shorthand systems

Shorthand Systems: Pitman, Teeline & Gregg

Introduction To Shorthand Systems

Shorthand is a system of quick handwriting which can be utilized to transcribe the spoken words. They make use of a variety of methods including simplifying existing letters or character types. And also uses unique symbols to represent phonemes, phrases and words.

A brief history of these systems

Since the invention of writing, scribes have used various ways to enable them to take down notes very quickly and efficiently.

Ancient Egyptians

The Ancient Egyptians devised two scripts, Hieratic and Demotic.  These are devised as alternatives with their complex Hieroglyphic script. It was mainly used for monumental inscriptions. Both Hieratic and Demotic have the same principles as the Hieroglyphs. However, the symbols were substantially simplified.


During the 4th hundred years BC, the Greeks devised numerous symbol systems. They decreased letters to an individual stroke. That could also be utilized to symbolize common words, prefixes, and suffixes. Such systems are usually known as stenography (narrow composing), brachygraphy (brief composing) or tachygraphy (swift composing). Their purpose was to make writing more compact sized and/or faster.


Romans favored by the Romans was Tironian Notes or Notae Tironianae. It was invented by Cicero’s secretary Tiro. He used it to record Cicero’s speeches. It used a mixture of simplified letters and particular symbols and was found in Europe in a variety of forms until the Middle Ages.

Han Dynasty (207BC – 220AD)

In the Han Dynasty (207BC – 220AD), the Chinese devised two ways of rapid writing referred to as xíngshu (running script) and caoshu (draft script). a few of the strokes that make up characters are combined & others are Ignored in the running script . each character is written with a single continues stroke in the Draft script. And, There is usually a substantial variation in how that is done. Consequently, the Draft script is quite difficult to learn without special training. Efforts have been made to standardize what sort of characters are created in the Draft script. However, they have not really met with well-known acclaim.

Types of Modern Shorthand Systems

There are a variety of different systems presently used. The most popular types include:

Pitman System

It was invented by Sir Isaac Pitman (1813-1897). It was initially published in 1837. Through the years it has been steadily improved. It has been adapted for 15 different languages across the globe. This was widely used in the UK and the USA. It is mostly used by secretaries, reporters, and authors. However, it lost recognition with the invention of pocket tape recorders.

1. Notable features of Pitman

Pitman is a phonetic system. It records the sounds of speech instead of the spelling. For instance, the sound [f] in Form, elephant and tough is written in the same way for each word. Vowel sounds are optional. So they are written with little dots, dashes or other shapes following the primary strokes. This can help increase writing speed. It is because most of the words can be recognized by their consonants.
The thickness, placement of the strokes & length are very significant in Pitman.
To improve the writing speed of the pitman, There are numerous special abbreviations and various other tricks are used.
In 1922, Using it,  Nathan Behrin wrote with a speed of 350 wpm in a two-minute test.

pitman consonantspitman vowels

pitman abbrevations

Sample Test in Pitman

2. ‘Translation’ of above Pitman Script

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Gregg System

Gregg was invented by John Robert Gregg (1867-1948). It was initially published in 1888. Since that time many different variations have made an appearance. It includes some languages apart from English. Gregg continues to be used, particularly in the U.S.

1. Notable features of Gregg System

Gregg is certainly phonetic. Instead of the spelling, It records sounds of speech. For instance, the audio [f] in Form, elephant and Tough is written just as for each word. And, Vowels are created as hooks and circles on the consonants.

Gregg ConsonantsGregg VowelsGregg punctuation Gregg Sample Text 

Teeline Shorthand

Teeline system is developed in 1968 by James Hill. He was an instructor of Pitman. It was approved by the National Council. It was used to train working Journalists. National Council certifies the training of journalists in the UK.

It is mainly utilized in the Commonwealth. However, it can be adapted to make use of Germanic languages such as for example German and Swedish. Its strength over other types is usually fast learning and speeds. Speeds as high as 150 words for each and every minute are feasible.  Users of Teeline may able to produce their own word groupings, thus increasing their speed.

Teeline differs from other systems by basing itself on the alphabet instead of phonetics. Making it simpler to learn when compared with other systems. However, it also carries the speed limitations of the alphabet when compared with other systems.

Writing the design of Teeline?

Teeline is a streamlined method. It helps to transcribe the spoken words very quickly. This was done by detaching unnecessary letters from words and building the letters themselves faster to create. Vowels tend to be removed when they aren’t the 1st or last letter of a word. And, silent letters are also ignored. Common prefixes, suffixes, and letter groupings (such as for example “sh” and “ing”) are reduced to single symbols. The symbols themselves derive from the aged cursive forms of the letter. Further, the not needed parts are once again stripped leaving just the core of the letter remaining. Unlike phonetics based systems, such as for example Pitman, Teeline is a spelling based system.

Teeline Shorthand

1. Research the Teeline alphabet.

The alphabet uses curves and strokes to represent letters in the English alphabets. It generally does not make use of phonics like pitman & Gregg methods. Rather, it uses different symbols to represent certain letters. The majority of the letters are represented by a curve or stroke that’s in the English letter. It is like a “v” form for “A.”

You could find the Teeline alphabet here: althandwriting

2. Keep only the fundamental vowels and consonants in words.

In Teeline, you omit silent consonants, dual consonants, and vowels that are not needed. You keep just vowels at the start of a word and also at the end of a word.

For example, the term “LAMB” will be written as “LM.”

“COMMA” will be written while “CMA,”

“ABOUT” is normally written like that “ABT,”

and “LIGHT” is usually written as “LT.”

If you were composing a sentence in Teeline like, “It is best to remember to take down notes in class,” it might be created as “U shld alwys rmbr t tk nts in cls.”

3. Write vowels smaller sized than consonants.

In Teeline, the vowels show up a bit smaller compared to the consonants on the page. This helps you to easily identify the vowels from the consonants.

For example, Let’s assume you are interested to write the word “COMMA”. In Teeline, you’ll write the “C” and the “M” in a normal size and the “A” in a smaller sized letter.

4. Join consonants together.

Make an effort to write consonants in a single to two strokes without lifting your pen. Keep the first letter clear. And add on another letter so they form one symbol. This can make your writing considerably faster.

For example, you may join “b” with “d” by starting with the symbol of “b”. And adding a horizontal line on the “b” to note the “d.”


Shorthand Systems are a way of the speed-writing systems where you substitute symbolic for an audio or a letter. It really is a terrific way to take down notes fast, whether you are jotting down your ideas during a course or producing notes during an interview. There are three common ways of composing it: the Teeline technique, the Pitman technique, and the Gregg technique. After you have practiced a way of it, you can improve your technique by firmly taking a course on it or by employing a tutor who’s well-versed in composing it. It is also called as stenography.

Shorthand Systems: Pitman, Teeline & Gregg