Pitman Shorthand

Here are the letterforms for the other best-known modern shorthand system, Pitman Shorthand. Basing his work on Samuel Taylor’s shorthand (the first to be used throughout the English-speaking world), Sir Issac Pitman, who published his invention in 1837, created a shorthand that uses related letterforms to represent related sounds (the first to do so). For instance, voiced sounds are represented by thick strokes; unvoiced sounds by lighter strokes. Similarly, consonants shaped at the same place of articulation are all pointed in the same direction. In short (pardon the pun), Pitman’s system is phonetic and featural.  

People writing shorthand can easily achieve speeds of 60-100 words per minute… a skill useful–even in today’s computerized world–for taking notes (or if you’re trying to finish the first draft of your novel ;))


Logograms (Short Forms)



Charts: WikiCmns; Author: Xanthoxyl; CC 3.0 Unported.


  1. aubrey
    October 9, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I see a curious grace here – I somehow equate shorthand with signing. It looks to be a foreign language disguising words we speak every day.

  2. October 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Aubrey–Signing, shorthand, new alphabets–every time we create, we dig into beauty. Beauty is everywhere. At most, we have only to scratch the surface (and often not even that)… RT

  1. December 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

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