Mutlisyllabic confusion in Thoery II, any suggestions?

I am a student and I just started Theory II. I would like some feedback from anyone who is willing to share. My question is do you recall feeling lost and completely overwhelmed? There seems to be a lot of exceptions to the "rules". When we ask questions about some of the theory the response is "it will become clearer as we go along". Can any of you please tell me it will become clearer as we move along? Should I calm down and go with the flow with hopes that it will register in my head? I have had nothing but good grades and have never dedicated myself to anything like I am doing now. Any suggestions on personal study practices to help me grasp the concept on when to drop vowels with multisyllabic words? For example, putrefy would be /PAOUT/RU/TPAOEU, but I thought the "uh or ih" sound was dropped and it is not in the second syllable. By the way, I am currently studying the Phoenix Theory. Anyway, I appreciate any feedback and I hope you all have a blessed day!


Definitely Need More Time In My Day LOL!

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The class may be going faster than your capabilities. That's nothing to worry about though. You don't state which theory you are learning, but I don't know that that's important. There is more than one acceptable way of writing almost any multisyllabic word. In your example I probably (without checking my dix) would write putrefy PUT/RI/FI. I don't always use long vowels, especially at high speed. I would also tend to write it PURT/FI (the R is out of order, but ...). Your instructor is correct, as you get into theory more and more, things will be cleared up. The idea is for you to write these words and phrases automatically, without thinking. It may be a little more practice at home is all you need. Repetition will ingrain it into your memory, and thus injto your finger memory.

Just hand in there and don't6 worry so much.
Thank you sooo much for responding! I will absolutely take your advice. Have a wonderful day! 8-D
The medial UH sound is dropped when it is not combined with another consonant sound. Say the words putrefy and nullify to hear the difference. PAOUT/RU/FI and NUL/FI.
Your response makes me feel so much better! You are definitely correct about staying on top of things and over thinking. I am 100% guilty! I will take your advice as well and not spend energy worrying.

I thank you kindly for taking your time to respond to me. I am so glad I found this website, what nice people! 8-D
Uh, Schwa, etc. -- I just think Phoenix makes it so much harder than it has to be.

I was taught in school to write like words sound, using long and short vowels, eliminating strokes for unnecessary vowels. It was just a pretty basic concept 30 years ago when theory took us three months to learn. I was also encouraged to use briefs and phrases right in theory.

While in school I would have written "nullify," NUL/FAOEU and "putrefy" PAOU/TRI/FAOEU.

Now I would squeeze that down to PAOUT/FAOEU.

What else could that outline be but "putrefy"?

Hang in there, Danette. I personally feel theory (the beginning) and qualifying (the end) were the most trying times of my schooling. You just have to persevere and never give up.

A whole lot smarter people than me didn't make it through my theory class -- there were 43 of us -- BUT I persevered because I was stubborn enough to never accept failure as an option.

You can do it too!!!
Well thank you, Tami! I am pretty stubborn and very hard on myself so I am definitely not accepting failure as an option. Thanks for the feedback! Lovin' this website! 8-D
You really have to look at the theory as just providing you with the basics. You can tweak your writing style to fit what is most comfortable for you. Your writing style will definitely change over the years from what you learned in theory. However, I think some of these theories make achieving the skill more difficult, although I don't know anything about the Phoenix thoery. The concept you mentioned regarding when to drop vowels with multisyllabic words sounds like a conundrum. I've never heard of such a thing. If you can come up with a concept on your own or if you want some suggestions on what to do regarding that, I would advise you to look into that. It just sounds like a concept that will slow your thought process down. Let me know and I can give you another concept and you can decide which you like better and what will work for you.

I really think three-stroke words should be a RARE exception and only be used as a very last resort. It will take you FOREVER to achieve high writing speeds, if at all, and you will absolutely be worn out mentally and physically at the end of the day. The key is being able to write as many words as possible in as short amount of time as possible. After all, that's why it's called shorthand. High-speed writing and accurate writing won't happen with three- and four-stroke words. If you can eliminate one of the strokes in a word and you and your dictionary are still able to translate the word without a conflict, why wouldn't you. The more strokes you write, the more chance for error. There's no law for shorthand writing. You ultimately write the way YOU want to write.
Thank you Montrell! That was definitely something I wanted to hear. I think I may have jumped the gun a bit. My last class showed me that this is no longer a 3 syllable word. Unfortunately patience is not one of my top qualities. I am in the process of learning the theory and it is becoming clearer to me that eventually I will be able to create what is best and fastest for me. I do appreciate your feedback and will definitely look to all of you for more advice in the future! Hope you have a great day! :)
I actually meant it is no longer a 3 stroke word. Ooopss! 8-D
Yes, I know the feeling! I was in theory 2 about two years ago. The synonyms can be a problem; however, you only have to change your stroke a bit (one key difference) to make it a different word.
Through it all, I have found that Mark Kislingbury's "short stroke" method minimizes brain lock, stroke, and that sense of helplessness. In addition, I have to add my own twist to this mindgame we call steno by doing what makes your brain think of it after its on paper, meaning, that it CAN be right for you to make up your own non-conflict solution, with the benefit that when you see your special creation of letter strokes you immediately remember WHY you invented it in the first place.
With all the theories out there, the trend is to make it simple with the least strokes and most mnemonic (thats actually a word) device letter combo, resulting in your own specialized form of steno. My teenagers' texting style has made me reinvent, from time to time, a new word or phrase (they say "R U there?" meaning Are You There) or my youngest hotshot, Austin, age 15 (" I D K" which means "I don't know). You get the pictures.
Experiment with what your mind WANTS you to key in and play with it a bit.
Hope this helps!
Dale Lardie

I notice you're not even a member of the Magnum Steno Fan Club. Mark himself has joined.

Come join us!!
I read all the previous posts on this page before I decided to
add my two cents to your situation.

I tell my students that learning theory can be compared to
learning to write your letters back when you were in
Kindergarten or 1st grade. remember the paper you used??

- - - - - - - -
______________ (bad graphics but you get the idea)

and you had to perfectly fit your ABC's between
the lines? Today, as a adult, do you still write like that? No,
of course not. And your steno writing will 'mature' in time

So for right now, learn the basics, as Allison says, where
the sounds are on your machine. Stroking out three and
four syllable words gives you practice for learning the sounds. later you will find briefs for those oh, so common three and
four stroke words, but for now, learn your basic
ABC's. Get VERY familiar with where the sounds are on
your machine on both sides of the steno keyboard.

The second thing I tell students is: the secret to speed
is eliminating hesitation. Once you can eliminate hesitation,
speed will come as if by magic, because you will no longer
be thinking of your fingers or the keyboard, you will be
reacting to writing the sounds you hear and that will
be - viola - speed!!!

Sometimes I write a word a second time because I can't
remember writing it the first time because it was so
automatic I didn't even realize I had written it the first
time!! Wow, now THAT'S a feeling of power and speed!!

There was a gal in my 190 speed class who wrote every
syllable out. even the word 'balance' she wrote in two
strokes!! I told her there's a theory brief for that word. I
told her what it was and when the dictation ended again,
I asked her if she used the brief for balance.
she said, No, I forgot.
My friend, Estella, was so focused on the sounds she didn't
even think of the briefs. and she was writing a lot of medical words!! you should have seen her write!! she was so fast,

and yes, like Montrell said, those three-stroke words
will become a rarity, you will sooner or later find briefs for
them, but for now learn the sounds without hesitation, then
when the word 'animosity' comes up - and it will - you will
be able to sound it out without hesitation and without loss
of speed!!

Learning a whole bunch of new briefs right now in theory
is counterproductive to finishing theory and learning your

Trust me, there will be plenty of time to learn new briefs. Lots
of people have finished school and become court reporters
using lots of different theories, so don't worry about your
theory, just get through the basics, just like your penmanship,
you will modify it in time.

Good luck, and we're all here when you need us again.
--and sorry for such a long post,
I hope I didn't overwhelm you :))


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