These hooks, circles and long strokes are not scribbles but actually a real writing system for taking notes


At first glance, this may look like unintelligible scribbles to many people but believe it or not, this is actually a real writing system. Each curved line, dot, and dash in what looks like meaningless scribbles is actual words that we use every day!

It may be a real writing system but you may be wondering by now that why would someone write in this way.

The scribbles that you see in this picture are actually a form of taking notes called “shorthand

Credit: Wiktionary

It was first introduced many centuries ago when recording and transcribing machines were not invented yet.

Back in the day when journalists, police, and secretaries had to rely on taking notes manually, the shorthand system came in handy and was useful for taking notes or statements

Credit: Wikipedia

There are many shorthand systems invented ever since but some of the modern shorthand systems that are still used in modern days are the Pitman Shorthand and the Gregg Shorthand.

These two great shorthand systems were penned by two Victorian gentlemen, Isaac Pitman and John Robert Gregg.

Englishman Sir Isaac Pitman (1813–1897) invented Pitman Shorthand that is mainly used throughout the United Kingdom

Credit: Britannica

Meanwhile, John Robert Gregg (1867–1948) invented Gregg Shorthand and his shorthand system is widely used in the United States

Credit: Wikipedia

Much like cursive handwriting, the Gregg Shorthand uses hooks and circles to represent vowels while the Pitman Shorthand leans towards using long and short strokes to simplify words.

This may look a bit complicated especially if you have never had to take notes manually but the shorthand systems are definitely useful and simple once you have mastered all the forms and abbreviations used


While using a shorthand system may be unnecessary nowadays with the presence of a variety of recording machines to transcribe spoken words, journalists in certain parts of the world like the United Kingdom and New Zealand including several higher institutions in Nigeria still require their students to learn the shorthand systems.

Or just in case you do not want others to pry on your secrets, you may use one of these shorthand systems to write in your diary next time!


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