David Philip Lindsley.

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1. The letters have each from three to five, six, or seven inflec-
tions; that is, the pen must trace such a number of curves and
strokes in making each letter. We overcome this difficulty Tsy using
alphabetic signs that can be made with one stroke of the pen. Many
of these signs have still a resemblance to the letters of the old al-
phabet. Compare the old with the new letters. See Illustration A.

2. The second difficulty, the irregular and redundant use of the old
letters, we overcome by the phonetic method ; that is, we employ
enough characters to represent each elementary sound in the language,
and then use this sign in all cases for its proper sound. It will be
seen that by this method we omit all silent letters, and, where di-
graphs have the sound of a single letter, one sign only is employed.
The word they, for instance, contains four letters,. but only two sounds;
hence, only two signs would be required to write it. The word thought
contains three sounds, requiring three signs, etc. The student should
commence by analyzing each word ; that is, separating it into the in-
dividual sounds that compose it, giving each sound its appropriate sign.

The irregularities of our orthography result from the use of silent
letters, as y in may, bay, ray, say, etc. ; e in foe, hoe, etc. ; yh in
tauyht, sought, etc. ; from the change of sound that letters undergo,
as a in fate, fat, far, fall, etc. ; e in mete, met, they, etc. ; o in
note, not, son, moon, etc. ; from the use of different letters and com-
binations of letters to represent the same sound ; as a (long) by a in
fate, by e in fete, by ai in rain, by ei in rein, by ay in may, by
ey in they, by au in gauge, etc. ; and from such a mingling of all
these causes as to render any clear and methodical classification of
these irregularities impossible.

Now all we need to say to the student of Tachygraphy is this: pay
no attention to the letters in a word, but pronounce it accurately and
use the signs that represent those sounds. Unlike the old letters, the
new signs represent always the same sounds. The long sound of A
long is always represented by c , the short sound by ; the long sound
of E by ", the short sound by . ; the long sound of I by v, the
hort sound by r. ; the long sound of O by i , the short by , ; the
long sound of U by A, the short sound by x, etc. ; sh is always
written (, ph ), th -^ , etc. The matter will be made clearer bv study-
ing the following examplea. See Illustration B.




LETTERS were originally designed to represent sounds, and the nat-
ural theory was to have a letter for each elementary sound used in
the language. The letters of the Greek alphabet represent the sounds
of that language very accurately, and the Roman letters were origi-
nally more accurate representatives of sound than they are at present.
The English language contains sounds that the Latin language did
not ; hence, when we attempt to use the same old alphabet that
served a tolerable purpose two thousand years ago, in writing an en-
tirely different language, we find it fit as awkwardly as the clothes
of a boy of five years would fit the man of twenty-five.

The writer of a phonetic system has, however, a sure and easy ba-
sis to build up his system of orthography upon. He has only to
consider carefully th% true pronunciation of the word to be written,
and then, having learned each alphabetic sign as the representative
of a sound, give each sound its true sign. THE PERFECTION OF THE


We will apply this principle to our present alphabet, and see in
what respects it is deficient or redundant.

SECT. 1. We treat, first, of the Irregularities of the Consonants.

The following are regular, that is, they commonly represent but
one sound : B, D, J, K, L, M, N, Q, R, and V. Some of them
are, however, sometimes silent ; they are B, K, L, M, and N.

Each of the remaining letters represent more than one sound ; we
treat of them in detail.

C has three sounds, a hard sound in come, , soft sound in city,
and the sound of sh in spacious. It is generally soft before e, *', and
y, and hard before a, o, and u. It has the sound of sh in the ter-
minations cious, ceous, rial, etc.

F has the sound of v in the word of.

G has two sounds, a soft before e, i, and y, and a hard before
a, o, and u. There are, however, many exceptions. G is silent in
gnaw, sign, etc.

H is sometimes" silent, and is sometimes used in connection with t
and 5 to represent sounds for which -we have no letters in the common
alphabe* and with p to express the sound of F.


Q has the sound of K.

S has four sounds, a sharp sound in the word some, the cognate flat or
eubvocal sound in as, the sound of sh in mission, and its cognate in measure.

T in the termination lion has the sound of sh. It is used with h to rep-
resent the two elementary sounds heard in the beginning of the words then
and thin.

W has but one consonant sound. With a preceding vowel it generally
forms a diphthong.

Y"has but one consonant sound. At the end of words and syllables it is
either silent or sounds like i short.

Z in the word azure, and some others, has a sound quite different from
its proper sound, corresponding with the sound of s in pleasure. It is a
simple elementary sound.

X generally represents two sounds, the sound of k and s, as in extreme,
or the sound of ga and ze, as in exact. X has also sometimes the sound of Z.

SECTION 2. Sounds represented by two letters.

There are, in the English language, twenty-four consonantal sounds and
only twenty-one letters that are ever used to express them. Of these C, Q,
and X are useless, because they represent sounds already better represented
by other letters. This leaves eighteen useful letters to express twenty-four
sounds. The six simple elementary sounds, which have no proper represen-
tatives, are Zhc'lsh, The, Ith, Ing, and Cha. (See Pho. Short-hand Al-

The first, as we have seen, is written in our common orthography by z or
s; the other five have two letters to represent each of them. They are sh,
th, ng, and ch.

Sh has no sound but Ish.

Th has two sounds, a sharp or aspirate sound in thick, and its cognate
eubvocal in thus.

Ng has three sounds, only one of which is simple and elementary ;
namely, the sound of Ing in sing. In singe it has the sounds of En and Ja,
and in longer, the sounds of Ing and Ga.

Besides these sounds, the n and g are in some words sounded separately
as in engulf, where they have the sound of En and Ga.

Ch has two sounds, the sound of Cha in each, and the sound of Ka in

There are other combinations of consonants that represent sounds already
provided with letters. They are Ph, sounded like Fand V, or silent ; Gh,
sounded like Ga, F, and K, and in many cases silent ; Rh, sounded like R;
Wr, sounded like R ; and Wh, sounded like Hw.

Wh really represents two sounds, the other letters only one, or none, as
the case may be.

SECTION 3. Irregularities of Vowels.

All the vowels in the common orthography are irregular. They each rep-
resent more than one sound.


A has six sounds, along sound, as in hate; a short sound in hat; an
open sound in far; a broad, open sound in fall; a medial sound an air ; and
stands for e in many.

E has three sounds, a long sound, as in eve ; a short in ebb ; and an ob-
Bcure sound before r, us in person. It is generally silent in the end of words.

/ has three sounds, a long, diphthongal sound in fine; a short in fin ;
and a sound more or less obscure before r, as in bird.

has five sounds, a long sound, as in tone; a short sound, as in non;
an open, as in or; a close, as .in who ; and the sound of u in son.

Z/has five sounds, a long, diphthongal sound in tune; a short in sun;
a close in full; and the sound of e in bury, and I in busy.

Grouping these sounds together, we have E, A, Ai, Ah, I, e, a, Oo, 0,
Au, 66, u, 6, 1, and Ew; to which we might add two more diphthongal
sounds, Oi and Ow.

To make the confusion of our common orthography still more complete,
each of these sounds are expressed in several ways, as will be seen in the fol-
lowing examples. The letters that represent the sound are italicized.

E long is represented by e, ea, ee, ei, eo, ey, i, ie, and ay, as in the words,
eve, ear, beet, conceit, people, Key, pique, pier, and quay.

A long is represented by a, ai, ao, au, ay, e, ea, ei, ey, ue, aigh, eigh, as in
the words ale, aid, gaol, gauge, gay, fete, great, veil, they, bouquet, straight,

Ah is represented by a, Ah, and ua, as in ore, NoaA, and guard.

Ai is represented by a, ai, e, and ei, as in the words care, air, there, and

1 short (I) is represented by i, y, ee, u, and ui, in the words in, system,
been, busy, and circuit.

E short (e) by e, ea, a, ai, ay, and ue, as in met, head, any, said, says, and

So, also, the following, as illustrated by the annexed examples :

A short, at, guaranty.

Oo, who, soot, soup, throu^A.

O, note, oat, though, bowl.

Au, all, cause, laws, ought, slaughter, dialogue.

06 short, foot, full, legion, dungeon.

U short, up, enough, love.

short, on, hough.

It will be seen that, in the case of vowels, as well as consonants, we ex-
press simple elementary sounds by two letters ; in a few instances by three.

The necessity for this arises from the impossibility of expressing fourteen
sounds properly by five letters. The digraphs employed to represent SIMPLE
sounds are aa, ae, ai, ao, au, aw, ay, ea, ee, ei, eo, ey, ie, oa, oe, oo, ou, ow,
ua, ue, ui, uo, uy. The trigraphs are eau, eou, iou, besides aigh, eigh,
ough, etc.

As in the words Aaron, fail, gaol, Gaul, law, and lay ; head, heed, for-


feit, bludgeon, they, sieve, oat, hoe, dopr, soup, bow, guard, guess, circuit,
Guy, Halcyon, beau, gorgeous, religious, straight, eight, though, etc.

Most of these digraphs have, also, several sounds. Ai, for instance, ha*
different sounds in the words air, fail, said; so, also, ea in meat? and meadow;
ou in about, trouble, sought, soup, bough ; and ough in though, thought,
trough, cough, hough, hiccough, bough, etc.

To represent the fourteen ample vocal sounds, we have five simple vowels,
twenty-three digraphs, three trigraphs, and three combinations of four let-
ters each, thirty-four in all. It will be noticed farther that. no one of
these thirty-four vocal-sound letters, or combination of letters, has any defi-
nite sound that can be relied upon, but represents variously from two to
eight or nine sounds each.

Diphthongs and Triphthongs. The long sounds of the vowels I and V
are diphthongal. Other diphthongal sounds are represented by two vowels,
both of which are sounded. They are oi, ou, and ow, as in oil, out, how.
Some trigraphs represent diphthongal sounds, as iew in view, ieu in lieu.

In summing up this hasty view of the English alphabet, and the orthog-
raphy resulting from it, we may say of the alphabet that it is,

1st. Redundant ; containing three superfluous letters, c, y, and x.

2d. Deficient ; wanting letters for the sounds of Ish, Zhe, Ith, The, Ing,
and Cha; and at least nine out of fourteen vocal sounds.

3d. Ambiguous ; on account of supplying the want of proper letters by
three times the needed number of combinations for the vocal signs, and an
indefinite number of consonantal combinations.

4th. Inconsistent ; in representing the diphthongal sounds P and U
(long) by single letters, and using, in numerous instances, two, three, or
four letters, to express one simple elementary sound ; and in making the
same letters represent both vocal and consonantal sounds, as W and Y do.

Of the resulting orthography, we may say that the spelling is no guide to
the pronunciation ; that if its design had been to disguise sounds instead of
expressing them, it could not have been more happily adapted for the pur-
pose ; that the redundancies and deficiencies of the alphabet are needlessly
increased by the use of silent letters without method, order, or law ; that
caprice determines the letters which shall be employed in any given case,
without any regard to necessity, convenience, beauty, or reason ; that it is
not an or/Aography^it all, but a cacography or pseudography^ that it is a
nuisance, a stupendous folly, a hoary, chaotic ruin, a curse to the English
language, and a disgrace to the people that use it.



PURE phonography provides one sign, and one only, for each sound
in the language, and represents each sound invariably by its appropriate
sign. When a person has thoroughly learned the characters employed,
he should be able to write any word which he can pronounce. If
the word is, for instance, know, he hears two sounds, and writes ^i
(joined in writing). If the word is may, he writes ^c etc.

Such being the simplicity of phonetic, of purely phonographic or-
thography, it is only necessary to guard the student against errors
that experience has shown to be the natural result of the use of our
common orthography, whose inconsistencies are detailed in the preced-
ing chapter.

SECTION 1. Double Letters.

Pronounce each word slowly, and mark the sounds accurately. Omit
all silent letters. Very few double letters occur in spoken English.
Such words as attain, attack, etc., contain but one t; adding, bid-
ding, etc., but one d; begging, dragging, etc., but one g; appeal,
append, etc., but one p, and so on, through all words of this class.

A few words, such as wholly, fully, and some others, have both
letters sounded, and, of course, in these cases, both letters must be
written in Tachygraphy.

SECTION 2. Suppressed Letters.

Avoid the omission or suppression of any letter that is really
sounded. Some erroneously write f-ah-m for farm, cod (caud), for
cord, etc. Those who have been in the habit of writing the old
phonography have formed many injurious habits of omission. They
are too numerous to specify ; but let it be observed that we follow
entirely different principles.

On the other hand, avoid writing a sound that is suppressed when
the word is properly pronounced. The vowels in most final unaccented
syllables are silent, or so slightly pronounced as to lead to very awk-
ward reading if distinguished. This is the case in the final syllables
of the following words : given, mason, lessen, lesson, giver, ruler, cel-
lar, musical, notion, mission, ransom, seldom, etc* Nearly all final
unaccented syllables either lose the vocal sound entirely, or retain a
very obscure sound, .which it would be difficult to characterize prop-



erly. In the common style of Tachygraphy all such vowels are

There is a class of common short words, among which there, that,
and the are most noticeable, that seem to lose their vocal sound when
spoken very hurriedly, and to preserve it fully and clearly when em-
phatic. The omission of such vowels is phonetically proper, when they
are obscure, and the polished writer will mark the emphatic word
by inserting the vowel when it is fully sounded. A proper observ-
ance of this principle gives a life and force to tachygraphic writing
hitherto unattained. The following words may be vocalized to render
them emphatic : there, that, the, then, shall, have, can, cannot, from,
for, of, to, do, was, he, we, etc., etc. When not emphatic, the
vowels of all these words may be omitted.

SECTION 3. Cha, ja, ing, etc.

The letters C and G have two sounds. The tachygrapher must
be careful to use the \ in such words as come, care, course, etc., and
the - ^ in city, civil, certain, etc., and the ( in spacious, gracious, etc.
He will use \ in go, give, gird, etc., but _ in gem, genn, etc. No-
tice that ch in chaos, ache, etc., is written withka, not cha, and that
judge, ledge, bridge, etc., are pronounced juj, lej, brij.

But in the use of >-" we anticipate more difficulty than with any
other letter. Ng has three sounds, >>x\, c_ , and -^, as in the words
longer (lon-ger), change (chanj), and sing. Ng is represented by ^
in the following words : singing, ringing, bringing, etc. ; by -~- _ in
change, range, strange, etc. ; by >-^\ in linger, finger, stronger, etc.

SECTION 4. Wh, qu, etc.

Wh (sounded hw) has a sign appropriated to it by which it is
uniformly represented. Ha-Wa would not be an exact equivalent, if
their use was convenient. Qu is represented by Ka-Wa ; but it should
be noticed that the u does not have the exact sound of wa. It has the
sound heard in dwell, twit, thwack, etc., in which the w is represented
in the same way ; namely, by wa.


We have noticed in this chapter only such features of the short-hand
orthography as are phonetic or purely phonographic. We reserve for
a future chapter, where it will be better understood, such deviations
from phonetic accuracy as are deemed essential to facility in tachyg-

We need add but one general direction to the student. Having
become perfectly familiar with the alphabetic signs as representatives
of elementary sounds, pronounce the word to be written slowly and
clearly, and give each sound its appropriate sign, and you will spell


THE general principles detailed in the preceding chapters should be
studied and understood. The student should now learn the alphabet,
following the directions given below.

SECTION 1. Direction of the Signs.

1. Perpendicular signs and those inclined to the left are struck
downward ; horizontals, from left to right ; Ha, Wa, and Ya, up-
ward ; Em, El, and Ar, either upward or downward.

2. We need not here specify the cases in which Em, El, and Ar
are more properly struck downward; but the upward form is gener-
ally preferable when they are initial ; and convenience will determine
their use in most cases.

3. and rt are always struck in the direction that the hands of
a clock move; c , v, and u, in the opposite direction. This direc-
tion is a safer guide to the true letter than merely the form ; and it gives a
great freedom to the use of these signs, which may be struck around further
than in the alphabet without danger of mistaking the sign. The c , how-
ever, must maintain its original position.

The heavy / is struck downward, the light , upward ; - i - and \ are
written in the same direction as | and \ . They should be one-fifth
as long.

4. When the vowel comes on the first end of a consonant sign, it must
form an angle with it. If necessary, an angle must be made by the use of
a connecting stroke. See Illustration F. This is seldom necessary.

5. On the end of a sign the vowel may form a hook ; yet here a con-
necting stroke is sometimes necessary.

REMARK. In mastering the alphabet, the following has been found to
be a good method of study :



Beginning with Be, Pe, fill a line of your copy-book with these letters ;
thus, Be, Pe ; Be, Pe ; Be, Pe, etc. (made, of course, in short-hand char-
acters) . Go on with Ga, Ka, in the same way ; and so proceed with the
first twelve consonants in pairs. Then review them after the manner of
"the house that Jack built," thus: Be, Pe ; Be, Pe, Ga, Ka; Be, Pe,
Ga, Ka, De, Te, etc. See Illustration D.


Review the first lesson thoroughly. When it is mastered, proceed with
the remaining consonants in the same manner. Then take up the vocal



signs in triads, and master each triad thoroughly before attempting the sec-
ond. See Illustration E.


Review the two preceding lessons. Proceed to write each vowel before
all the consonants in their order, joining or disjoining according to the rules
givep ; then write each vowel after all the consonants, observing the princi-
ples laid down. See Illustration G.


Go through the exercises prescribed in the preceding lessons. They
should be repeated day after day, until the alphabet can be penned accu-
rately with the same facility that the common alphabet can be. The future
progress of the student will depend very much upon the thoroughness of
these introductory exercises.

The student should now read a part of the first exercise ; and then pro-
ceed to write the following :


Be, bay, bah ! boo ! bow. Pea, pay, pa, pooh, poe, paw. Key, ka,
coo, co, caw, gay. go. Tea, tay, too, toe, taw. Fee, foo, foe, faw. She,
shay, shah, shoe, show, shaw. See, say, sah, BOO, BOW, saw. Thee, they,
though. Me, may, ma, moo, mow, maw, nay, gnaw. know, He, ray,
raw, roe. He, hay, ha, who, hoe, haw. We, way, waa, woo, woe. Jah,
jar. joe.

Aid, day, ate, knee, ye, lay, fane, date, rate, wait, ace, say.

Ought, taught. Eat, tea, ape, pay. Abe,- bay, ache, go, oak, eke, ease,
owes, ooze, oar, row, own, know.

SECTION. 2. Connection of Signs.

1. All the signs that compose a word must be joined together, except

some vocal signs, as hereafter specified. The dot is never joined. The
dashes are disjoined whenever they do not form an angle with the consonant
preceding or following. See Reading Exercise 1. Between

two consonants they are joined to both, when they form an angle with
both ; when the vowel does not form an angle with both, it may be joined
to one and disjoined from the other.

2. A connecting stroke may be used with other semi-circles as well as
A ; but no connecting stroke is used with the dashes. Reading Exercise 2,
line 12. All the semi-circles, except A, may be joined without an angle, to
a preceding consonant, forming final hooks.

3. The hook is made larger for the long vowels E and Ah, to distinguish
them from the short sound i and u, which form small hooks. Exercise 2,
lines 6 and 7. It must be especially observed that these hooks are always
final hooks, never initial. Initial hooks are used in compound signs. (See
the next chapter.)



Pa, bah, bar, far, deep, reap, keep, part, cart, guard, sharp, door, Bhore,
mere, hear, seer, tear, roll, soul, toll, bowl. Ale, fail, hale, dale, awl,
tall, hall, wall, call, cool moor, tour, soup.

Am, aim, dam, dame, lamb, lame, ham, ram, has, last, hasp.

His, hiss, hit, with, wit, wisdom, win, wind.

Hid, heed, did, deed, rid, reed, wit, weed, mid, meed.

Bat, bar, fat, far, pack, park, dark, car.

And he said unto them. Let not your good be made evil. Seek peace.
Forsake every evil way. He did the deed. He hid the reed. He will dip
it in the deep.

4. The semi-circles (except A) may be slightly varied in direction, as
before stated. When such variation will suffice to make a proper angle, it
should be preferred to the use of the hook for all long vowels ; but the hook
is preferred for all short vowels ; that is, use the hook for the short vowel
whenever convenient ; avoid the hook for the long vowel when possible.

5. The light lines of the diamond points may be curved outward, when
they will thus form a better angle ; Reading Exercises 2, 8 and 9. The
diamond points and semi-circles are seldom disjoined ; but they may be in a
few cases. When the semi-circies occur between two consonants and do not
join readily with either, they should be disjoined. The use of connective
forms is, however, so convenient, that some prefer to use two connecting
strokes in these cases, instead of disjoining the vowel. See Illustration H

6. O may take the direction of , and vice versa, when more convenient,
in forming a proper angle. See Illustration I. Reading Exercise 2, lines
10 and 11.


Epoch, Enoch, in, ink, been, pin, pink, seek, sick, meek, week, weep,
reap. Fade, lady, ruddy, muddy. Rope, hope, lobe, tuck, luck, muck,
farmer, farthing, palm, calm, favor, save, safe, lave, love, pave.

SECTION 3. The Position of Disjoined Vowels.

1. A disjoined vowel is written on the left of a perpendicular or inclined
stroke, if it precedes ; it if it follows, on the right ; it is written above a
horizontal stroke, when preceding, below when following. Reading Exer-
cise 1.

2. The dots and disjoined o, are written near the middle of the stroke ;
the other vowels, when disjoined, may be written near the end. They are
however, perfectly distinguished by form, so4hat this position is not essen-
tial to their significance.

REMARK. Let it be repeated that the student should master the alphabet
thoroughly before attempting to go beyond it. See Illustration J.


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Online LibraryDavid Philip LindsleyThe compendium of tachygraphy: or, Lindsley's phonetic shorthand .. → online text (page 2 of 5)