François Fauvel Gouraud mentions Isaac Pitman in his book () and ties the idea of phonetics to both the major system, which Gouraud apparently got from Richard Grey and potentially refined into its final form. (We still need historical written ties for this.)

This book provides a direct historical written tie of shorthand systems to the Major System.

The question to be asked now: is this the earliest recording of the tie between the two? Does Pitman’s book have an earlier attestation?

Sir Isaac Pitman, invented the Pitman shorthand method which was first published in 1837 as Stenographic Sound Hand.


His consonant signs* are quite simple in their form and arrangement, and unite readily in writing, a great desideratum in stenography. His vowels are expressed simply by dots or commas, possessing a distinct value, according to (heir relative position with respect to the consonant sign ; thus a simple dot placed near the upper end or over the top, indicates a ; opposite the centre, e ; and at the lower end or bottom, 4 etc.;— a principle seized and still farther extended by Mr. Pitman and his followers, but which violates one of the fundamental principles of true phonography, viz., the formation of a distinct graphic sign to express each distinct phonetic element of the voice ; in fact, another most important feature of phonography, and even stenography itself, is trampled upon, by the necessity which it requires of lifting up and moving back the pen in writing a simple word, to express these flying parasitic signs representative of sounds. 1

tags: #followup

links: memory shorthand Major System

connected ideas:

  1. Practical Cosmophonography by François Fauvel Gouraud page 36↩︎


March 5, 2022