finally, some information about Forkner Shorthand

Forkner Shorthand is a cleverly designed system, optimized for easy learning, that uses a mixture of special symbols and normal cursive letters. It enjoyed some popularity among students and teachers in North America during the second half of the 20th century because a higher percentage of students were having greater success with it than with Gregg or Pitman.

Details about the significance and inner workings of Forkner were strangely absent from the Internet until the past few months. Now the veil has been lifted!

demonstration of Forkner writing principles

comments about the above image

three newspaper clippings about Forkner Shorthand

Wikipedia article

Note: If you are a polyglot Wikipedian, would you consider adding an article about Forkner to your language's Wikipedia? Spreading information brings joy.

I tip my hat to the Shorthand Forum on Reddit which helps me stay informed of these developments.


timeline of books about Teeline Shorthand

Approximately 30 books about Teeline have been published in the past 46 years. As far as I have been able to determine, this is significantly higher than the number of textbooks produced in English for any other shorthand writing system during the same time period. Correction: McGraw-Hill published a similar number of titles about Gregg shorthand between 1978 and 1991, after which the production of new Gregg titles came screeching to a halt.

Teeline: A Method of Fast Writing
James Hill
Heinemann Educational, 1968

Basic Teeline: A Textbook of Fast Writing
James Hill & I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453319
Heinemann Educational, 1969, 1971

Practice Exercises in Basic Teeline
J. Hill & I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453335
Heinemann Educational, 1971

Basic Teeline Common Word List
I.C. Hill
ISBN 043545336X
Heinemann Educational, 1972

Advanced Teeline
James Hill & I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453343
Heinemann Educational, 1972

Practice Exercises in Advanced Teeline
I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453378
Heinemann Educational, 1973

Teeline Self-taught
Harry Butler
ISBN 0435453386
Heinemann Educational, 1975

First Teeline Workbook
I.C. Hill & M. Bowers
ISBN 0435453416
first edition: Heinemann, 1977

Teeline: a blend of basic and advanced Teeline
I.C. Hill; James Hill; P. Talbot; M.A. Tomko
Teeline Educational Services, 1977

Second Teeline Workbook
I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453424
first edition: Heinemann Educational, 1978

Teaching Teeline
I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453289
Heinemann Educational, 1979

Teeline Dictation and Drill Book
J. Hill & I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453432
Heinemann Educational, 1980

Teeline Word List
I.C. Hill
ISBN 0435453440
Heinemann Educational, 1981
reprinted with addenda in 1984, 1989

Teeline Shorthand Made Simple
Harry Butler
Made Simple Books, 1982, ISBN: 0434985007
reprints: 1991, 1997, 1999, 0750605502

German Teeline: Adapted from the System by James Hill
F. Burton & G. Meder
no ISBN?
Teeline Education Ltd., 1982

Teeline (Revised Edition)
I.C. Hill & M. Bowers
ISBN 0435453270
Heinemann Educational, 1983

First Teeline Workbook
I.C. Hill & M. Bowers
ISBN 0435453459
revised edition: Heinemann, 1983

Handbook for Teeline Teachers
Harry Butler
ISBN 0435453106
Heinemann Educational, 1983

Second Teeline Workbook
I.C. Hill & M. Bowers
ISBN 0435453467
revised edition: Heinemann, 1984

Teeline Shorthand Passages: LCC1 Examination Papers
Dorothy Bowyer
ISBN 0435453092
Heinemann Educational, 1984

Teeline yn Gymraeg [Welsh language]
Sian Tomlinson
ISBN 0947694412
CAA, 1986

Teeline Word Groupings
G. Hill & M. Bowers
ISBN 043545326
Heinemann Educational, 1987

Medical Teeline
P. Garner & P. Clare
ISBN 0435453157
Heinemann Educational, 1987

Teeline Teacher's Guide
Meriel Bowers
ISBN 0435453483
revised edition: Heinemann Educational, 1988

First Teeline Workbook
I.C. Hill & M. Bowers
second revised edition: Heineman, 1989, ISBN 0435453459

New Teeline Dictation Book
George Hill
ISBN 0435453491
Heinemann Educational, 1989

Teeline Fast
Ann Dix
ISBN 0435453521
Heinemann Educational, 1990

Teeline Gold: The Course Book
J. Clarkson, S. Hall, C. Osborne, U. Parkinson
ISBN 043545353X
Heinemann Educational, 1991

Teeline Gold Workbook
Harry Butler
ISBN 0435453548
Heinemann Educational, 1991
see it on Amazon.co.uk

Teeline Gold Speed Ladder
M. Bowers & S. Hall
ISBN 0435453556
Heinemann Educational, 1992

Teeline Gold Word List
M. Smith & A. Tilly
ISBN 0435453599
Heinemann Educational, 1992
see it on Amazon.co.uk

Teeline for Journalists
Dawn Johnston
ISBN 0435471600
Heinemann, 2006

NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists
Marie Cartwright
ISBN 0435471716 (book with CD-ROM)
Heinemann, 2009
see it on Amazon.co.uk


follow-up on Glossography

Over on Reddit's Shorthand Forum, user “rootwov” took Glossography for a test drive and posted an enlightening review of it.


terminology: orthographic vs. phonetic

Shorthand systems can be classified according to their place on the orthographic versus phonetic spectrum.

A purely orthographic system mirrors the spelling of its native language. An orthographic shorthand for English might start out with just 26 symbols to represent the letters A to Z and then add a few symbols to stand for the most common words.

A purely phonetic system writes a language based on its pronunciation with no regard for how it is spelled. In a phonetic system for English, the shorthand outlines for off, cough and staph would all end with same symbol which represents the F sound.

Some systems use a mixed approach. In Gregg Shorthand, for example, the consonant sounds are written phonetically (in general). Some of the vowels are lumped together in a way that is inspired by their most common spellings in English: the /eɪ/ diphthong of play, the /æ/ vowel in cat, the /ɑ/ of calm and the /ə/ of tuna are all written with the large circle called “a.” These phonemes have nothing in common except that they are normally written with the letter A in English.

The claims made by promoters of various shorthand systems often do not match their reality. Many stenographic scripts that claim to be purely phonetic are partly orthographic and vice versa.