A new Cursive Bilingual Stenography system for English and Japanese for personal use “EPSEMS”

Akihito Hirano (Giappone)

Esistono tre tipi di sistemi stenografici: geometrici, corsivi, alfabetici e sistemi che combinano elementi dei tre tipi.
Ho imparato da autodidatta i cinque sistemi stenografici del giapponese e, notando la maggiore efficienza dei sistemi corsivi rispetto a quelli geometrici, ho sviluppato EPSEMS, un sistema semplice di stenografia corsiva per uso personale per l’inglese, il giapponese e l’inglese come lingua globale.
È un sistema dal tratto sottile in cui le lettere vocaliche, a differenza della stenografia tradizionale, non sono scritte in segni fonetici, bensì in linee dritte ascendenti che si distinguono in base alla lunghezza del tratto. Ogni suono è categorizzato nel gruppo A, I e U, cioè suoni simili si indicano con lettere simili. Le consonanti, che dipendono dalla posizione delle vocali, sono linee discendenti e sono distinte in sorde e sonore in base alla forma del tratto finale. Inoltre, vi sono lettere di base per i non madrelingua inglese e lettere abbreviate per le parole frequenti in inglese.
Nei sistemi stenografici che richiedono la riproducibilità del parlato si deve poter leggere quanto possibile; per questo motivo il sistema è efficiente.


Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen.
My name is Akihito Hirano from Japan.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation today.
Moreover, I appreciate the efforts and consideration of the Intersteno committee members.
My mother tongue is Japanese that can be said to be the opposite language to English.
Therefore, I think that there are confusing parts to understand in my expression and pronunciation, but I would be pleased if you could hear it for a while.

First of all, the title “bilingual” means Japanese and English here.
EPSEMS developed as stenography system to write English and Japanese, but today I would like to focus on talking, especially on EPSEMS English shorthand which was developed to write English as a global language.
I report on the composition of the plan and the main theory.

I adopted the principle of phonetism in the composition of EPSEMS.

Almost all the Japanese stenography systems currently adopted the syllabic basis alphabet, but I adopted the basic alphabet with phoneme units in English and Japanese for the cursive style new system.

In the new system, vowels are expressed by the line letters, and consonants have phonetically related in the way of writing unvoiced sound and voiced sound.

Also, depending on the position where we start writing the vowel letters, there are ways to completely omit consonant letters such as “h, m, n, s”.

And EPSEMS has double consonant letters, triple consonant letters, which is very effective in writing both English and Japanese.

As an application specific to Japanese, EPSEMS adopted abbreviating method such as “Initial letter writing for shortcuts” which has applied widely to express frequent words by initial syllable of each Chinese characters.

Furthermore, the fruit of Japanese geometric theory, EPSEMS adopted the shortening method by small signs for special sounds in Chinese characters sounds, and writing Japanese conjugated forms for example “R”syllable.

Here I will categorize the handwriting stenography system into three types.

The three types are geometric systems, cursive systems, and alphabetic systems.

Geometric systems are mainly based on circle, an arc which is a part of circle and straight lines.

Cursive systems are mainly based on the motions of ordinary handwriting like the cursive characters of the Latin alphabet.

Alphabetic systems are mainly based on characters from the Latin alphabet or a part of its shape.

In addition, there are also several systems combining the elements of these three types.

I started to learn Japanese stenography for the first time 41 years ago by self taught.

In Japan there existed Mohri system as a cursive system in the past, but it has already been in the past.

Alphabetic systems also exist, but they are not so common.

That’s reason why I learned geometric systems for Japanese.

After I finished learning Waseda system, I also finished learning Nakane system, Ishimura system and Morita system.

After that, I learned and studied Takusari-76 system and V system.

And as English stenography systems, I also learned and studied Pitman shorthand, Gregg shorthand and Teeline shorthand.

In the past, I had passed the first grade skill test of stenography which is the most high level professional license by Japan Stenography Association.

In addition, I passed the professional test by each of five kinds of stenography system.

And those five systems are Nakane, Waseda, Morita, Ishimura and Shisa system.

Incidentally, Shisa system is a geometric system developed by me.

I confirmed the weak points of geometric systems from those experiences.

Those are lack of legibility, not so easy to translate, not so easy to write fluently.

Geometric systems often use geometric and artificial strokes.

The reason why I started developing the English stenography system was inspired by the study of the cursive stenography theory.

It happened that I knew the theory of cursive systems and found the possibility to solve the weak points of geometric systems.

So I challenged to develop a new cursive stenography system.

That is EPSEMS, and the goal is to be a type of personal use.

The worth of existence of the stenography system that can be used by professional stenographer is great.

However, one of the goals of EPSEMS development is that it is not necessary to be such a stenography system.

That is exactly a stenography system specialized for personal use.

A stenography system which is easy to learn, easy to write and easy to translate for many people.

A stenography system of the theoretical composition with simplicity, clarity and regularity.

In personal use, if the writing speed of up to about two thirds of the professional stenography writers level is ensured at the most, it seems to be beneficial for most stenography users.

As an extreme example here, as a daily tool of transportation, Volkswagen Golf is more convenient than expensive Ferrari.

In other words, the professional stenography system with a large amount of learning is Ferrari, and for two thirds use, Volkswagen Golf is more convenient.

EPSEMS was designed with the most emphasis on this two thirds.

And the two thirds can be achieved even by using only a small part of abbreviated letters for representing frequent words in addition to basic letters.

As a merit of cursive systems, EPSEMS keeps very fluent stenography letters more than geometric systems in a sense, too.

“Easy to write” often leads to “easy to read”.

The logical composition of vowel letters and consonant letters is important first.

In particular, it is important to associate the shape of the stroke between the related sounds.

This leads to ease of learning and readability.

Some systems use thick strokes and thin strokes to distinguish related sounds.

But EPSEMS uses only thin strokes and makes distinctions of the related consonant sounds by the difference in the end shape of the stroke.

And EPSEMS makes distinctions of the related vowel sounds by the length of the stroke.

English is a relatively easy-to-read language even if much of the vowels are omitted.

In other words, English is easy to read if consonants are expressed firmly.

In Pitman shorthand, Gregg shorthand, Teeline shorthand, which can be said to be the three major methods of English stenography systems, we often omit vowels.

Japanese is a relatively difficult-to-read language if we omit a lot of vowels.

In other words, Japanese is easy to read if vowels are expressed firmly.

It seems that we have not seen much of the day so far, although there was an attempt in the English stenography based on the cursive theory.

However, from the phonological structure of English, the cursive theory is sufficiently effective.

EPSEMS is compatible both English and Japanese, but the difference between Japanese and English is wide and big..

English is an inflectional language, closed syllable language, consonant superiority language.

In contrast, Japanese is an agglutinative language, open syllable language, vowel superiority language, and one clause is often long.

For the reasons above, when writing Japanese with EPSEMS, the length of the stenography letters are often longer than the case of writing English.

As for English stenography for writing English as a global language, it is expected that it will be equipped with a vowel indication method that is easy to understand and handle for people other than native.

For that purpose, EPSEMS is designed to be able to write English vowels naturally and rationally.

The categorization of English vowels is properly done.

To make it easier for non-native speakers to read not only vowels but also consonants, EPSEMS has basic letters structure of theoretical and phonetic.

It is designed to be sufficiently usable even only with basic letters.

By the way, basically, in today’s many stenography systems, each words are written as we pronounce like phonetic signs.

In EPSEMS, the vowel letters are written in straight lines and logically categorized into A group, I group, and U group for each related sound.

Within the same group, the same shape of letter is used, and each letters are distinguished only by the difference in length.

And in EPSEMS, in order to distinguish unvoiced sound and voiced sound in consonants, it is expressed by the difference in the end shape of the stroke.

In many Japanese geometric stenography systems, the indication of voiced sound has been done in an ambiguous way such as adding dot to unvoiced sound letters or changing thickness of unvoiced sound letters.

However, especially in today, there are many Japanese language from foreign languages, mainly English.

Considering unreadable words from the context, it is desirable that even voiced sound can be written with one stroke as in EPSEMS.

In the stenography systems requiring reproducibility of speech, it is desirable to be able to read as much as possible even when the letters are distorted.

Furthermore, it is desirable to indicate similar sounds with similar letters in not only consonants but also vowels.

Let me show you concrete examples of English stenography letters.

In the beginning, it is the Latin alphabet vowels “a, e, i, o, u”.

We call “a and o” as related sound “group A”, and use the straight line of the upper right direction.

The length of “a” is 1 unit, the length of “o” is 2 units.

We call “i and e” as related sound “group I”, and use the straight line of the horizontal direction.

The length of “i” is 1 unit, the length of “e” is 2 units.

“U” uses a straight line with an intermediate angle between “group A” and “group I”, and is called “group U”.

The length of “u” is 2 units, the length of “[ʌ]” is 1 unit.

So like this, “cat”, “dog”, “knit”, “net”. “luck”, “look”.

In order to express phonetic sign of the same shape as colon(:), add a dot to the immediate right of the end of the vowel letters.

The stenography letter “[a:]” is used for “[ai]”.

And “[a:]” is expressed in a different way.

“Eat” begins writing “t” from the dot position, unlike “it”.

There are other vowel variations, but the description is omitted.

As mentioned above, vowel letters are expressed by lines that tend to rise, such as upper right direction and horizontal direction.

In contrast, consonant letters are expressed by lines that tend to descend, such as lower left direction.

Here, I will talk about correspondence between unvoiced sound like “t” and voiced sound like “d”.

For example, “t” is expressed by a straight line of lower left direction.

“d” is expressed by changing the end shape of the stroke of “t” in a hook-like manner.

And “b” is expressed by attaching a small circle to the end of the stroke of “p”.

I omit the description of other consonants here.

The following is a brief explanation of EPSEMS.

It’s like this, “an”, “cat”, “on”, “dog”.

Although there are convenient letters that express English sounds including double consonant letters and triple consonant letters, we can write English well with even only the basic letters.

The following are just a few examples of the EPSEMS abbreviations.

In addition to that, various abbreviated letters are prepared for frequent words in English.

However, it will be more comfortable and smooth as stenography by using dozens of carefully selected ones among them.

The following is the lyrics of “Moon River” written using a very basic EPSEMS abbreviations.

Next, it shows what was written in advanced, high speed style.

Can you see the difference with basic style?

I will explain about the consonant omission from now.

By starting the writing of the vowel letters from a position slightly higher than the ordinary writing line, consonant “s” that appears just before is omitted.

By starting the writing of the vowel letters from a position slightly lower than the ordinary writing line, consonant “m” that appears just before is omitted.

Also, there are ways to completely omit consonant letters such as “h, n”.

In addition, methods for faster writing by changing the shape of consonant letters are prepared for several sounds.

Here, please take a look at some of the EPSEMS shorthand samples.

This is Japanese.

This is English written as “Merry Christmas”.

This is Japanese written as “Shu-ha-ri”.

This is Japanese, too.

This is Japanese written as “En-ri-e-do-gon-gu-jou-do”.

This is English and Japanese, mixed with longhand and shorthand.

This is lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song “The times they are a changin’ “, and is written in English and Japanese.

These are the sayings of John Lennon and Michael Jordan, and is written in English and Japanese, too.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to those who took care of me.

I appreciate many stenography inventors and other stenography person concerned.

It is especially thanks to the books written by Mr. Tsuguo Kaneko that I was able to learn a lot of knowledge of stenography when I had less information.

After that, I have been received many suggestions and teachings from him.

Moreover, I thank my beloved parents, brother and two sisters, my wife, son and daughter, all my family who have always watched me and supported over.

Thank you so much for your time and attention. (THE END)

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