Shorthand for Beginners
Abbreviated writing was not invented with Internet chat rooms and cell phone text messages. Shorthand has been and continues to be the abbreviated writing language of choice for professionals like stenographers, researchers and secretaries but is also used by students, businesspeople and anyone else who needs to take notes quickly and accurately in a limited amount of time. Shorthand can be very complex, but for beginners there are a few exercises they can start with to make it less intimidating.
An easy way to start with shorthand is to write the digits of numbers instead of writing out the whole word, for example, write "6" instead of "six." Writing the numbers between 0 and 9 repeatedly, and in random order, is one method to use to practice beginning shorthand. You can practice your speed and accuracy and time yourself by counting how many times you can write out all nine digits under a set time limit.
Taking on the process of learning shorthand and improving your writing skills over time depends heavily on your powers of concentration. You can improve your concentration in a number of ways, including methods like meditation and breathing exercises. Learn to focus on a single task at hand and block out other distractions. Try to avoid stress and boredom or learn how to alleviate it to improve your shorthand skills.
The shorthand alphabet also includes symbols that denote diphthongs, consonant blends and whole words. These symbols consist of dots, vertical and horizontal dashes, circles, curved lines and loops. The differences between them can be very subtle, like a small squiggly line attached to the end of a loop. Charts and other visual aids can help you learn these differences. Practice these symbols by starting with more commonly used words by both reading and writing them.
Shorthand and Netspeak
Netspeak is the name usually given to the short forms -- such as "lol" to mean "laugh out loud" -- that are used in Internet chat rooms, while playing online games and sent from cell phones. Netspeak is often confused with shorthand by novices or beginners but the two writing forms evolved independently. Even the text form of shorthand has little in common with the text message equivalent. For example, the word "what" often is spelled "wut" in a text message, but the word in shorthand is "o t."
Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.