I had just gotten back from a short adventure in China, and was sick. I had jet lag and the stomach flu, and was spending hours and hours awake in the dead of night because I couldn’t sleep. Why couldn’t I sleep? It was partially because of my jet lag, but the main reason was Teeline. I was obsessed with learning it, and couldn’t sleep because I had a singular determination to master it.
After being introduced to shorthand in Dickens’s David Copperfield, I became fascinated with the somewhat lost art of shorthand, a style of writing which allows one to write at much faster speeds than usual. At the time, I was attending classes at the Colorado School of Mines trying to simultaneously keep focused on the professor and voraciously take notes at the same time. Doing both concurrently isn’t always easy, especially when your professor talks like a thermodynamics auctioneer on speed. Shorthand can be very beneficial to me in school, and also in the office. It’s especially important that your boss, coworkers, or employees have your full attention (i.e. eye contact) when they’re talking to you. You can’t do that effectively if your attention is forever fixed on a notebook or sticky note in front of you.
What I’ve attempted to do is compile a short list of essential Teeline words that I think students and people in a business setting can use to write less and focus more. Teeline is supposed to be an easy-to-learn style of shorthand (as opposed to Gregg or Pitman), as almost all of the “letters” are based on their English equivalents (whereas Gregg and Pitman are phonetic). My goal here is not to turn you into a stenographer, but rather to improve your speed significantly with very little effort. Fluent shorthand is not a necessity for the average note-taker, and most don’t have the time to learn it.
So here you go: a compiled list of all the Teeline outlines I think are important. Have fun!
What I often do is combine shorthand with longhand, using common words and prefixes/suffixes from shorthand while writing out other words in longhand. Something along these lines:
- “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.”
I only write the shorthand if it comes to me instantly. If it takes even a moment to think about it, then it’s not worth it to try and figure out the shorthand. Of course you have to practice the shorthand outside real-life situations if you ever want to make it useful, otherwise you’ll just be writing longhand for everything. Duh! Teeline is pretty standardized if you want to go deep, but the awesome thing is that you can customize it to fit your needs. When you’ve got a huge word that you just keep spelling out over and over, shrink it and make a Teeline outline out of it. I used to write Heat Transfer as ht. That’s two strokes in Teeline as opposed to twenty two longhand.
But wait! I’ve got a bonus for you too! Yes, just because you’re so handsome/beautiful, here’s an Anki zip file containing a deck with all the outlines from above. It’s more than 300 cards! Click here to download: Teeline Basics, or search for it in the shared decks in Anki (File>Download>Shared Decks).
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about Teeline, I’d encourage you to check out this free online book. Or buy the book Teeline Revised Edition by I.C. Hill & Meriel Bowers. I’ve got the book at home, and it’s very useful. The material often seems forced and manipulated to match what they’re teaching at the moment, nothing like natural speech, but all the same I found it quite instructive.