From Academic Kids

A stenotype machine is a specialized keyboard used by stenographers for shorthand use. A trained court reporter or closed captioner can type speeds of approximately 225 words per minute at very high accuracy. Many users of this keyboard can even reach 300 words per minute.

The keyboard looks more like a compact piano than a regular keyboard. Multiple keys are pressed simultaneously (known as "chording") to spell out whole syllables, words, and phrases with a single hand motion. This system makes realtime transcription practical for court reporting and live closed captioning.

The first stenotype machine was built in 1868. An American stenotype machine was patented in 1879 by Miles M. Bartholomew. A French version was created by Marc Grandjean in 1909.

This is the keyboard layout of the American stenotype machine:

Missing image
Stenotype Machine Keyboard Layout

In "home position," the fingers of the left hand rest along the gap between the two main rows of keys to the left of the asterisk (pinkie finger on the "S" to forefinger on the "H" and "R"). These fingers are used to generate initial consonants. The fingers of the right hand lie in the corresponding position to the right of the asterisk (forefinger on "FR" to pinkie finger on "TS"), and are used for final consonants. The thumbs produce the vowels.

The system is roughly phonetic, e.g. the word "cat" would be written by a single stroke comprising the initial K, the vowel A, and the final T.

This is a basic chart of the letters of this machine:

English Letter Stenotype Letter
Final B                B
Final CH             F P
Final D                     D
Final DZ                     DZ
Final F             F
Final G                  G
Final J               PBLG
Final K                B G
Final L                 L
Final M               P L
Final MP             FRP
Final N               PB
Final NG               PB G
Final NJ               PB G
Final NK          *     PB G
Final P               P
Final R              R
Final RCH             FRPB
Final RF             FR B
Final RVE             FR B
Final S                    S
Final SH              R B
Final T                   T
Final V             F
Final X                B G S
Final Z                      Z
Initial B    PW
Initial CH   K  H
Initial D  TK
Initial F  T P
Initial G  TKPW
Initial H      H
Initial J S K W R
Initial K   K
Initial L      HR
Initial M    P H
Initial N  T P H
Initial P    P
Initial QU   K W
Initial R       R
Initial S S
Initial T  T
Initial V S     R
Initial W     W
Initial Y   K W R
P: Comma              R B G S
P: Correction (Asterisk)          * </font>
P: Paragraph          *     P
P: Period (.)             F P L T
P: Question Mark ST P H
Vowel A        A
Vowel A (Long)        A  EU
Vowel Aw        A   U
Vowel E           E
Vowel E (Long)        AO E
Vowel I           EU
Vowel I (Long)        AO EU
Vowel O         O
Vowel O (Long)         O E
Vowel OI         O EU
Vowel OO        AO
Vowel OU         O  U
Vowel U            U
Vowel U (Long)        AO  U

See also

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