I believe one of the biggest injustices being taught by many CR schools today is that you have to come back with a second stroke for your -ing, -ed, -s, and -es endings. The schools are teaching their students that in order to write good realtime, that's what you have to do.

Well, I believe many of the best realtime writers in the nation will attest to the fact that that is just not true.

The school closest to my residence was nice enough to let me sit in on a lower speed class one night a while back. The students' hands were going slow enough that it was very easy for me to tell what they were writing. I about died when I saw them coming back for a -Z for the plural after a word ending with -T, like "cats."

I wanted to stand up and scream, "HELLO?? You have an -S right underneath that -T!!!"

But . . . I kept my cool, hoping I would be welcomed back if I ever made another visit. :)

(Wide keys factor into this discussion, but I'll leave that for later.)

If you are coming back for these endings, I suggest you try to convert over to include them with the initial stroke as soon as possible. (Yes, sometimes it's not possible to include an inflected ending in the initial stroke, but more often than not it is.) Start slow. Maybe take one ending at a time. Conquer it. Move on.

Pretty soon you'll be looking for more options. That's when you can incorporate a "tucked -G" for -ing, like "shooting" is SHAOGT. For those of you that say I can't do that because my -GT is my -th, perhaps you can throw the asterisk in with that -G, so you will never have a problem with "path" and "patting." (PAGT and PA*GT)

Then move on to the next writing principle that gives you the most bang in your endeavor to write shorter. Our bodies beg for us to write shorter. If you don't hear them begging now, I can pretty much guarantee they'll be begging not too far in the distant future.

After you start incorporating a few of these principles, pretty soon you will see a big difference in your hand speed. Guess what comes with slower hands?? More accuracy. Less shadowing. More speed.

It kind of reminds me of the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady always beats out fast and reckless.

May the slowest hands win!!


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Thanks, Tami, but I have to say (and repeat and repeat), I watched MarkK give a short informative seminar/presentation to a group of students and invitees in Philadelphia a few years ago, and that's the one thing that stuck with me: "We are, after all, SHORThand reporters."

I heard years ago that some large captioning companies stand over a reporter's shoulder, literally, and say, "Don't write it that way, write it THIS way." And, "Don't do that! Do this!" And basically force reporters to write THEIR way. While I agree that some changes should be made, it should matter less how the reporter writes and more the quality of the final product.

awwww, crap! Well, I'm just still a student in my first speed building class (80/100) and I learned the Phoenix Theory. In the majority of cases, we are taught to come back in a separate stroke for the -ing, -es, -ed, etc. endings. After reading this post, and actually thinking about it, I am wondering why we weren't taught to include these when possible!!?? After all, anything that will cut down on the number of strokes, is ALWAYS a good thing! My school teaches us all to be real time reporters, so you would think that they would especially be teaching us to incorporate those endings in one stroke, huh? I tried to write the word "shooting", as SHAOGT, but it came up as an untranslate. However, in the other example given, "cats" will translate correctly when written, CATS so there are some endings (seems like only the -s and -es will work) that we do learn to put in the same stroke...however, we are taught that we can do EITHER OR, whichever way we want and feels most comfortable. Well, nothing really feels that comfortable when you're first starting out in Theory. I remember when my entire class was freaking out about the word "debt". It seemed like TKEBT was nearly impossible to stroke correctly the first few times you tried. Now of course I laugh when I think about how I thought THAT was difficult back then! Now while I don't really want to think about trying to learn something new, as far as cutting down on number of strokes by adding them in with the previous stroke(s), I also know that right now would be a pretty good time to start doing this! If I can't get CASE to translate things correctly, I don't know how I should go about doing this on my own. It's not like I can make dictionary entries for every possible word that will come up with these endings! So, any advice from experienced people would be greatly appreciated! :)
Well, first of all, this is a phonetic language, so TKEBT for me is "debit." "Debt" is TKET. How can you react to sound when you're so concerned about spelling?

I just spent a couple of hours this afternoon with a student who learned Phoenix and is debating on whether to scrap the whole thing and start over. Listening to him, what I'm picking up is that Phoenix makes the reporter work for the software instead of making the software work for the reporter. It's like they discourage dictionary entries; they want suffixes and prefixes (which are important!) rather than full, multisyllabic word entries (which are also important).

It's a total fallacy to say that realtime cannot be done without stroking out every syllable. Briefs and phrases are important. The fewer the strokes, the fewer the keys, the more likelihood of a clean outline.

Oh, and another thing about Phoenix I learned which is totally unnecessary (besides the spelling obsession) is the idea that each phrase requires an asterisk. Puleeeez!!!

You can get things to translate, Brittany. Just add the outline to your dictionary. Define SHAOGT as shooting, and next time there it will be, big as life. You *can* make a dictionary entry for every possible word that comes up. Do it as they come up. My dictionary was not canned; every entry in it is one I made personally. And I add entries every day, even after 20 years.
[[ And I add entries every day, even after 20 years. ]]

ditto for me except change the 20 to 30!
Ditto here!

And you go, Brenda!!

Court reporters who strive for perfect realtime will never be finished building their dictionary and critiquing their skill.

Keep up the wondering, Brittany. I don't think you should scrap what you started with but keep looking for ways to make things easier for you.

Make some lemonade!
I find it appropriate to declare my difference of opinion: "this is a phonetic language"
Though based on phonemes and morphemes, I adjust my writing to address inadequacies of the keyboard. Homonyms are dealt with and concepts of abbreviations (BREVGS-s) are key. W, T, W-M, common abbreviations not restricted to machine shorthand also have a bearing in most theories. As for numbers and formatting, they are not so much phonetic as symbolic and rule-defined and rule-associated. Take for instance the phrase "that is to say," which is often followed by a comma and also often preceded by a semicolon or dash. Taking this to mind, a SHORThand way to write this would be, say, THAEBZ which would include the necessary formatting.
For, if this were purely(although "pure" was not a word used by you ^^) phonetic, our real-time(M-W.com)services would leave much to be desired for official records.
Much of the work of writing a readable transcript -- a verbatim transcript -- is understanding how to arrange the words.
This is also a writing language. By this I mean it is important to understand -- now with real-time transcription even more so -- how the transcript will develop.
Well, do not lose faith in your theory. I know a recent graduate from my school who went into training with Caption Colorado.
Work with your software as much as possible to better understand the shortcuts you can take and how to BEST utilize its features.
Good luck.
I find some tucked endings awkward...but that is just a misstroke factor which I strive to eliminate. On other instances, I would prefer to distinguish the entries(if conflicting) by having the ending separate(ONLY when conflicting)
How do you write "digging"? DIG*?
-DZ for -ing when -G is otherwise occupied. So DIGDZ=digging.


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