It Looks Like Alien Writing, But Only a Few Baby-Boomer Know What This Actually Means


There are a lot of things that baby boomers remember that the generations after them have never heard of and will likely never really understand (using typewriters anyone?). One long-lost mainstay of the baby boomer generation is something called Gregg’s shorthand.

Baby Boomers Are The Only Generation That Will Remember This Style of Writing

Baby boomers grew up and began their careers in a time when work and note-taking were either done via the typewriter or by hand. Anyone who has ever tried to take notes while someone else is presenting knows how challenging that can be. In order to keep up with human talking pace, baby boomers used a style of writing called Gregg’s shorthand. They were the last generation to do so.

To the younger generations, Greggs shorthand looks like a whole different language. It is, however, a form of English. It is simply structured to make it faster for you to write things down as people say them. Boomers are likely the only people who can read it anymore.

Gregg Shorthand

John Robert Gregg invented this form of writing in 1888. It is sort of like cursive writing (another forgotten skill for today’s generations), only faster. It is based on a series of elliptical figures so that the writer can accurately and quickly record dictation – aka write down what someone else is saying. Gregg created it to dictate the sounds of the words rather than writing out each word in its correct spelling. It is based on the phonetic system rather than our actual written language. Students and secretaries used this version of writing across the globe to take notes in class or quickly scribble out the details of someone’s message over the phone.

All But Forgotten

Of course, anyone who is a member of the younger generations, such as generation x, the millennial generation, and generation Z, has no hope of ever understanding something written in Gregg’s shorthand. Likely there are many baby boomers who also can no longer read it or never learned how to use the writing style.

As new technologies developed, this style of writing slowly and yet all at once became something that no one needed anymore. Mechanical dictation machines took over and from there personal recording devices and today even newer tech that allows you to take notes easily and accurately.

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