By Wouter Zwijnenburg

Sono Wouter Zwijnenburg, stenografo del parlamento olandese.Vi presento la Stanza della Lingua (de Taalkamer) del nostro Ufficio di Resocontazione e le misure per stabilire un’unità d’uso della lingua nei resoconti integrali dei dibattiti.

La nostra soluzione è la sezione domande/risposte della rete intranet e la lista delle parole. Quest’ultima è disponibile per tutti i resocontisti, ha una semplice opzione di ricerca ed è costantemente aggiornata dai colleghi. I membri della Stanza della Lingua decidono i concetti o lo status permanente di ogni parola aggiunta.

Di recente è stata prodotta una versione revisionata delle linee guida dell’Ufficio di Resocontazione olandese, che tiene conto dell’uso corrente della lingua scritta e orale.

Inoltre, l’Ufficio ha sviluppato app e dispositivi per diffondere la pratica parlamentare al pubblico tramite testi, immagini e video in diretta e in differita.

Oltre a produrre sottotitoli, scriviamo testi leggibili e utili per la futura pratica giudiziaria, rimanendo fedeli allo stile e al linguaggio originale e mantenendo aggiornato l’uso della lingua.

Questo intervento può essere ulteriore spunto di dibattito sul tema.

My name is Wouter Zwijnenburg, for already 36 years I am a stenographer in the Dutch House of Representatives and Senate.

I will be giving a short presentation about The Language Room, a subdivision of the Dutch Parliamentary Reporting Office, and its constant struggle to reach some form of unity in the use of language in the reports of the Dutch Parliament.

On a regular parliamentary day it is not unusual that thirty co-workers work on the verbatim report of the parliamentary proceedings. And those employees all have their own opinion about language and the role of the Reporting Office. And they all have their own linguistic hobbyhorses.

We all have our particular thoughts about language and about what is right and what is wrong.

But because we don’t want a report in which you can easily recognize the moment another reporter is taking her turn, we need some authority to guide us, like in real life.

Enter The Language Room, de Taalkamer. Five colleagues striving for the best possible verbatim report. And some form of unity in the use of language in the Dutch parliament.

How? By our own corner on the intranet site, with a question/answer facility

And our list of words. Available for everyone working in the parliament building. The list has an easy search option en at this moment contains some 5.200 words. Growing every week. Every colleague can add words to the list. The members of The Language Room decide on the concept or permanent status of the added word. What kind of words? Foreign names and places, organizations, laws, sayings, etc.

But writing down the names and words in the same way is of course only a first step. We definitely need more to reach unity.

With some pride The Language Room recently produced a new thoroughly revised version of the Dutch Reporting Office guidelines. The Language Room constantly monitors the way its own language guidelines connect to the changing oral and written linguistic usage. And decided a year ago that the guide did no longer do justice to the changing practice.

Things change. The way the report is used is changing, as well as the audience. For instance, the new generation is much more into images then into text. That’s why the Dutch Parliamentary Reporting Office invested in apps and devices to disclose the parliamentary practice to the public.

Nowadays, everyone can watch a debate via the app DebateDirect. And everyone who missed a debate can watch it via MissedDebate. Those are subtitled by the verbatim report. The subtitles are added within 36 hours. By doing this, everyone who watches a debate on MissedDebate has an insight in our work. They hear the words and can see what we’ve done to them.

This limits of course our freedom to alter words and sentences. Much more than in the good old days we have to be able to justify all our interventions in parliamentary speeches.

Nevertheless, providing subtitles is not our major business. We still have to produce texts that are readable and of use for future investigation and for the judicial practice.

So yes, we really needed a new guide.

It contains rules and recommendations about:

  • spelling
  • what do we record, what do we omit from the report
  • style
  • punctuation
  • capital/small letters
  • numbers in digits or letters
  • compounds with or without other languages
  • the particular nature of political speech
  • and so on, and so on

In the guide the rule ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ has a more prominent place than before. No more remarks like ‘I changed the sentence, because I think it’s better this way’ or ‘my tutor once told me’. No, we write down what is said in a readable form/shape. That means that we will remove stopgaps/fillers like ‘you know’, that we will sometimes replace subordinate clauses, that we will cut sentences in two, et cetera. But when a minister uses the word ‘extraordinary’ in every two sentences, he will do the same in the report.


The tendency is:


We know it better, so we change your words


We know it better, but you said it like this


We must not forget an important role of the parliament in the devopment of speech and language. Lots of new expressions and words are born in the parliament. We have to suppress our relentless urge for correctness and allow new expressions and words to see daylight. However ugly they are in our views.

An example: to communicate. It was only used in this way: to communicate with someone about something. A few years ago people started to use phrases like this one: we communicated this. Wrong, the stenographers said, and changed it into something like: we have spoken about this. But the use of ‘to communicate’ in this way soon became more usual. So at a certain moment we have to decide that we no longer change it. In this process The Language Room plays a role, together with the Quality Division.

Again, new words and new ways of saying things are emerging every day. Some as a flash in the pan, some here to stay.

And: parliamentary speech reflects and influences media and daily life liguistic usage.

We are not writing essays, we are writing the verbatim report.

Will this reduce our beautiful job to that of a typist? This fear is quite often expressed, but unnecessary. Dutch politicians are not always gifted speakers. And I think it will not be very different in other parliaments. There is still a lot of work to be done in the ‘translation’ from spoken word to readable sentences on screen or on paper. Our job might even be more difficult, now our almost limitless editing freedom has ended.

By providing guidelines and encouraging discussion The Language Room tries to keep the work of the Dutch Reporting Office and the views on correct usage up-to-date. It would be great when we can exchange ideas and practices. In what way reporting is changing in your own parliament? How do you strive for unity in reporting? Do you correct unintentional mistakes of a speaker? Do you record incomplete sentences or do you reformulate them into complete ones? Etc.

Different degrees of the sufficient handwriting quality between longhand and stenography

Hans Treschwig –– Presentation „Different degrees of the sufficient handwriting quality between longhand and stenography“ on July 25th, 2017 in Berlin at the conference during the Intersteno world congress 2017

By Hans Treschwig, Sankt Augustin (Germany)

La scrittura a mano (per esteso e stenografia) richiede una sufficiente qualità grafica per essere leggibile. A parità di grado di leggibilità, la stenografia necessita di maggiore disciplina grafica rispetto alla scrittura per esteso.
Questo è stato dimostrato da un’indagine che ha messo a confronto il sistema di scrittura corsiva latina (scrittura per esteso) e la stenografia unificata tedesca (standard stenografico).
Dal punto di vista matematico, si applicano il principio di proporzionalità e due parametri: il numero di elementi grafici del sistema di scrittura e il volume della sostanza grafica di questi elementi.
Per il primo parametro, la stenografia tedesca (157 segni) rispetto alla scrittura per esteso (59 lettere) necessita di una precisione maggiore di un fattore di 2,66.
Per il secondo parametro, si conta il numero di tratti che richiede ciascun segno: la scrittura per esteso ha una sostanza grafica di 3,45 volte maggiore rispetto alla stenografia tedesca.
Sommando 2,66 a 3,45, si ottiene che per ottenere lo stesso grado di leggibilità, la stenografia tedesca rispetto alla scrittura corsiva latina necessita di una precisione maggiore di un fattore 6.
Handwriting, both longhand and stenography, is based on a norm of its graphic elements. In reality, however, deviation from the norm is the norm. The higher the deviation the more doubtful the correct and economic readability of the written text may get. So for a reliable readability, a sufficient degree of handwriting quality is indispensable.
But there is a difference between longhand and stenography: Stenography, as generally known, clearly needs more graphic discipline than longhand.
This presentation
1. points out the causes of this difference and
2. establishes a quantitative statement for a numerical description of the difference.
Why doesthe requirement on handwriting quality differbetweenlonghand and stenography?

The answer to this question can be derived from two criteria:

  1. from the different number of phonologically or morphologically relevant graphic elements of both writing systems,
  2. from the different extent of the graphic substances of texts written in both writing systems.

In this conclusion, the following the following logical elements are hidden:

  1. The more graphic elements a writing system has, the more similarities among them result; in other words: the more graphic elements, the more the distinctivity of the elements is challenged and the distinctive distances between the them become smaller; or yet in other words: the more graphic elements, the more probable a non-precise handwriting raises the risk of word confusions or unreadability.
  2. The more voluminous the graphic substance of theelements is, the more graphic distinguishing marks can be put at it. Reversely expressed: The poorer the substance of the elements is, the less graphic distinguishing marks can be used by the writing system to guarantee sufficient distinctivity.


The three premiseson aim and objects of the investigation.

Before going into details, three premises are put forward:

  1. A comparing statement about longhand and stenography only makes sense if we assume matching degrees of readabilityfor the concrete application of both writing systems. That is, a text has to be readable completely, correctly and in a speed of 60 syllables/min. One could as well choose a higher speed;that, however, should be applied for both,longhand and stenography.
  2. Regarding the number of graphic elements and the extent of the graphic substance, I choose the Latin cursive handwriting systemas the longhand standard. It is used in many countries in the world. That being said, I donot choose the unconnected block-letter-system which nowadays is taught in many primary schools as the handwriting system for regular use. In my opinion,education leaderstook the wrong track here; I hope, they recognize this fact as soon as possible and reverse it.
  3. Regarding the same two parameters, I choose “Deutsche Einheitskurzschrift” (DEK; German unified stenography),with its official version from 1. August 1968 applied in Germany and Austria, as stenography standard.More specifically, I limit my investigation to its basic standard called “Verkehrsschrift” (correspondence style).


A mathematical process to derive a comparison factor on the realization degree of the graphic norm for both longhand and stenography

Both criteria named above, the number of relevant elements as well as the extent of graphic substance of a text, can be measured. So, they can be operationalized fairly comfortably.

From a mathematical point of view, the minimum realization degree of the graphic norm, on the one hand, proportionally depends on the number of elements of the writing system; on the other hand, it reciprocally depends on the extent of graphic substance of these elements. To allow room for error, I limit the intuitive proportionality and refer to it as “principally proportional” as well as “principally reciprocal”. I do this because one could argue that between longhand and stenography there may be small differences in the frequency distributions of graphic elements; this fact could lead to minor chances in proportionality and inverse proportionality.

This assumption of proportionality now needs to be applied on the comparison between longhand and stenography.

The German alphabet as used in the Latin cursive handwriting system comprises 26 basic letters in addition to 3 vowel mutations as well as the letter “ß” (Eszett). That makes a total of 30 lower case letters. The basic letters and vowel mutations also exist in an upper case letter version, totalling 29 upper case letters. The grand total is 59 letters.

The equivalent to the stock of letters in longhand also exists in stenography, called signs. Deviating from the wording in the standard, I include the representation of vowels in the stock of signs, too. I do not include, however, elements that do not have equivalents in longhand, e. g., the hook. Neither do I include the “vowel-y” due to the fact that it is also used as a consonant and counted as such. For counting purposes, one has to account for the fact that the signs l, s, ss/Eszett exist in two rotational variants. Their shape is the same, independent of the rotation direction. Yet, in connecting with neighbouring signs, i. e., in their individual perception that look different; thus, in accordance with their alternative rotations, one has to count them double.

So, DEK – not incorporating short forms (“Kürzel”) – includes 57 consonant signs, 3 alternative variants of  l, s, ss/Eszett, 12 vowel signs, 12 representations of vowels and 5 signs for syllables, which makes a total of 89 basic signs. What’s more, a relatively high number of signs must be added that is part of the short form list of Verkehrsschrift, if and only if they differ from the 89 basic signs in shape or position. The number of these signs is 68. That makes a grand total of 157 signs or elements, resp.

This total of 157 elements in basic stenography is now divided by the total of 59 elements in longhand. That brings us to an interesting interim finding: To rely on a comparable readability, DEK-Verkehrsschrift compared to longhand needs a higher precision by factor 2.66 only due to its more numerous element stock.

Now, let’s turn to the second parameter: the magnitude of signs’ graphic substance. To measure that, one chooses the number of strokes each sign requires. The number of strokes include upstrokes, downstrokes, flatstrokes, dots. Some strokes are counted twofold because of their special shape. Stroke counting can be compared analogously in longhand and stenography because the latter practically uses components of the Latin handwriting system.

With the intention of establish a solid representative lingual survey, I have selected ten sentences. I used a mechanism of coincidence to select a text length of 336 syllables from different text sources, text types and topical or specialist fields. I wrote each sentence in both, in DEK-stenography and Latin cursive writing in full accordance to the norms. Then, I counted the strokes for each variant. Finally, I divided these totals reciprocally, given the inverse relationship, i. e., I divided the total number of strokes in longhand by the total of stenography. The result is shown as a table (the figures in brackets are standardized to a text volume of 100 syllables):


sentence no. number of syllables Total of writing strokes in Ratio longhand vs. stenography
stenography (DEK-Verkehrsschrift) longhand (Latin cursive writing system)
1 30 82 (273) 283 (943) 3.45
2 42 125 (298) 321 (764) 2.57
3 32 80 (250) 300 (938) 3.75
4 29 85 (293) 277 (955) 3.26
5 34 78 (229) 332 (976) 4.26
6 25 73 (292) 294 (1176) 4.03
7 45 118 (262) 462 (1027) 3.92
8 25 77 (308) 282 (1128) 3.66
9 41 111 (271) 272 (663) 2.45
10 33 89 (270) 343 (1039) 3.85
Total→ 336 918 (273) 3166 (942) 3.45


As the data shows, the extent to graphic substance of DEK-stenography compared to Latin cursive writing is the inverse of 3.45; in other words, Latin cursive writing has 3.45 times more graphic substance than DEK-stenography. So, only based on the extent of graphical substance, basic DEK-stenography is 3.45 times more sensitive than Latin cursive writing.

Given that both parameters work together, one must add both statistics: 2.66 + 3.45 = 6.11. The decimals can be disregarded easily because an approximation is sufficient. The approximation is even more warranted given the aforementioned small limitation of proportionality.


The comparison statistic is found

Thus, the finding of this analysis is: Assuming comparable and adequate readability (complete, correct, economically justifiable reading speed of 60 syllables per minute), handwriting in DEK-stenography needs a discipline in precision that is greater than that of Latin cursive writing by factor 6.

I assume that this type of comparison statistic has not been calculated and published before.

Three final remarks:

  1. In my opinion, the comparison factor 6 can be of great use to inform new learners of stenography. It transfers a raw perspective on how more important it is in stenography than in longhand to write precisely.
  2. Naturally, the comparison factor raises even further when higher levels of stenography (typically called “Schnellschrift”/fast writing) are considered. Here, the stock of signs grows and the graphic substance decreases.
  3. I would like to make a suggesting to the auditorium. I would be pleased if international stenographers that use other stenographic systems also calculate the specific comparison statistics and report at the next Intersteno Congress. ■

“Stenographic civilization” Effect of German cursive theory to Japanese,Chinese,Korean and Indonesian” And J.A.Schumpeter’s Stenography

Tsuguo Kaneko (Japan)
Sono Tsuguo Kaneko dal Giappone e il mio intervento sulla civiltà stenografica verterà intorno a quattro temi: il carattere e la lettera sono nati dopo la lingua orale; la tachigrafia è nata come prova dell’oralità; il risultato della stenografia moderna è la teoria corsiva; la stenografia di Schumpeter.
Ai tempi dei geroglifici forme stenografiche coesistevano con le lettere antiche.
Il rinascimento stenografico con la “Characterie” di Bright nel 1588 fu seguito dalla teoria geometrica.
A fine 700 nacque la scuola corsiva in Inghilterra, completata in Germania con Gabelsberger nel 1834 e diffusa alle lingue agglutinanti SOV dall’Eurasia all’Asia, prima in Giappone con Ohba e poi in Cina con Ting Chao e YaWei.
Hirano sviluppò il sistema EPSEMS per il giapponese e l’inglese e Wen sviluppò il sistema stenografico corsivo cinese, la “Stenografia sintetica”.
Ting Chao e Se Ryan svilupparono il sistema stenografico corsivo coreano, seguito da quello indonesiano Groote.
Oggi il termine “speech-to-text technology” racchiude i sistemi di scrittura veloce.
Io ho decifrato il manoscritto stenografico e il promemoria di Joseph Allois Schumpeter, ora disponibile in PDF.
My name is Tsuguo Kaneko from Japan. Today, I am going to report on stenographic civilization.
My plan consisted of four topics. First, character and letter was born after spoken language. Visual language was invented for two purposes. The purpose of one was to produce the spoken evidence. The other was the symbol of power. Second, Tachygraphy was invented for produce evidence of spoken fact. Third, modern stenographic result obtained cursive theory and completed in Germany. Cursive theory translated to foreign languages. In the beginning, it was in Europe and spread to Ural language. Then, it translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean language. And triple jumping, from Germany, Holland and reached to Indonesia. Fourth, I would like to report Schumpeter’s stenography.
This is my idea of the chronology of stenographic civilization.

Ancient times, mankind invented Hieroglyph. Chinese character changed gradually complex style. Slowly, hieroglyph was changing into flowing style. Japanese cursive Kana took similar procedure. Hieratic and demotic were gradually derived form from hieroglyph. We can find stenographic phenomenon in hieroglyph.

This slide shows ancient Tironian note. Stenography in ancient times co-existed with letter. Tironian note is one of the intangible cultural assets in the world. The ancient letters resemble Tironian note very much.

Second period was stenographic renaissance. “Characterie” by Timothe Bright in 1588 was a revival of such ancient Tachygraphy. Strange to say, Bright’s alphabet resembles Phoenician alphabet.


Stenography is defined as one of speech to text methods under the comprehensive concept of letter and character.

After stenographic renaissance, geometric theory was developed at first in Line-writing stenography in which straight lines and arcs adopted as basic signs.

In stenography, geometric theory has achieved high performance to code word spelling. But, challengers to write naturally aimed cursive theory. Cursive school has its origin in England and German completed cursive theory finally.

The first cursive theory was observed in the book by Simon Bordley in 1787.In 1802, Richard Roe developed clearly cursive script in his publication.

Franz Xaver Gabelsberger established cursive concept in his original system. As well as geometric system, Gabelsberger achieved high speed writing by his cursive system, and his verbatim style was released in 1834.

German cursive theory was handed down in German speaking world in the beginning. Second, it spread to the same descent countries. Then it spread to the other descent, for example Ural language. After all, it gradually to exotic countries by the triple jumping. German cursive theory applied to agglutinative language and SOV word order languages. Gabelsberger-Markovits system for Hungarian / Magyar was developed by Ivan Markovits in 1841. Nevanlinna adopted Gabelsberger theory for Finnish in 1872.

If Leonardo da Vinci had known stenography, what stenography would he have invented? He seems to like vertical line very much.

German cursive was introduced to the eastern part of Eurasia. Asian and far east Asian languages are quite different from European language. Western stenographic civilization gave much impact to Asia. For example, Pen writing motion order, concept of phonetics and so on.

The former, writing order column that is “up to down” and “left to right” standard made perfectly changed Japanese style to Western style now.

A viscount Mohri developed the first Japanese cursive “Mohri system” based on Faulmann system in 1919 after 30 years passed from start. A parliament reporter wrote this script. Mohri designed consonants and vowels mainly by line strokes. Also he created the method to reduce the load to write vowels.

“Intersteno” is another value which is the artificial letter for speed writing by Kunovski. Some Japaneses, who are Esperantists, tried to adopt its theory for Japanese. Itaru Ohba challenged to design “Instersteno” to Japanese in 1931. This was the first try.

Cursive Portuguese version of Stloze was applied to Japanese by J.A. Degen in 1930.

Prof. Yan Ting Chao is the father of cursive system in China. He contributed much for Chinese stenography as well as prof. Tang YaWei. They respectively developed the first Chinese cursive systems in 1952. Being influenced from Russian GESS, Sakalof system.

Mr. Akihito Hirano, he mastered several Japanese stenography systems as following  Waseda, Nakane, Ishimura, and Morita system. Then Gregg, Pitman, Takusari76, V systems. And now he developed a new EPSEMS system for Japanese and English. Hirano is a genius in stenography.

The first Chinese stenography system was geometric system in 1896. The old gentleman, in the front row, second person from the right is Mr. Cai Zhang. He was the second son of the inventor of Chinese stenography, Cai Xi Yong.

GESS was the unified system in Soviet. As DEK was based on Gabelsberger. GESS was developed on the basis of the Sokolov system.

fter ending the Pacific War, Russian stenography introduced to China. Next year, prof. Yan Ting Chao and prof. Tang Ya Wei respectively developed the first Chinese cursive systems and released in the journal of 1952.

The joint study to develop new theory made a fruit in “3 Y system” by prof. Yan Ting Chao, prof. Yawei and prof. Yan De Qin.

Prof. Yan Ting Chao developed “Renmin Xin Suji Fangen”. Yan designed basic alphabet based on phonetics of Chenese as phoneme unit. Also he took the method in symbolizing vowels by strokes, longer and shorter strokes and small circles.

Prof. Tang Ya Wei also developed “Gon Nong Hua Suji Fangan”.

Prof. Yan Ting Chao compared early three systems. Tang means Prof. Tang Ya Wei. And Laozu means cursive Chinese Stenography system.

This is the basic alphabet named “Synthetic stenography” by Su Wen. In this system Su designed cursive and half cursive mixed.

Korea is the only one country that succeeded to enforce and firmly established the artificial phonogram Hangul in the world.

A Chinese professor Yan Ting Chao developed cursive Korean stenography system with Om Se Ryan who lived in the Self-governing Korean of China.

Stenographic civilization flows in the world, like as this slide.

While colonial period, Groote system was introduced to Indonesia. It stimulated to develop stenography for Indonesian. “Grenderen system” seems to be most early one. In 1968, The government authorized “Karundeng system” as the standard stenography in Indonesia.

Tachygraphy, stenography, steno CAT, CART, concept is still changing. Today we call it speech to text technology.In this figure by Birgit Nofts many expressions exist.

1981 Intersteno congress gave me a chance to meet Mr. Steno Lion, the former Manfred Kehrer. Several years later, Dr. Shin-Ichi Uraki requested me to decipher the stenographic manuscript and memorandum written by Joseph Allois Schumpeter. I wrote two letters to East and West Germany. Mr. Kehrer introduced me Mr. Heym. Everything went well. Uraki completed his work and published a book. And all of data of Schumpeter’s manuscript and steno memo was given to me. Completing to digitalize all steno data in PDF. This is a sample of Schumpeter’s steno script in his work. You can get a DVD from me now. Today I brought some DVD copies. I hope you would study his work now.

Thank you very much for listening my report.                Tsuguo.kaneko(at)gmail.com



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)

The Shorthand for Music and Dance – The written remains

By Jorge Bravo, Azat Ambartsoumian and Diana Campi

Generalmente si ritiene che l’uso della stenografia sia rivolto soltanto alla registrazione degli interventi in parlamento o delle tetimonianze in tribunale, ma ve ne sono molteplici applicazioni, enfatizzate nella letteratura classica e dal premio Nobel Ostrom.

Vi sono inoltre sistemi stenografici che registrano i suoni e i movimenti.

I sistemi stenografici della musica furono sviluppati nell’800 e 900 in Europa e nelle Americhe: Jean Kutahialian parlò per primo di stenografia della musica e agli inizi del 900 Angel Menchaca in Argentina creò un sistema di annotazione musicale.

Esiste anche la stenografia della danza: fu sviluppata dalle antiche civiltà in India, Egitto e Grecia e standardizzata tramite lettere e simboli astratti dei movimenti della danza classica nel 400-500 in Italia, Francia e Spagna. Seguirono ulteriori perfezionamenti del sistema fino al 900 e attualmente se ne utilizzano quattro:

  • Annotazione di Laban
  • Annotation di Conte
  • Annotation di Benesh
  • Annotation di Wachmann

Dagli anni 80, tutti i sistemi di annotazione importanti si sono evoluti in software.

Mentre oggi la stenografia della musica non si usa più, quella della danza è ancora in uso.

First of all, we would like to thank you for the opportunity of speaking at this Intersteno Congress, one of the most important meeting of professionals in the use of words, held in this beautiful city of Berlin, in Germany, a country with a rich tradition in the art of shorthand writing and home to Franz Gabelsberger, creator of the great Gabelsberger shorthand system.

This presentation, as well as that held 4 years ago in Ghent, takes place the same year that Intersteno president, Fausto Ramondelli, has made a trip to Argentina. The first time there he visited the Special Collections section of the Library of the National Congress, which includes the Palant Collection, composed of books and magazines about shorthand from all over the world. His visit prompted us to start a project for microfilming and digitalizing all books and magazines on the subject, which is in accordance to new Argentine regulations.

As we always say in our radio program “Palabras Dibujadas (“Drawn Words”) – in which we talk about Shorthand and the profession of stenographers- we want remember here the words pronounced by Caius Titus at the Roman Senate: “Verba volant, scripta manent”, meaning “words fly, writing remains.” A very significant statement, isn’t it? Because it points straight to the importance of shorthand.

In general, when we think about the use of shorthand, we think almost exclusively of its use for recording speeches in parliaments or testimonies in court procedures. But there are more areas of application for stenography. In fact, we can mention the importance that it had in classic literature. We’ll mention some cases, although there are many. Charles Dickens, for example, who in his autobiographical book “David Copperfield” recounts his difficulties in learning shorthand and writing rapidly, regardless of what he later became a parliamentary and judicial stenographer. Or Fedor Dostoevsky, who used the shorthand – through his secretary and future wife, Ana Grigorievna – to write some of his works, as “The Player”, in just 26 days. And it would be possible to mention many other intellectuals who also used shorthand or who emphasized their importance, such as Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw, Spencer, Newton or Mrs. Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009.

I repeat: “The writing remains”. Thanks to the creative genius of some, shorthand has helped not only words to remain in writing. We say this because there have been shorthand systems used not to record words but to record sounds and movements too. What do we mean by this? We’ll try to explain:

When Diana — who is here with me — Azat — who also participated in this research — and I, received Fausto Ramondelli in the Library of Congress, he was surprised with the book La sténographie de la musique (The Shorthand of Music), by Jean Kutahialian, published in Marseilles, France. In this book the author develops a shorthand system for writing music.

From there came the idea of investigating about this subject, which we did not know. And what happened during our investigation? We find that there is also a shorthand for dance, which is still used today in some countries.

Then, if you agree, we will mention some examples.

What is the purpose of musical notation for an interpreter? To serve as a guide for reading and recreating the work that the composer imagined at the time of its creation, allowing his work to transcend. Western traditional notation was born to that end.

While there were previous experiences, these systems came to prominence mostly during the late 19th century and early 20th century both in Europe and in the Americas. The fundamental idea was to replace the classic musical notation system ̶ with its scales and notes ̶ by other faster systems that could make it possible to listen and transcribe a composition even simultaneously.

There were notable proposers in Europe, such as in Spain, France, Italy and Germany. In the Americas we can mention Argentina, Mexico, Perú and Uruguay. In the case of Spain, prominent stenographer Francisco de Paula Martí also invented a system of music shorthand that was only published after his dead by his son Angel Ramon Martí in 1833. Later, in 1895, fellow Spaniard Serafín Ramón Guas y Ezcurdia published Método teórico-práctico de taquigrafía musical (Practical and Theoretical Method for Music Tachygraphy).

Going further back in history, Russeau himself was, according to some, a pioneer innovator with regards to musical notation.

In Italy we found Lodovico Roletti, with his book “Nuovo sistema de Stenografia Italiana e Francese e nuovo mecanismo per la Stenografia Musicale” (New system for Italian and French stenography and new system for musical stenography).

In France, in 1949, Jean Kutahialian published La Sténographie de la Musique (The stenography of music). There are copies of the latter two books in the Palant Collection of Shorthand Writing of the Library of the National Congress of Argentina. And in this, our country (Argentine) we found two notable authors who created systems of music shorthand: Rafael Hernandez and Angel Menchaca, who was director of stenographers at the National Senate. The systems created by them are of the chart type and have in common the use of petal-like signs instead of notes.

In one chapter from his book Cartilla Taquigráfica (Shorthand primer), published in 1892, Rafael Hernandez explains his music shorthand or True Shorthand, in which he lays the foundations for this system and claims that its purpose is to facilitate the learning of music. In his system, which is written in only two lines, the value of each note is kept.

Meanwhile Menchaca, who published four books on music notation ̶ in 1904, 1906, 1909 and 1914 ̶ said: “I intend to combine two methods of writing: one for speech and another for music, representing sounds in their most varied combinations in a simple, easy and unequivocal way”.

His system of music shorthand was known not only in Argentina, as it was also published in London and Paris. Taking advantage of his participation in the 2nd International Congress of Stenography, which took place in Paris in 1889, Angel Menchaca gave a lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris and afterwards visited the United States and other places of France, Belgium, England and Italy, where he was even decorated.

Among the main features of his system, we can name the following:

  • The use of a twelve notes alphabet.
  • The use of a single line of writing. This facilitates reading because it replaces the more than thirty positions of the traditional system by only two.
  • The division of the general scale in dozens, which makes it possible to determine the location of any note more quickly and precisely.
  • The use of fewer signs, since it suppresses the pentagram, the supplementary lines, the spaces, the seven keys, the sharp notes, the dotted octaves, the division of the bars, the ties, the double, triple and quadruple dots, the indications of the bars and almost all nomenclature related to the movements, etc.
  • The name, duration and pitch of all musical sounds are expressed in a fixed manner, without the need for independent auxiliary signs.
  • The notation is one and the same for all voices and all instruments.
  • It does away with the complex array of chromatic and diatonic intervals, major and minor, augmented, diminished, super-augmented and sub-diminished.
  • All scales of the traditional system are reduced to three series.
  • All bars are replaced by a single measure of time, the same that marks the rhythm for all movements.
  • It gives real time durations to all sounds.

Although the Menchaca system had some diffusion in Argentina and was taught in some schools, with a number of musical performances in a lyrical theatre of Buenos Aires Province, it met with opposition. Beside many supporters, the system also had its detractors.

Regardless of the level success experienced by the systems created by these different authors, our purpose was to highlight the amount of work they have developed in this area. But it doesn’t end here. In fact, there is another kind of art that makes use of shorthand for its representation. It is the shorthand for dance, which will be briefly explained below.

In the case of dance, there exist different notation systems that make it possible to write down movements and thus make them understandable for further reproducing them at any time. Although the earliest record of dance notation dates back to the ancient civilizations of India, Egypt and Greece, it was not until the 15th or 16th century that it began to be developed as a universalized system. Ballet saw the first attempts to systematize its notation and make it universal.

It was in De arte saltandi et choreas ducendi (On the Art of Dancing and Conducting Dances), in 1455, that Domenico di Ferrara, along with one of his disciples, Giuglielmo Ebreo, described the different dances by means of letters and symbols.

Thoinot Arbeau (an anagram of Jehan Tabourot) proposed in his book Orchsographie (1588) one of the earliest systematizations for describing steps and figures through letters, words and illustrations. The use of letters or verbal abbreviations, which will be found in later treatises, reflects the crystallization of a terminology derived from the oral transmission of dance, and implies the common knowledge of a specific vocabulary.

An unusual event at the time was the discovery in Cervera (Spain), in 1931, of two pages dating from the mid 15th century showing the first attempt to transcribe by means of abstract signs the horizontal and vertical movements of a dancer. Specifically designed for dance, this symbolic notation anticipated the shape of things to come.

Towards 1674, Pierre Beauchamp, conceived a notation system representing the movements on the ground and described the action of the legs in relation to the rest of the body and the music. In this way he was able to graphically describe temporal and spatial information, based on the characteristics of the human body and its symmetries and taking into account the mechanical needs of its bipedal locomotion. Thus, it began to take into account both the horizontal progression of the dance and the gestures made in the vertical plane.

Inspired by the Beauchamp system, Feuillet published in 1700 his Chorégraphie ou L’Art de décrire la dance (Choreography or the Art of Describing Dance). Fellow French dancer Jean-Georges Noverre’s observations on the importance of individual gesture in dance would be taken into account by further notation systems during the 19th century, which tried to transcribe, with increasing precision, the different body movements.

During the 19th century, Arthur Saint-Léon published the “Sténochorégraphie” (Stenochoreography, 1852) and Friedrich Albert Zorn published Grammatik der Tanzkunst (Grammar of dance, 1887). They were both based on a pictographic representation where head and body could be clearly dissociated. The duration of each movement was specified by a corresponding musical notation. August Bournonville also used a very succinct notation system of his own and in his Etudes Chorégraphiques (Choreographic studies, 1855) he acknowledged his interest in the “Sténochorégraphie”, although he criticized it as too complex.

Based in the analysis of the human body, this system was superior to the choreographic concept of dance. It was used in Russia by The Imperial School of Dance of St. Petersburg, where it played a fundamental role on the instruction of dancers. This system helped transcribe and preserve many of the works by Marius Petipa and other choreographers of the Marinski. Famous dancer Nijinsky personally used it at the beginning of the 20th century to write down all of the choreography for his ballet L’après-midi d’un faune (Afternoon of a Faun).

The advances of scientific and technical knowledge as well as research on sound, space, colour, forms and movement and the synergy between theory and creation, advances of knowledge in medicine and anatomy and the development of abstract symbolic expression allowed the development of various notation systems for movement and dance. Currently, four systems are mainly used:

  • Laban notation (1928)
  • Notation of Conte (1931)
  • Notation of Benesh (1956)
  • Notation of Wachmann (1958)

Laban developed and interpreted concepts about movement and dance. Because the whole theory would be too long to cover here, we would like to point at least some of the more relevant aspects:

“Labanotation”: is a way of remembering a set of movements by means of symbols. It establishes a technique of reliable written language for movements, dynamics, space and all the actions the body must perform.

“The icosahedron technique”: this allows studying dancers to see the points toward and from which they must move, improving their precision in performance.

The four main aspects of the movement technique are the following:

Time: it is sudden (quick) or sustained.

Weight: movement maybe strong or light. The factors of time and weight mark the dynamic quality of the movement.

Space: is related both to the way in which the movement takes place and the direction in which is done. The concept of kinesphere, the “personal space”, also belongs to this category. It is an imaginary sphere built with all the points within reach of the body at its maximum extension, keeping the feet on the ground.

Flow: this factor is present throughout the entire movement and gives the sensation of being bound or free.

Laban defines the archetypes or simplifications that he uses as “fundamental shape forms”: a straight line, an open (curved) shape, torsion (S) and rounded shape, which are derived from the basic form and the spiral shape, truer to the actual organization of the body and many forms present in nature.

Another important aspect of choreographic notation is that of copyright. In some countries, courts would only support the right of the choreographer over his work if it has been previously written down. This is a strong point in favour of all systems of notation that allows a work to be registered. We may point as well that, in some countries, audiovisual systems are not currently as safe as it is notation.

All important systems of notation have evolved into their own software, beginning in 1982 with the DOM, followed by the Shorthand dance notation, Morris dance notation, etc.

The applications are:

  • Dance Forms – dance animation software for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows
  • Expressive Character Animation – Expressive Ballet animation using Benesh Notation
  • LINTER – a UNIX and X windows for LED that generates animation via the nudes animation system
  • BALLONES – ‘Ballet Animation Language Linked Over Nudes Ellipsoid System’ a lexical computer interpreter of Classical Ballet terminology
  • Country Dance animation project – Java and XML animation – using Labanotation (development on hold).
  • Morris Dance notation uses the ABC music notation language and related software for UNIX, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows and MIDI applications.

This is a very brief synthesis of our research. Today, rather than bore you with the more technical aspects, we wanted to share with you the knowledge the existence of these systems of shorthand notation for two branches of art. Those who are interested, can contact us for more information.

In the case of Music, besides the acknowledgments, the authors were forced to make many corrections and unfortunately, in the end, we can say that musical shorthand today is no longer used.

But shorthand notation for Dance is still used, now mostly for choreography, both in Europe and America. We have contacted a choreographer who uses a shorthand notation system and we intend to continue researching on it and maybe next time we may bring someone proficient on this system to talk about it.

Finally, we would like to know whether any of these two systems had seen some kind of development in your countries. You can write to us with any information you may have to the e-mail address palabrasdibujadas@gmail.com. Thus, we will continue to build on the history, the present and the future of our profession and contribute to the growth of our beloved Federation, INTERSTENO, with research that will consolidate your work and your presence in the world.

Thank you very much for your attention!