Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Some Parks





Some people go on a pub crawl, but we like to do that with parks. You only crawl when you can barely make it to the next establishment, so I think our journeys need another name, maybe Park Perambulation is better. Many London parks are large enough to provide sufficient interest for a whole day’s visit. We have had many days of very hot weather lately and as it has only* just now become a little cooler, we decided to go to a very small park to see what was there, intrigued by the name on the map, Telegraph Hill Park, in Nunhead, South London. It is on a 50 metre high hill overlooking the city. It is the location of a former telegraphic semaphore station built in 1795 and the notice board describes it as “one of a line of stations linking the Admiralty in Whitehall with Deal and Portsmouth and providing the Navy with a fast means of communication in times of war.” By 1847 it had fallen into disuse and the exact spot is now a small tennis court. Views over the city can be seen through the gaps between the trees and beyond the rooftops of the suburban terraced houses. Its former name was Plow’d Garlic Hill, reflecting the area’s past use for agriculture* and market gardens.

"as it has only" This could also read "as it IS only" so care needed in reading back. It is safer where that is the only possible word e.g. "it has been"

* "agriculture" Optional contraction


View from Upper Telegraph Hill Park

We continued down and across the road to Lower Telegraph Hill Park, a similar area with mature trees, grassy slopes, pond and playground. The children’s slide in the photo was quite interesting. They have to toil up a steep mound* and approach the little gateway at the back. After their brief* but worthwhile* exertion, they have the fun of zooming fast and effortlessly down the smooth steel channel which goes between dense shrubs on either side. It has a bend in it which serves to slow down the descent slightly for a safer landing, but no doubt* also provides extra excitement. Just like the shorthand student, successful high speed is the certain result of conquering* the initial uphill struggle. As these green spaces are quite small, we decided to continue our park perambulation and go on to Southwark* Park not too far away, very much larger and promising much more* to see. We took the short train ride to Surrey Quays station and the park entrance was only a minute’s walk away.

* "mound" Same outline as "mount", which has a similar meaning, so if necessary add a T or D in the margin to remind yourself which it is.

* "brief" Always insert the vowel, so it is not misread as "number of"

* "worthwhile" Optional contraction that omits the TH

* "no doubt" Advisable to always insert the vowel in "no", so it is not misread as "any doubt", this applies to many phrases with "no/any"

* "conquering" Helpful to insert the first vowel, as this is similar to "ignoring" which has opposite meaning

* Omission phrase "much m(ore)"

* "Southwark" The W is silent = suthark with a "thee" sound (as in southern)



Southwark Park is a large Victorian park with a lake in the centre. The breezy morning had turned into calm hot sunny* weather and we were glad that the paths were shaded by large spreading trees. The flat grassy areas were dotted with lots of crows, mostly congregating near the groups of people sitting around on the green
*. In the plant beds behind the lakeside railings were groups of pigeons all settled and resting, having pressed themselves down into the warm dusty soil and stones, flopping their wings down and many with shut or half shut eyes. As pigeons are bolder around people than crows are, one would assume that they have fed reasonably well and were now enjoying lazing and snoozing, while the crows were still hesitating and hovering out on the green*. However, the pigeons always have an eye on their surroundings, even if it is intermittent between naps, in case more offerings start appearing nearby, and they will all be refreshed and ready to move quite quickly at around the human* lunch hour.

* "sunny" Always insert the vowels, compare "snow/y", although unlikely to be misread in this context

* "on the green" Insert vowel, as it could look like "on the ground"

* "human" Above the line, following the second vowel, with "humane" on the line as normal


ZZZZZZZ ...




At the far end of the lake is a delightful semicircular formal garden, with large tall bedding in hot colours, and grapevine covered pergolas, at the end of which there are glimpses of the lake beyond. In the middle of the lake is a large metal sculpture of three leaping dolphins, somewhat incongruous in an English landscape* but very graceful nonetheless and its steely* grey colour blending in well with all the greens of the water, reflections and trees. Further along the park we came to the bowling green, surrounded by a shoulder high hedge, and within is a perfect square of short grass, with not a weed, dandelion or creeping buttercup in sight. A couple of unhurried games were in progress, with others sitting and watching the leisurely proceedings. Next to the bowling green is a marble drinking fountain, a curiosity to us and maybe a convenience on a hot day, although this one is not working, but it was a necessity in Victorian times when the poor of the area did not all have easy access to clean drinking water. Further on is the bandstand*, a large ornate structure, which is a replica of the original one.

* "landscape" It is the L that is in position above the line, so it does not matter where the P stroke ends up

* "steely" Insert the last vowel, as "steel" would also make sense, this is a sensible precaution for all adjectives that end in "-y"

* "bandstand" Optional contraction, the normal outline is written in two parts



   

We left the park, crossed the very busy road, and continued through another park. Maybe it was a park crawl after all! This was King’s Stairs Park, a small green open space with official “village green” status, with trees, grassy slopes and a playground partly enclosed in a low hedge. At the top of the slope we found ourselves at the riverside. It was high tide, so the river looked much wider and brighter, and the coffee coloured water was slopping around just a short way beneath the wall. To the left we could see many of the large buildings of central London in the distance, and to the right the old wharf buildings which are now residential apartments.


Edge of King's Stairs Park and River Thames


Finally we walked through the narrow back streets of Rotherhithe, past more of the old wharves converted to dwellings but retaining the historical exterior fitments such as cranes, chains and other unidentified ironwork. Built into the old pub wall was a milestone that said “London Bridge 2 miles” but we would be going home in the opposite direction. The train station was nearby and we returned the easy and comfortable way, avoiding* the traffic and noise of the suburban roads. Pleasant as the parks are, we appreciate coming back to our own small scale* back garden park, with lawn and roses, and private fishpond, no dolphins but a crowd of eager fishes awaiting their next meal. (1003 words)

* "avoiding" Always insert the diphthong, so it is not misread as "evading" which is similar in outline and meaning

* "scale" The circle S is written clockwise to keep the motion after the L, the outline on its own has normal anticlockwise circle S


The Mayflower in Rotherhithe Street

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

* Omission phrase "time (and) effort"


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

"they did not" Should not be phrased, as you would not know whether it was "do not" or "did not". Inserting the vowel would not help, as that would then be the apostrophied version "didn't".

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

* "at all times" Halving to represent the T of "times"

* 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 www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/phrasing4-omission.htm#OmittingConsonant 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 www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/phrasing5-omission.htm 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"