8 1; 7 .





I -&-









" Now what natural obstacle !s there against the formation of written signs, which
will be indefinitely shorter than that which constitutes the English Language, or
the Language of any other people ? * # * Let the system of written signs be
reduced to a brevity and simplicity correspondin^fcwith that of spoken sound, and
thereis no reason why the hand should not be able to keep up with the voice, and a
man write as fast as he can speak." Horace Mann.






Entered according to Act -of Congress, in the year 1867, by

ii the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United States for the
District of Massachusetts.


THE new System of Phonetic Short-hand, which we have partially
developed in the following pages, is the result of a protracted effort to
conform the system of Mr. Isaac Pitman to the beauty of its theory.
A few persons of peculiar genius have mastered that system, and found
its use of great service in all their literary pursuits. But while a few
were able to relieve themselves of the intolerable drudgery of writing
by its means, hundreds we can say, in truth, thousands were striving
in vain to make the old system practically useful to them. We speak
what we know. Nineteen twentieths of all the phonographers we have
ever seen are of this number ; and we are almost constantly in receipt
*~ of letters from all parts of the country which testify with emphasis
' to the impracticability of phonography, and express an earnest hope
t% that some system may be found that can be applied to the common
j uses of writing. Besides, as -a 'teacher of phonography for several
' years, we might give the result of our success, if more testimony were
needed ; but it is not necessary. When we awoke to the fact that we
;? were attempting a hopeless task in trying to shove a system, into favor
** burdened with the irregularities and complexities that characterize that
^ system, we were surprised to find that most thinking men had arrived
at the same conclusion long before us. And, when stimulated by a
view of the necessity of some relief from the toil of writing, we con-
j ceived it still possible to work out the phonographic theory in a prac-
p tical shape, we were more than pleased to learn that such men as the late
Hon. Horace Mann had anticipated us here also, and indicated, with the
usual clearness of his perceptions, the plain and practical plan on which
success was certain. And others have from time to time urged the impor-
tance of a more rapid system of writing, not for the use of the verbatim
reporter, but for all the ordinary purposes of writing.



But what are the characteristics of a system that will supply tht demand ?
We answer, It must be SCIENTIFIC, SIMPLE, LEGIBLE, and BRIEF

1. No contrivances of contraction, however ingenious, can ever unite
large masses of men any farther than immutable principles underlie them.
A true system cannot properly be considered arbitrary. There is a reason
why certain alphabetic signs are more appropriate to certain sounds than
others. Wore it not so, we might speculate on alphabetic changes through
all coming time, and still be no nearer a satisfactory result.

2. The whole drift of modern science and art is toward naturalness.
To copy the simplicity of Nature is found the highest wisdom. All can fol-
low the direction of a few plain principles. Redundancies and exceptions
repel, and destroy uniformity.

As we have before said, the phonographic theory was simple and beauti-
ful ; but it was departed from so widely in practice that its value was
nearly lost. We have given expression to that original design. We
have wrought out a style as simple in fact as in theory. When the al-
phabet is mastered, the student has a key to the common style. Diph-
thongal signs are used for diphthongal sounds ; but they do not interfere
with the harmony of the theory, any more than the use of one sign for
the diphthongal sound of / long in our common alphabet breaks up the
unity of design. Our pupils read this style readily with three or four
weeks' study ; they cannot read the common chirography readily with
three times this amount of practice.

3. Legibility is all important for a thousand uses of writing. We
need only say that this system is in this respect far superior to any
previous system of short-hand ; we say more : it is far superior in this
respect to long-hand. The grossest carelessness, on the part of the
writer, can scarcely render it unintelligible ; and as there are no con-
tractions to remember, and nothing to forget, it can be read after the
lapse of years with the certainty of common print.

4. Brevity. This is a cardinal point ; for the prolixity, the cumber-
someness, of our ordinary writing is what we seek to avoid. In making
the letters of our long-hand alphabet, we make from three to seven
movements of the pen for each, on an average, four. About one
letter in seven is silent in our common orthography. In Phonetic
Short-hand we make one simple stroke for each simple sound ; this
eaves three fourths the labor : \ve omit all silent letters ; this gives
us a farther advantage. Besides, the distance passed over by the pen
is vastly less in short-hand. We write this simpler style three to four


times as fast as long-hand ; but we save more than nine tenths of the
labor of writing. We mean that a person can write more than three
times as fast, with less than one third the fatigue. Though this speed
is much less than that of our briefer styles, yet it is greater than can
be attained by the simple style of phonography, and greater than has
been attained by any large number of persons in the briefest styles of
most systems of short-hand.

This is not mere theory. For several years we have tested its capa-
bilities, and with uniform success. Pupils of all ages, from children to
men of mature years, have mastered it, and have given us the most
ample assurance that we have not overrated its simplicity, brevity, or
scientific accuracy.

No impediments now hinder the acquisition of this much-coveted art
of rapid writing. The editor can use it ; for no intelligent compositor
need spend more than a fortnight in acquiring the ability to set up
type from his short-hand manuscript. The author can use it. The
clergyman can use it ; for he can read his notes with greater readiness
than in the old way. The lawyer, the physician, the student, every-
body, can use it ; for it is so simple and practicable that everybody can
learn and remember it.

The importance of having a style of writing level with the capacities of
all can hardly be over-estimated. Although most can use it in a thousand
ways independently of the knowledge of others, yet its value to all is
heightened by every increase of the number who understand it. Hence,
the greatest success must be gained through the most natural style.

As the leading idea of this style is PRACTICABILITY, we have carefully
excluded from it all contractions and ambiguous forms, so far as possible.
If any ambiguities of outline exist, it is only another illustration of the ab-
solute impossibility of conforming perfectly to any ideal standard of perfect-
ness. It would be easy to avoid Scylla, if no Charybdis yawned on the
other hand. The greatest brevity is easily attainable, if there be no regard
to perspicuity, and no fear of complexity ; the most perfect simplicity
might be attained, if brevity were not desirable. Between the extremes
of complexity on the one hand and prolixity on the other, we have, we
think, found the proper medium. For all the ordinary purposes of life,
this style will be found neither too complicated nor too prolix. For the
professional reporter, we have two more complicated styles, a Reporting
Style and an Fjasy Reporting Style ; but they should be studied only
by reporters.


This work is only a compendium ; but we have omitted nothing essential
to a clear knowledge of all the principles of this style ; for their application,
however, in detail throughout the vast extent of the English language, we
must refer to our larger work, which will be published in due time.

January, 1864, D. P. L.

The Common, Easy Reporting, & Reporting Styles

THESE Styles are based on the same general principles. The COMMON STYLE
is the basis of all, and must be learned before the REPORTING STYLES can be
understood. The more perfectly this first style is mastered, the more easily
will success be secured in the second or third. The three form a progressive
series, analogous, in a measure, to the three branches of mathematics : Arith-
metic, Algebra, and Geometry. And as a knowledge of Arithmetic answers in
ordinary business, so the Common Style of Tachygraphy is the best for all
common use* ; such as keeping books in a mercantile or other business, mak-
ing memoranda, correspondence with friends, composing of sermons and
speeches, preparing editorials and other matter for the press, and, in short, for
all uses to which our ordinary writing is applied. Compositors can learn to
read it in a few weeks, with as much certainty as long-hand writing.

The Common Style is also adapted to taking notes of lectures and dis T
courses ; and, although not so brief as the Reporting Styles, yet I am fully
persuaded, by the experience of thousands, that the greater number of writers
will use this style more readily, certainly, and effectively than any reporting
style whatsoever ; and make it of more use to them, even in the ordinary duties
of a newspaper reporter. A speed of 100 words a minute may be acquired
in it, and even more than this.

In the Easy Reporting Style, briefer forms are employed for all words and
phrases of frequent occurrence ; brief prefix and affix signs ; and a few general
principles of contraction. In comparison with the old, irregular, and compli-
cated styles of Phonography, this Easy Reporting Style is very simple and
accurate. It may be mastered, by persons of aptitude, in three or four months ;
and may be written at the rate of 150 words a minute.

The Reporting Style enters into detail more fully contains many special
contractions, and should be attempted, only by those who wish to make the art
a profession. It may be written at any desirable rate of speed, by those who
master it fully ; but it requires much more practice, to make it available, than,
the simpler styles.

No person should attempt to use two of these styles at the same time ; nor
can a writer change from one style to the other frequently, without a loss of
speed and accuracy in both styles.


THE Easy Reporting Style will be furnished, to students only, for the present, in
the form of manuscripts, to be copied and returned. Fifteen numbers are ready
for use, which will be furnished with exercises to be written by the student and
corrected by the teacher. The use of the manuscripts and the correction of the
exercises will cost five dollars.

This arrangement is far better for those who wish TO LEARX the art than a book ;
which would be misused in a great majority of cases, as the history of Phonography
everywhere testifies. We are profoundly impressed with the conviction, that, for
the present, while the principles of the science are so sadly corrupted by the so-
called phonor/raphic writers, and young men are deluded into a foolish waste of
time in the study of contracted forms for which they have no use when learned, wo
can protest against this mania for contraction in no better way than by pvibluking
only those principles that may be made generally useful, and teaching on the most
favorable terms the stenographic brevities useful only to Reporters of public pro-


TACHTGRAPHY. Greek ra%vf (Tachus), swift, and ypa<pu t to write.
1. Kapid writing. 2. A style of phonetic short-hand, adapted to all
business and literary purposes, as well as to verbatim reporting, the
common style of which is given in this work.

Letters in the beginning of a word are called initial ; - in the mid-
dle, medial ; and in the end, final or terminal.

Short-hand characters are called signs, to distinguish them from the
common letters. A letter is often silent ; a sign, never.

The terms word-outline or word-form are used to designate that
conformation which the letters of a word present when written in
short-hand characters.



STEEL pens of medium fineness are best for writing Tachygraphy.
Paper may be ruled or plain ; but paper ruled with double lines i8
never needed.

The pen should be held between the fore and middle fingers, the
penholder pointing considerably to the right, so that horizontal and
left-oblique lines can be struck conveniently. The pen should be held
square on the paper, so that both limbs press equally. A pencil may
be used occasionally ; but a pen is preferable.

Exercises for correction should be written on every third line, so
that, when corrected on the second, they may be rewritten by the
pupil on the third. The student should copy his exercises into a
blank book for preservation when sufficiently advanced


THE rapidity of progress in short-hand will depend very much on
the method of study. It is not necessary that all should follow the
same course, in all its minutest details ; but the same general prin-
ciples will apply equally well to all. We offer the following sugges-
tions to the student on this subject :

1. Master the alphabet. To do this, follow the course pointed
out under the head of Directions for Practice, never taking up more
than two or three characters at once, and mastering them thoroughly


?,. '



before proceeding. While learning the alphabet, it will be of service
to read a few lines of the Reading Exercises.

2. When the alphabet is memorized, study Chapter IV., carefully
turning to every reference. Study and memorize all that is said about
the connection of vocal signs and the position of disconnected signs,
and review the Reading* Exercise carefully, to see whether you under-
stand clearly why every mark is written where, and as it is. Let noth-
ing escape your observation. You will then proceed to test your knowl-
edge farther by writing as many of the Writing Exercises as are illus-
trated in this chapter. When this is done, go on with Chapter V.,
studying reading and writing alternately. Copy the Reading Exercises.

It would be well for you to have your writing exercises corrected by
a master of the art. Though we have left nothing undone that we could
do in so small a compass to make the system available without the aid
of a teacher, yet all will make better progress with such assistance ;
and we have reason to think that, in this art, as in many others,
as in all others, it is idle to expect great results without personal
instruction. Yet the self-dependent and earnest student will find the
course we have indicated productive of quick results.

3. Leave no difficult form until you can make it readily. Write it
over many times, until its form is perfectly natural. There is a won-
derful power 1n repetition. Some of my pupils write all the Alpha-
betic Signs in fifteen seconds.

4. When you have mastered all the principles of this style, you
should write from dictation. Make a long-hand copy of the phrases
on the fifth page of Reading Exercises, and get a friend to read them
to you. Write ten or twelve phrases, and then review them until
mastered. Proceed in this way with a few at a time until you can
write them all readily. Then have them read through many times, the
reader increasing his speed with your ability to write, until you can
write them at the rate of one hundred words a minute, or more.

5. When you can write a few things rapidly and correctly, it will
aid you much in writing other things. But you should not stop here.
Have your friend read slowly, from some easy book, the Book of
Job, for instance, or the Psalms of David, or the Sermon on the Mount,
or St. John's Gospel, or some simple book for children, a few verses
at a time, reviewing often ; and when the chapter is well reduced to
practice, write it through from the beginning. In this way, you will
soon attain the speed of from eighty to a hundred words a minute,
according to your speed of manipulation.

6. Proceed in the same manner with more difficult works, according
to your taste. Follow this course, and we will be willing to become re-
sponsible for your success.










Be, b in bay.

"^ The, th in they.


Pe, p in pay.

~^ Ith, th in oath.


Ga, g in go.

Em, m in may.


Ka, k in key.

En, n in nay.

De, d in do.

N " Ing, ng in sing.

Te, t in to.

^ El, 1 in lay.


Ve, v in eve.

^ Ra, r in ray.


Ef, f in if.

</ Wa, w in we.


Zhe, z in azure.

^ Ya, y in. ye.


Ish, sh hi show.

^ Ha, h in high.


Ze, z hi ooze.

c__ Ja, j in jail.

Es, s in so.

<L Cha, ch hi each.




E, e in eve.

^ i, i in it ; y in duty.


A, a in aim.

Ai, ai in air.

e, e in ebb.


Ah, a in are.

a, . a in ask, at.


Oo, o in do.

Co, oo in foot; u in full.


O, o in ode.

u, u in us, fur hut.


Au, au in aught.

/ <5, 5 in on, or.


Oi, oy in boy.

^ I, i in ice.


Ow, ow in now.

A Ew s ew in dew.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by D. P Lindsley, in the Clerk's Office
qf the'Dittnct Cowt of the Disinct of Connecticut.


THE availability of alphabetic signs depends upon their simplicity and
I facility, their direction, their brevity, the appropriateness of the classifica-
> - 4ion, and above all, on their distinctiveness.

We/represent the consonantal sounds by straight lines, and curves of
the quarter ^|La circle, ?nd the vocal sounds by small semi-circles, dashes,
dots, and diamond points.

Our alphabet is in, some respects similar to the phonographic alphabet,
but there are several important points of difference ; and these differences
are fundamental, growing out of important principles. In Phonography
vocal sounds were expressed by dots and 'dashes, which took their value
from theu- position. A dot in the first position was E, in the 2d, A, in the
3d, Aj, <KC. So the same dots and dashes represented sounds entirely dif-
ferent. These dots and dashes were disjoined, leading to difficulties which
we shall allude to presently.

"VVe represcnt^jte vocal sounds as definitely as the consonantal, by

( giving qjidppflj^ra siicn distinguished by form instead of position, and

\ joining these signs in their proper order ; instead of picking out all the

consonants, and putting the .vowels in, one by one, after the rest of the

word was written, as phonographers are obliged to do.

The forms of these signs are such as to ensure the best joinings with
the consonants. The advantages growing out of this principle are numer-
ous. Greater definiteness and accuracy are secured, and (what is still
more important) greater facility of writing on account of the increased
continuity. The importance of having signs that can le joined in the out-
line can scarcely le overestimated. We complain more of dotting the i
in our common wriiing than of making our most interminable m. The
momentum acquired in writing rapidly seems to carry the hand through
a thousand graceful curves with a sort of pleasure, while a pause or diffi-
cult joining occasions hesitation and -toss of speed. It is only by taking
advantage of this principle of continuity that the writing of short- hand
can be made effective. If any ott^frishes to test this principle let him
take any word common, for instance and write it as many times as he
can in a minute in the ordinary way; then let him write it, disjoining ev-
ery letter, and he will find that he loses half tiis speed, or more. Let him
now write the word another minute, separating each letter into strokes,
making three for c, two for o, seven for m, and so on, and see how low
and toilsome the writing is, and he will, we are sure, become thoroughly
convinced of the absolute necessity of a good degree of continuity in any
system of writing where speed is required.


The difficulty attending the use of disconnected vowels rendered the
corresponding style of Phonography worthless. When fully vocalized il
could be written with all its contractions and ' complexity but little faster
than long-hand. The reporting style was more successful, on account of
the use of phrase signs. But the flow of the writing was seriously im-
paired, even in the reporting style, by the necessity of distinguishing
words by position ; for it was difficult, and often impossible, for the word
to maintain its proper position on, above, or below the line of writing,
while it maintained its proper position in the phrase.

Our alphabet obviates both of these difficulties. The vowels form a
part of the word-form, and are written without lifting the pen from tho
paper; and in the reporting style distinction of outlines is made, wher
necessary, by a connective vowel, thus avoiding all necessity of depending
upon position, and giving a freedom with the use of phrase signs, impossi-
ble by any other alphabet. So it will be seen that, while but few vowels
are required in the reporting style, the use of connective signs for such an
are employed is as important as the use of such signs in the common style,

The choice of signs for the consonantal sounds demands more explana-
tion than we can give here.

The use of the numerous contractions which are employed in the sim-
plest style of Phonography is incompatible with simplicity. So long as it
is possible to write a word from three to nine, ten, or more ways so long
as a variety of forms are used to represent the same sounds there must
be great difficulty in mastering and remembering the proper forms for
words. There was, in fact, so little law in the formation of phonographic
outlines that the pupil must learn each word by itself a prodigious labor !
and besides, the same outline stood for several words ; and though they
might be distinguished by dots and dashes, yet these were not sufficiently
conspicuous to make the reading plain.

These difficulties could be obviated in a plain and natural way, by writ-
ing each sound out clearly and fairly by itself, in its own proper order, un-
contractedly. In this way, if there was any difference of sound, there
must be a corresponding difference in the word-form. But to do this by
the phonographic alphabet was impossible. The most unshapely, unman-
ageable outlines conceivable was the result of the effort. The most fre-
quently occurring characters ran down perpendicularly, and some words
would descend through the line below, and even through two or threa
lines, so that their use was impossible. But was there no plan no ar-
rangement of the signs that would enable us to avoid this ? It was long
a question, but after months of labor the very simple fact was discovered
that certain sounds were of so frequent occurrence that, by giving them
horizontal forms, all others could be so arranged as to run along the line
of writing, forming facile outlines. This led to the present arrangement
of the consonantal signs.



OUR oominon writing has two defects : first, the complexity of its
letters; second, the irregularity of their use.

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Online LibraryDavid Philip LindsleyThe compendium of tachygraphy: or, Lindsley's phonetic shorthand .. → online text (page 1 of 5)