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    Clickable dictation at various speeds is available at the bottom of this page. The transcript of the dictation appears here as well.

    Sticking with the Graham system this month, we have a rather short piece but with a rather difficult vocabulary. This is exactly kind of material our Victorian ancestors used to build speed which, to my mind, is very unlike the more-recent texts. Repetition was the learning method then with instructions such as "Make 50 perfect copies." Note that this selection is two sentences long, the second which would make Proust very happy.

    As always, I suggest practicing the outlines you are not familiar with first before trying to write the piece from dictation.

The Handbook of Standard of American Phonography, Andrew J. Graham, 1894, p. 370

The True Philosopher

          The character of the true philosopher is to hope all things not impossible and to believe all things not unreasonable.  He who has seen obscurities which appeared impenetrable in physical and mathematical science suddenly dispelled and the most barren and unpromising field of inquiry converted as if by inspiration into rich and inexhaustible springs of knowledge and power on a simple change of one point of view or merely bringing to bear on them some principle which it never occurred before to try, will surely be the very last to acquiesce in any dispiriting prospects of either the present or future destinies of mankind; while, on the other hand, the boundless views of intellectual and moral, as well as material, relations which open on him on all hands in the course of these pursuits, the knowledge of the trivial place he occupies in the scale of creation, and the sense continually pressed upon him of his own weakness and incapacity to suspend or modify the slightest movement of the vast machinery he sees in action around him, must effectually convince him, that humility of pretention, no less than confidence of hope, is what best becomes his character.—Sir John Herschel

For more information on shorthand speed building, click here.

Instructions for Self-Dictation Practice:
    Copy and paste the above article into a word-processing document, using double or triple spacing and 12- or 14-pitch type.
    As always, be sure to check your shorthand dictionary for correct outlines before "drilling"!

Dictation Practice:
    Note that the material was counted and recorded for dictation at 100; all other speeds were copied from the 100 take and electronically adjusted and may therefore sound unusual.

60 wpm 80 wpm 100 wpm 120 wpm 140 wpm

The dictation material above is copyrighted, all rights reserved.

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Gregg Shorthand Pitman Shorthand Speedwriting Shorthand