SHORTHAND the beginner in business there is no doubt that shorthand is a valuable asset, and no youth contemplatiig a career ought to start business _without. it. A few years ago shorthand was an undoubted advantage, as the study of various systems had not been carried to any popular extent. A boy of sixteen, who could write a thoroughly good system of shorthand at a decent speed, might almost be certain of an opening in many directions. In addition, once he had acquired the art of writing good shorthand, he could find a steady income in teaching it.
To-day this has all changed. Shorthand nowadays is practically as necessary as the ability to write simple English, and it is almost as easy to acquire a working knowledge of the system. Instead of paying expen sive fees to private tutors, who were the earlier pioneers of shorthand, almost every educational authority preparing young men or women for a business career makes shorthand one of the subjects in its syllabus. Throughout the country it is taught by the technical and secondary schools, and an acquisition of a knowledge of a shorthand system is neither difficult nor expensive.
Authorities agree that the best system in use at the present moment is the one invented by the late Sir Isaac Pitman. It is practically the standard system and represents the best logical method of abbreviating a language. The phonetic system, in its early days, much criticised, is now universally accepted as the system of shorthand which is taught by public institutions and practised by nearly every shorthand writer and any one who finds a need for shorthand in his business. It is the system generally in use by reporters for the press and official note-takers for public institu tions, courts, &c. ; while throughout business the shorthand writer who uses any other system but Pitman's is an exception. There are, of course, other systems, and for some of them much might be said, but this is not the place to enter into a comparative estimate of their values. Pitman's
shorthand succeeds because for all general purposes it is both logical and adequate, its teaching is standardised and it has a literature of its own. It is unlikely that any change will be made in the prevailing tendency to adopt Pitman's as the best system of shorthand to learn.
In learning shorthand under the Pitman system it is possible for the student to succeed without the aid of a teacher at all. The handbooks produced on behalf of this system are both exhaustive and practical, and a close study of the elementary and advanced sections of the publications will in itself produce efficiency. As, however, most young people are not naturally students, it has been found that the practical way of acquiring an adequate knowledge of shorthand is to go to a competent teacher, and, owing to the action of public authorities, competent teachers are very easy to obtain. Under such a teacher the work of learning shorthand is systematised, the student is set allotted tasks, he is corrected at every stage in his education, and proceeds progressively from the simple elements of the alphabet to the stage where he may be taken to be an adequate short hand writer. While a determined student might succeed easily studying alone,- for the majority of people it is found simpler in practice to have their efforts directed by a competent teacher, and this method is probably more economical in the end.
Side by side with shorthand goes an acquisition of a knowledge of various typewriters, the latter being a logical development of the former. In office work to-day a knowledge of shorthand alone is scarcely valuable it is necessary to be able to transpose one's notes on the typewriter ; for shorthand is geLerally used in taking a dictation of correspondence and other memoranda. It is now almost useless to try to obtain a reasonably paid appointment in an office without a knowledge of shorthand and type writing, and no studeut of one, contemplating a commercial career, would neglect the other.