Thursday, 22 June 2017

Instructor Phrases Section 5

These sentences practise the phrases in Section 5 page 209 of the Instructor, Omissions: Consonants and Syllables

Some phrases appear occasionally or rarely but others seem to crop up all the time and this section has some of the most frequent longer words, such as receive, possible and consider, and their derivatives. In the world of government and commerce*, letters and reports are always being received, the contents considered and decisions made on whether the requests are possible. Therefore these phrases will repay some extra study and attention. In fact the omitted syllables are often slurred or swallowed by the speaker, enabling them to go even faster, and as we are used to that in normal speech, the omission phrases that represent them are easy to read back. This is not an excuse to leave out all sorts of indistinct syllables on the spur of the moment, but these particular shorthand phrases are tried and tested over a long period of time and they make a great saving of time and effort.

* “commerce” Note this does not use the Con dot

I have received an invitation to the meeting next week and I am very pleased indeed to be able to attend and speak.

We have received their email* in reply to our questions* on the items to be discussed next month.

I have just received confirmation of the date and it is just possible I will be able to attend the meeting on that day.

We have just now been given the figures for last year and we think there* must be an error.

Last month business was going as well as possible and this month is also looking good.

I will most probably have to leave as soon as possible and I hope this will not be inconvenient for you.

* “email” Always insert the first vowel, as “mail” is similar

* "questions" Optional contraction

* “we think there” You could double the Ith to represent "their"

I have included as much as possible in my report and I hope you are satisfied* with the final version.

I think that between them they are almost certain to succeed* in this very interesting and worthwhile* endeavour.

They have gone as far as possible in getting the facts but in other respects the report is deficient.

There must be an improvement on last week’s figures and in fact this is essential for our success.

You must be honest* with one another and lay the foundation stones of your future business.

You must not be found to be acting in this manner and talk as if it were possible to do these things safely.

* “I hope you are satisfied” Included as it is given in the book, but this phrase is overlong, as it is tempting to read the Ray as part of the next word e.g. "rest-"

* “to succeed” The first circle S is reversed to make an acceptable join

* “worthwhile” Omits the Ith

* “honest” Always insert the first vowel, as this would otherwise be the same as the short form “influenced”

They carried out the* work to a high standard and in the same manner as they have always done.

They did not disagree at all and the contrary* could be said, as they were at all times* very friendly towards one another.

We were not bored, on the contrary* we enjoyed seeing the telegraph office at the museum of industrial life.

The children behaved very well* and in point of fact*in the same manner as the adult visitors in the park.

The pictures were painted in the manner of the impressionists* and should be considered for conservation.

This item must be considered a necessity and in like manner all the items on the list which was submitted.

* “carried out”  "at all times" Halving to present the T

* “and the (con)trary” “on (the con)trary” These omit different parts of the phrases

* Omission phrase “very (w)ell”

* “impressionists” A very few outlines have an upward halved S after the Shun, to obtain a convenient outline, this would not be possible if the stroke were a thick one

We have concluded that this proposal cannot be considered by this company* at any time in the next few years.

Unfortunately I have concluded that his replies were not fully considered before being sent to us.

The necessary conclusion of this matter is that further action to resolve this must be considered immediately.

In conclusion I would say that* all these matters ought to be considered by the committee members as soon as they possibly can.

I have given some consideration to your remarks and I confirm they bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.

He says that it is a necessary consequence of these actions that it goes for further consideration by the board.

* “by this company” The intersection can also be used for “council” so context is important when using this

* Omission phrase “I would s(ay) that”

He took all the facts* into consideration and said that little consideration was given to the rumours that were mentioned.

We have read the report of the points that were considered and are in agreement with that conclusion.

The complaints will be further considered and you will have our recommendations as soon as possible and hopefully by next week.

We have submitted the report and hope it may be considered favourably by the members of the council.

The staff said that it is considered* reasonable to ask for this important work to be done as soon as possible.

I have listed the proposals in the report for consideration by the committee at their next meeting.

* Omission phrase “all the (f)acts” See letter F on for more variations.

* “it is considered” The Instructor does not mention that this phrase also omits the "is". It is not practical to write a large circle here to show both the S sounds.

Here are the new building plans which will be considered by the directors when they meet for discussions next month.

A breach of this rule shall be considered sufficient to result in the immediate dismissal of the employee.

I hope the officials will take into consideration the great savings that would be made to the existing budget.

The councillors have not taken* into consideration the requests submitted by the residents for improved maintenance.

These are the facts which will be taken into consideration at the staff meeting due to be held at the end of the week.

The rules clearly state that everything on the agenda shall be taken into consideration by the Board during this meeting. (855 words)

*It is possible to show the N of “taken” and omit the R hook (shown in green below the last line) see item “into” on for the variations

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Breaking News

Here in the UK we have had a succession of difficult news stories, with a series of major attacks and events in London. Much as I like to present upbeat articles to help with the shorthand, at some time* you are likely to need vocabulary for these, whether reporting or in minutes or correspondence. Sudden attacks on civilians*, with fatal* consequences, have filled our headlines, and the first thoughts and assumptions* are that it is a terrorist attack or a suicide bomber, especially when the location is near to the seat of government. The alternative is that it is a copycat crime by someone operating on their own, often called a lone wolf. Sometimes a terrorist organisation decides to take the credit in order to* use the publicity for their own ends, in increasing fear amongst the citizens of the capital city* and encouraging hasty reactions and divisions amongst those in authority. Extensive* investigations by the police authorities will uncover the extent of the organisation and motives of those responsible, whether directly involved in the action, supporting with finance*, training and materials, issuing directives based on their ideology, or shielding and harbouring those connected with the terrorist cells and groups.

* "at some time" Halving for the T of "time"

* "civilians" The diphone is written adjacent as normal, as its sound comes after both the V and L sounds.

* "assumptions" Omits the lightly sounded P, therefore M not Imp

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

* "capital city" Write the intersection first, in the order spoken

* "extensive" Keep the T vertical, and insert its vowel. With the similar "expansive" keep the P shallow and insert its vowel.

* "finance" Dictionary gives this outline with the "finn-" pronunciation, but nowadays it is often spoken "fye-". Take care not to misreading is as "findings".

Some of these acts have been carried out* using vehicles to kill and injure pedestrians, with attackers then running through the streets brandishing large knives and axes, causing panic and severe injury to passers-by at random, and in one case killing a police officer. Unlike explosives and other disruptive devices, these are normal everyday items that are freely available and employing them as offensive weapons requires no planning or technical knowhow to use them to such devastating effect. This means that our main way of dealing with threats of this kind has to be* prevention of radicalisation of those who carry out these atrocities, and the identification of those who are at risk of the type of indoctrination* that results in the glorification and justification of violence and murder*, often claimed by themselves to be in the name of their religion or belief system. As these recent attacks have led to the shooting and death of the assailants, this has allowed the police services to identify them immediately and rapidly close the net on known contacts and associates who are suspected of sharing and promoting their radical ideology, and their brutal and murderous intentions.

* "carried out" Halving for the word "out"

* "has to be" This and the phrase "is to be" are safe. "it is to be" can be phrased because the "is" will remain in position, but for the words "it has to be" write the "it" separately, so that the "as" remains in position.

* "indoctrination" Alternative contraction that omits the K. The full outline would include the K and be written in position through the line.

* "murder" The outline for "murderer" just adds an R stroke

With the recent phenomenon* of attacks on crowds using vehicles, we are seeing an increased number of concrete barriers and blocks appearing throughout the capital city, these being large slabs placed at close intervals* to prevent vehicles from entering certain areas but allowing pedestrians free access. These have gone from serving as a purely* road safety or crowd control feature, to being* a counter-terrorist attack measure. Surveillance of people in the streets and vehicles is now easier to carry out with the ever-increasing use of security cameras in a wide variety of locations, and the smart technology that can recognise people, faces, specific vehicles and their number plates. Although some may not like the thought that our movements can be extensively* monitored if necessary, we are grateful for it when a suspect* is identified and tracked, and major terrorist incidents intercepted or prevented, or if it allows further intelligence to be gained on the identities and meeting places of accomplices* and collaborators.

* "phenomenon" Write the F stroke first, in the order spoken. The contraction for the plural "phenomena" is the same but without the N hook. Easier to learn if you see the N stroke as representing the last syllable "F-non" and "F-na".

* "intervals" It is the VL stroke that is in position through the line, so it does not matter where the doubled N stroke ends up

* "purely" Distinguishing outlines "pure" has Ray, "poor" has Ar

* "to being" Based on the short form phrase "to be"

* "extensively" Keep the T vertical, and insert its vowel. With the similar "expansively" keep the P shallow and insert its vowel.

* "suspect" Full outline for the noun, which has its emphasis on the first syllable. The contraction is only used for the verb, which has emphasis on second syllable.

* "accomplices" The outline for "accomplice" does not join the prefix as that would look too much like "couples"

When these tragedies, injuries and fatalities have occurred, communities come together even more closely, supporting each other and ignoring their* superficial differences, in order to* present an unbroken front against those who wish to sow discord, shatter trust and destroy the otherwise peaceful lives of the citizens of this country. Every reaction of those involved in the immediate event and aftermath is brought to our television screens by the myriad of news reporters, asking everyone they can to describe how they were involved or affected by the event, and what was going through their mind. Those who are caught up in events are generally willing to share their experiences immediately and this may help them process such traumatic* experiences. Unfortunately, amongst the mostly* good reporting, one still occasionally hears questions like “how did you feel when this atrocity happened” or worse “you must be feeling devastated” when the answer is obvious. This type of insensitive enquiry from a reporter is unnecessary, unprofessional and prurient, and serves only to gain extra video footage, rather than being helpful to the person and informative to the viewers. Trauma* counselling is offered to victims and emergency* service workers, and this is a more appropriate* setting for this type of exchange.

* "ignoring their" Doubling to represent "their"

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

* "traumatic" "trauma" Always insert the first vowel, as these are similar to "drama, dramatic" in shape and meaning

* "questions" Optional contraction

* "mostly" Omits the lightly sounded T

* "emergency" Omits the N for convenience

* "appropriate" Always insert the diphone, and the 2nd vowel in "proper", as these are similar in shape and meaning.

The recent terrorist attackers seem to have completely misjudged the reactions that the British public will show in response to their action, especially as it is designed to affect and demoralise the nation as a whole, not just those who are directly involved as victims. As the perpetrators are gripped by their fanaticism, the high emotions behind their chaotic and violent actions are the polar opposite of the typical customary British response which, when faced with such things, just gets more resolute, unyielding and strong-willed, harder to move to incapacitating emotion, and more determined to refuse to do anything remotely resembling what the aggressors were hoping to accomplish, in order to* deprive them of their chief objective. Determination to resist and overcome becomes immovable, teeth are firmly gritted, heels dug in, and faces and minds are defiantly* set like flint against those who attempt to undermine and destroy our normal law-abiding everyday lives. (915 words)

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)

* "defiantly" Written thus to distinguish it from "definitely"

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Fat Shorthand

If you wanted to put on lots* of weight for some reason, you could sit and eat a pile of cream cakes, and be perfectly confident that by the time you had eaten them all, you were well on your way to achieving your goal. Your measurements would probably not have changed noticeably hour by hour, but you know that today’s efforts will add to yesterday’s and tomorrow’s, and the desired result will follow without fail. You won’t have the same confidence if it is piles of lettuce leaves or celery sticks on your plate, it has to be fat, sugar, pastry and cream. So it is with your shorthand dictations (as well as other practising), they have to be the right kind, the sort that will pile the outlines into memory, where they will stick fast. Like fat, they will keep you warm when other learners are suffering chills and shivers at the thought of the exam piece. Unlike fat, they will keep you cool and comfortable when the speaker’s rate of delivery is hotting up and getting faster.

* "lots" and "masses" Insert the vowel, as these are similar in outline and meaning

You cannot think your way into learning outlines, by some attempt at memorising, such as intensive and silent reading and re-reading of lists, mnemonics (disaster for shorthand writing*) or even reciting various lists or rules. All these involve thinking to get the result back, and real-life* shorthand writing* involves very little thinking. Hearing each word must instantly trigger a mental image of the outline, which you then write on the page, to be repeated over and over again* until the speaker finishes. This is exactly identical* to writing longhand: hear it, write it, no thinking required.

* Omission phrases "short(hand) writing"  "rea(l)-life" "over (and) over again". The second "over" is reversed in order to gain a good join

* "identical" Contraction, therefore on the line

The type of dictation that is going to improve your skill is one where you already know the outlines, through having practised the vocabulary beforehand*. Such a prepared dictation is then doing its job of practising getting outlines out of memory, unlike the main lessons where outlines are being put into memory. This is the most profitable use of a dictation and any idea of it somehow being “cheating” needs to be squashed. A completely unseen dictation does have its place (a lesser one) as it will test all your skills together i.e. outline recall, your composure and confidence (or not) in dealing with unknown matter, and an indication of your best speed (one that produces legible  shorthand) but it will not increase your knowledge of the system or increase your outline vocabulary.

* "beforehand" Optional shorter outline that omits the H sound

Taking unseens en masse will just beat you down, as you can’t intimidate your memory into producing what it doesn’t know, by threatening it with more of the same, and scolding and criticism if it fails. This would be like a certain 20th century tyrant leader (the other meaning of “dictator”) who threatened his country’s football team with violence and imprisonment if they didn’t win games, a strong but ghastly incentive to try harder, but with no input of extra ability, skill, strength or energy.

Writing shorthand from another speaker is the opposite of your normal intelligent and prudent self that considers, thinks about, ponders, compares, weighs up and comes to a well-informed, logical and shrewd conclusion or decision. All those could possibly be done in a few seconds in normal life*, but in shorthand you don’t have spare seconds. Your shorthand persona* is a humble servant who has emptied their mind of all distractions and is just waiting on the next word to be spoken, ready to write it instantly. There is no place for creating outlines from theory for an unknown word, and the most you can do is write something based on a similar word or syllable for which you already know the outline and with experience that will come quickly to mind without much effort.

* Omission phrase "normal (l)ife"

* "persona" Essential to insert the vowels, otherwise it is identical to "person"

The shorthand writer’s* listening attitude is like someone who is straining to hear a faint voice on the phone with some very important life-changing information. All distractions are completely and easily ignored, because there is a very strong incentive to cut them out and concentrate on the distant voice. As you are now learning shorthand, you already have your own incentive to press on, but some additional motivational material might be helpful, maybe an edited picture of yourself sitting at a desk or location similar to that in the desired job, shorthand pad and pen to hand, with a big smile, waving a speed certificate in one hand and a reporter’s pay slip in the other, and underneath: “The first words I learned in shorthand were Take Pay Cheque!" (757 words)

* Omission phrase "short(hand) writer's" 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Golf Rules

A few days ago I went to a park that has a public golf course on one side of it, behind some woodland. I walked through the sunlit woods, now at their greenest after several days of heavy rain last week*. The birds were singing loudly and the tangled undergrowth, long grasses and nettles were waving about in the breezes, an ideal secluded habitat for wildlife. To one side was part of the golf course where the grass was a perfect sward of smooth solid green, closely cut, with not a weed* in sight, despite the proximity of the woodland’s abundant supply of seeds of everything except fine lawn grass. I went over to have a look and saw an oval bunker, half full of cloudy water with a sandy beach all round the edges.

* Omission phrase "las(t w)eek"

* "weed" Helpful to insert the vowel, as this is about "woods"

* "bunker" Hooked or doubled Ing stroke includes the K sound i.e. ing-ker or ing-ger. For the sound ing-er just add Ar stroke, as in "singer".

I continued through the woodland and came to another fairway, and wandered up the slope alongside it. There were* more sandy bunkers and, as there was no-one about hitting golf balls*, I went out a short way to look at the closest one. And there I saw it, a solitary lonely little white ball, sitting pitifully* and sadly in the water at the shallow end. So what happened up to this point? Was it left there and then got rained on? Did it land in the water and the golfers give up on it when they found it there, or use another ball? What is the correct procedure when it lands in a water-filled bunker? Later on I looked up some of the rules of the game and found lots* of instructions on dealing with casual water, water hazards, loose impediments and obstructions, various specific situations in which you can move, lift or replace a ball, and many other injunctions against interfering with its position, along with instances when it is allowed and necessary to do so.

* "golf balls" If you were using the word "golf" all the time, i.e. in employment, then intersecting the G stroke, maybe with L hook, would be more efficient. A new intersection is best decided on in advance of taking the matter, as clashes may only become apparent during transcription, resulting in errors, e.g. "There are new golf/government rules in force regarding safety on the fairway."

* Omission phrase "there (w)ere"

* "pitifully" Full strokes P and T, to distinguish it from "beautifully" which has a halved B

* "lots" Insert the vowel, as it could look like "masses" which has a similar meaning

As I looked back down the fairway, I saw some golfers walking up in the distance with their caddy trolleys in tow. I went back into the woodland for safety, to save myself from flying white globes and to get out of the way of their game, which they can’t really carry on with while a walker* is hovering around the edges. The little trodden track between the nettles brought me back to the main woodland path. The nettle patches were wide, thick and tall, and this brought up another question*. How many golf balls are lying in the nettle-beds, gradually becoming mossy and covered in debris? Can they be removed and placed elsewhere in order to* be played, and how much damage to the wildlife habitat would searching for the ball entail, or would it even be allowed?

* "walker" Derivative of "walk" so it just adds the Ar stroke. Compare "wicker" which is not a derivative, and so has W + Kr strokes.

* "question" Optional contraction

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

I made my way back to my starting point, as it was nearly time to meet up and make our visit to the ornamental* gardens. On the way I heard, and then saw, two crows at the top of a tall tree, cawing and jumping around. Crows are big birds and they can probably lift up a golf ball if they really wanted to. Magpies collect interesting items, and if a crow did the same, what are the golf rules? The questions* are endless*, and I suspect that the rules will proliferate to cover every circumstance, especially when something out of the ordinary happens and has to be accounted for. We went on to see the flower gardens and all thoughts of golf vanished amidst the rose bowers, topiary, double daisies and wallflowers. (584 words)

* "ornamental" Upward R to allow the following joins, compare "ornithology" which has Ar stroke to allow its joins with the N and Ith strokes 

* "questions" Optional contraction

* "endless" Compare outline for "needless" which has full N + D strokes, which distinguishes it and also allows the first vowel to be put in clearly

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Kite Festival

On the 14th of this month* we went to the 19th Streatham* Kite Festival on Streatham Common in South London. We saw it for the first time* last year, and we were really looking forward* to this year’s event. It has a very happy and excited atmosphere of anticipation, with everyone there just to enjoy the displays and fly their own kites. We were very glad that the day started bright and breezy, after some overnight* and early morning showers. Sun and warmth are both optional, but the breezes are essential and the weather gave us all these at once.* The Common is ideal for kite flying as the back of it slopes gently upwards and I think this must increase the wind that blows in from the downhill* direction, and away from the main road at the base. There are large mature trees dotted around the edges and it is up to the flyers to avoid getting their cords too near to these, if they don’t wish to lose their kites in the branches.

* Omission phrases "this (mon)th" "for (the) first time" "looking fo(r)wa(r)d" "at (wu)ns"

* "Streatham" Pronounced "strettum"

* "overnight" The first place diphthong is joined at the end for convenience, an exception to the main rule, similarly "nigh" "deny" "nitre"

There was a variety of arena displays where the stunt kites do their dances in the air to music. As the action is all up in the air, everyone seated around and further away can watch the spectacle with a clear view. The kite club members had their larger kites flying at a greater altitude*, where the wind is constant and the kite stays almost motionless. Their spools were on gear that allowed them to be spiked securely into the ground. I gave a little tug on one of the very high flying kite cords and it was absolutely solid, which made it very clear how much pull the kite is exerting and how easily it could propel a person or a sand yacht along. No need to hitch your wagon to a star, as a kite will surely do the job. One of the tethered kites had a wind powered bubble machine attached to the lower end, a fun way to indicate the wind direction and strength.

* "altitude" and "latitude" Always insert the first vowel

Last year’s giant blue teddy bear was replaced this time by a bright yellow one, as well as an equally* large multi-coloured octopus, a grey whale, a large blue whale, a crocodile, a green lobster and a penguin. Best of all was a visit from that special person, Mr Superman himself, in his trademark red and blue costume, with his black quiff hairstyle and streaming red cape. He floated and undulated over the crowds, and when he sank nearer to the ground, a group of four small boys were running up and down next to the rope barrier, trying to catch his feet, which they actually did once or twice. Maybe they were hoping to be lifted aloft, a desire not likely to be realised or allowed.

* "equally" The short form includes the "-ly" ending, but sometimes it is clearer to insert the dot

This scene looked like a good story or film in the making, a huge protective Superman figure hovering over the people, ready to fly off and attack anything that was threatening to harm or hurt us, or cause trouble. He had a good view of everything, and his hands and fingers were waving around, as if impatient to get to grips with a problem and solve it as efficiently and peacefully as he knows how. I am very glad to say that nothing untoward happened, which is just how Superman and the rest of us like it, a congenial and enjoyable day out for hundreds of families and children.

I saw several new kite characters this time, other than the usual birds, butterflies and basic diamond and triangle shapes. There was a shiny oval hologram kite that was spinning rapidly as it flew, and resembled a blinking light in the air. There was a string of about 25 mini kites, which were released one by one until they were all in the air. Someone had made a sailing ship, with the central sails in the form of* a box kite, which did fly but I think it probably needed to be flown quite high to get the best of the stable airflow. I saw several small black bats, which being wider than tall seemed to swoop about quite well in a lifelike manner. Some of the children were running around with swirling kites on the end of a stick, so no string or height needed and the stick can be tied to something in the back garden once they get home.

* Omission phrase "in the form (of)"

By the afternoon the common was packed with people. At the lower end families were sitting around on picnic blankets eating and drinking. Further up, although the slope was covered in people, there was still plenty of room for everyone to fly their kites without tangling. The food and ice cream stalls were working hard to supply everyone as fast as they could manage. The kite selling tents were crowded with queues trailing behind like a kite tail, with excited children looking forward* to choosing one and walking away opening the packets* and impatient to get it assembled, with mum or dad’s help. It seemed a shame to leave it all, like coming away from the seaside and its holiday atmosphere, but I had a camera full of pictures and videos from every angle, so that I can revisit the event in comfort over the next year.  (888 words)

* Omission phrase" "looking fo(r)wa(r)d"

* "packets" Insert the second vowel, so it is not misread as "packs" or "bags". It is helpful also to always insert the first vowel in "pockets", as all these could be misread for each other in various contexts.