Wednesday, December 21, 2005

John Willis Shorthand

I confess. I can't remember where I read that X was used for Christ in the 16th century. I'll find it soon. However, as I went through my notes on shorthand I realized that I now have this image. It is the shorthand system developed by John Willis in The Art of Stenographie, 1602. Here X is 'ch'. The question is whether X alone would represent Christ.

The earliest shorthand for English was that of Timothie Bright, 1588. Apart from the basic symbols which are presented in Joanna Drucker's The Alphabetic Labyrinth, I have not seen Bright's system. However, it is possible that X was used for Christ in one or both of these systems.

There is a Bible in the John Willis shorthand system here at University College in London. There are a few other shorthand items there also. One day maybe I will be able to have a look for myself. Any Londoners out there anxious to look at a shorthand Bible from the early 17th century?

Notes: This image of John Willis shorthand is found in World's Writing Systems by Peter T Daniels and William Bright

5 Comments:

Anonymous Codex Sinaiticus said...

Hi, could you please explain more how "in Willis' system 16 symbols out of 22 are identical to the Cree syllabary"...? I just don't see it, not even any close matches, and I see 26 letter symbols, not 22. Thanks,

"Codex Sinaiticus"

7:51 AM  
Blogger Suzanne E. McCarthy said...

Hi,

The values for these systems have absolutely no relationship. But the symbols themselves, the basic geometric shapes in 4 orientations, turn up in several writing systems. Then the values were assigned by the designer of the system.

From Willis there is the A,E,J,V series, the B,L,M,T series, the C,D,F,G, series, which resemble the P, T and M series in Cree, and the N,P,Q,U series resemble the Western Cree finals. Those are the 16.

I am not sure of the 22 - it should be 25 but I have to check the Moon code again to see what I meant by that.

I need to post the Moon code image and then organize the Cree font to demonstrate this. The Moon code came out of shorthand as well.

I will show more in my next post and compare - but after Christmas. Thanks for you interest.

11:58 AM  
Blogger codepoke said...

Out here looking for a phantom post. It showed up on bloglines, but when I got to the site, there was no post. It was an interesting looking fragment, too!

Anyway, I scrolled down to your John Willis shorthand post.

Mad, med, mid, mod, and mud are a trip. I'm not sure this system would really save much time. The author was a systematic thinker, though, that's for sure!

1:40 PM  
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