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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.

   I've gone back to my beloved Gregg. This time, the Simplified system. Our dictation this month has a broader vocabularly than "ordinary" office dictation. When I was a secretary, I often had to take down the articles that my boss wrote for his local paper. He was an excellent writer and the vocabulary was rich which meant, in the beginning, my speed took a nosedive. You may find you have to write this piece (and subsequent ones form the same text) at a speed slower than you're used to. But you will be leanring word-building principles and enriching your own shorthand vocabulary and that's a good thing.

Speed Building Simplified, One-Year Course, The Gregg Publishing Company, 1951, p 2-4


            Today standard time zones are used in the United States and Canada.  Prior to 1883 there were no time zones, for time was then considered to be purely a local matter.  The town clock was generally regarded as the official time for the community.  At one period, about one hundred different standards of time were in simultaneous use by American railroads.  Confusion naturally resulted as they grew into a transcontinental network; and a conference was accordingly called in 1883 to which the railroads agreed to divide the United States into four time zones, with all trains in each zone using the same time.  Cities and towns within the zones gradually accepted this standardization; and finally, in 1918, it became a matter of law.  For the rest of the world, time zones were established by an international conference held in 1884.
            With telephone calls crossing time zones in our own and foreign lands, the measurement of time becomes a matter of interest to everyone.  It begins with the rotation of the earth, for the earth itself is the master clock of our world.  Assume for a moment that a huge shaft or axle has been driven through the center of the earth and that its ends project from the top and bottom to indicate the center of rotation.  As the earth revolves around this axle, the half facing the sun will have daylight, while the half away from the sun will have night.
            Each night an officer at the United States Naval Observatory trains a telescope on a star far out in space, to measure the time required for the earth to make a complete turn and get back under the same star the following night.  That interval, measuring one complete turn of the earth, determines the length of our day.  So constant is the speed of the earth’s turning that in a period of one hundred years, the total variation approximates only a quarter of a second.

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