Photo from Flickr

People speak on average of 125 words per minute. We can transcribe words at an average speed of 33 words per minutes.

In speech reporting, to bridge this gap, most journalists use shorthand.

Shorthand is a system which uses rapid handwriting to transcribe  spoken words by symplifying letters or characters and using symbols for common words or phrases.

Records show that the Egyptians, the Greeks, Romans and the Chinese during the Han dynasty (207 BC- 220 AD) all devised methods of rapid writing.

Sun Guoting (648-703): Detail of the Treatise on Calligraphy
An example of cursive writing of Chinese characters. Most of the strokes which make up the character are joined up.

There is a really interesting article on Japanese shorthand from the website Nihonshock. Kanji’s are transformed using a combination of simplified characters and katakana.

Japanese shorthand

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