Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Stroke Intensive" Theories: Sten Ed vs. Phoenix

If you're like me, you wonder which stenograph theory is the best.  I'm not interested in learning a stenograph theory which is considered "slow" or "inadequate" and which will only hinder me in the end.

Of course my ultimate goal as a court reporting student is to reach the goal of 225 WPM.  I was impressed with Mark Kislingbury's Magnum Steno Web Page.  Basically, your can only increases your steno writing speed by writing faster (increasing your strokes per second) and/or writing shorter (decreasing your strokes per word).  Note that hesitation is another major factor in writing speed and affects your strokes per second.

The Sten Ed and the Phoenix stenograph theories are taught in about 75% of the court reporting schools.  Basically, Sten Ed and Phoenix are both considered "stroke intensive."  In fact, it seems like most stenograph theories are called or considered "stroke intensive," and the only non stroke intensive theory seems to be Magnum Steno.  However, the Magnum Steno theory has been called "memory intensive" because it uses numerous "briefs" to reduce the number of strokes.

Well, let me answer the question: Which theory is more stroke intensive, Sten Ed or Phoenix?  The simple answer, based on the raw theory, is Sten Ed.  The Sten Ed appears to be approximately 11.5% more stroke intensive than the Phoenix theory. However, let me point out a few things.  (Note that I base my results on the article "Steno Comparison Chart").

  1. The Phoenix theory required 166 less strokes for the 683 comparable words.  Approximately 95 strokes (57%) were due to how inflected endings are incorporated into the stroking (see #2).  Approximately 65 strokes (39%) were due to how suffixes are written.
  2. Sten Ed follows the NCRA Guidelines of adding the plural of a word (-es, -s) in a separate stroke. The Phoenix theory allows for adding the plural of a word in the same stroke in certain cases or for certain suffixes.  I counted 63 of the "saved" 95 inflected ending strokes were due to this.   
  3. Not all Phoenix words had less strokes.  Twenty-two (22) Sten Ed words (3.2%) had fewer strokes.  Most of which were due to how suffixes are written.  
The most common suffix (about 31% of words with suffixes) is the inflected plural ending (-es, -s), so changing how this is stroked can significantly impact how "Stroke intensive" the theory is.  Because this can be a big factor, let's remove the plural ending component from the analysis.  The result now is that Sten Ed appears to be approximately 5.3% more stroke intensive than the Phoenix theory.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 8

Start Date: July 7, 2011

Finish Date: July 21, 2011

Another lesson that took about two weeks due some vacation and only practicing 1/2 hour per day (plus watching Women's World Cup Soccer).  As I have said before, the lessons will same practice writing these words or sentences this 5 times.  I had to practice it 20 times or more to get through the lesson.

I think one thing slowing me down is that I tend to take a quick peek at my hands from time to time because my hands are slightly out of home position.  I figure that this might be a sign that I may not have fully mastered the keyboard (basic alphabet), certain briefs, etc.

Knowing and admitting your weak points and taking steps to correct them is pretty important to a self taught student.

Here is a brief summary of Lesson #8:

* Months of the Year (Briefs)
* Days of the Week (Briefs)
* Writing multi-syllable words
* Writing compound words
* Briefs: All right, begin, began, begun, avenue, Dr., maybe, Mr., Mrs., Doctor, No Sir, No Ma'am, Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am, today, tomorrow, under, understood, understand, understood, woman, women

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Which Theory is CRAH?

The CRAH Website make no mention of which theory is taught.  In fact, it sounds like CRAH is unique stenograph theory.  The website states:
"This [CRAH] theory was developed so it could be SIMPLIFIED for home study students, containing only 20 theory lessons, while still meeting the NCRA requirements for NCRA-approved theories"
The CRAH material I bought (used) came with a two Sten Ed books.  Looking through these books and comparing them to the CRAH program, it appears that the CRAH theory is a modified Sten Ed.  Meaning that the alphabet, basic word prefixes and suffixes, etc. have a Sten Ed look and feel.  Or if you have to pick a theory (Sten Ed, Phoenix, Stenomaster, etc.) that is the closest to CRAH, it probably would be Sten Ed.    CRAH, however, has added it's briefs, prefixes, suffixes, etc.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Court Reporting at Home (CRAH) -- Lesson 7

Start Date: June 21, 2011
Finish Date: July 3, 2011

This lesson took about two weeks due to its length (16 pages) and not being able to practice every day due to issues at work (and watching Women's World Cup Soccer).  This is the first lesson that I just did not speed through the "theory."  In fact, I went through the lesson several times to master it.

This lesson also introduces the concept of writing word ending.  And this lesson covers the popular and most frequent word ending: -s or -es, -ing, and -ed.  Then Steno for adding -s or -es is -S in a SEPARATE stroke (or -Z if the word end in a D, which may be combined into a single -DZ stroke).  The Steno for -ing is -G in a SEPARATE stroke, and the Steno for -ed is -D in a SEPARATE stroke.

Having read that these very popular endings don't have to be stroked separately (for example Stenomaster, also see this page and this page), I might modify this part of the theory.  Why?  More strokes means a slower writing speed.
[7/20/2012 Update: my thoughts about the above paragraph have changed.  See more recent posts]

Here is a brief summary of Lesson #7:

* Final "V" sound
* Word Endings: -s and -es, -ing, and -ed
* Basic word writing rules
* Proper Names
* Briefs: About, Accident, After, Another, Answer, Around, Before, Business, Happen, Husband, Injure, Injury, Jury, Juror, Question, Very