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Steno Theory

Phoenix Theory

General Overview   
Support Material for Students   
Support Material for Educators   
References  

General Overview

Phoenix Theory was first published in 1996 as a new theory with the following objectives:

  1. to provide maximum computer compatibility (conflict-free realtime);
  2. to provide minimum spelling dependency when determining strokes to be written;
  3. to minimize the number of rules to memorize;
  4. to give students the necessary foundation for writing all words and eliminate the uncertainty, frustration, and hesitation in writing "big" words;
  5. to return the "short" to shorthand;
  6. to be supported by a comprehensive realtime translation dictionary so students leave school fully prepared to go to work.

Phoenix Theory is written primarily by sound and incorporates a simple Vowel Omission Principle which virtually eliminates spelling dependency and, at the same time, automatically eliminates the vast majority of conflicts in word boundaries, totally eliminating the need for a multitude of rules for conflict resolution.
 
Just as the English language can't be summed up in a couple of pages, neither can the language of machine shorthand.  We have provided numerous documents (okay, a small book!) to assist you in your exploration of Phoenix Theory.  If you're an experienced machine shorthand writer or instructor, you will find some of the concepts challenge your thinking.  Remember, the system works together as a whole:  There is a well-thought-out reason behind each principle.  If you maintain an open mind until you have an overview of the reasons behind the principles, you'll find that they combine to create a virtually conflict-free realtime system of machine shorthand that can be written with the same economy and simplicity of strokes as the old pre-computer theories and without the multitude of complex rules other theories must impose on writers in an attempt -- sometimes only marginally successful -- to eliminate conflicts in word boundaries. Feel free to ask if you have questions about anything you read.  You can reach the author, Carol Jochim, at carol@phoenixtheory.com.

General Overview:  What Makes Phoenix Theory Unique?
Phonetics, Schwa Vowels and Sample Steno Outlines 
 Created With Input From 40 Steno Teachers 
 Thorough and Integrated System of Instruction 
 Unparalleled Support 
 Frequently-asked Questions  

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Support Material for Students

 Phoenix Theory Textbook

32 Lessons
Comprehensive introduction for the new student including topics such as:

  • What is machine shorthand?
  • Understanding the keyboard
  • What is a machine shorthand theory?
  • I write shorthand strokes: then what?
  • Realtime: the Steno-writer and the theory
  • Writing by Sound
  • Long and short vowels
  • Silent letters
  • Beginning and final sides
  • Setting up the steno machine
  • How high?  How close?
  • Stroking technique
  • Training aids
  • Priorities
  • Practice Routine
  • Home Position
  • Conventions used in the theory book
  • Correct practice and study routine

Lessons are structured so that students use the READ, READ, WRITE, READ method for all new material in each lesson:

  • READ the explanatory material in the theory book carefully, making certain you understand the theory principle being introduced.
  • READ the steno which accompanies each exercise and familiarize yourself with the strokes included in the exercise.
  • WRITE the exercise.
  • READ the steno notes you have written, circling any fingering errors.

The book also has the following features to facilitate learning:

  • Correlated audio is available for each lesson.
  • Steno outlines accompany each exercise so the student will know exactly what they should be writing for each word.
  • Some exercises are also included in the appendix in plated note form for reading practice.
  • New sounds and principles have correlated reading exercises in the accompanying Reading Exercises book.
  • All exercises have timing markings and a handy timing chart is located on the bottom of each page so the material can easily be dictated for additional practice.
  • The right-hand side of each page has a personal review strip where students can note their own unique writing challenges.  Each lesson directs the student to return to the personal review strip for practice.
  • New fingering positions are shown on keyboard charts.
  • Explanations accompany each new sound or principle introduced.
  • Each lesson begins with a review of previously learned material.
  • Each lesson contains a transcription exercise: English to steno or steno to English.
  • Each lesson ends with sentences or paragraphs that provide a comprehensive review of material learned to that point.  Reinforcement of previously learned material is constant.

Appendices include steno for:

  • United States of America: States and Capital Cities
  • United States of America: Territories and Possessions
  • United States of America: Major Cities
  • Canada: Provinces and Territories
  • Canada: Major Cities
  • World: Major Continents and Countries
  • World: Major Cities
  • Alphabets
  • Numbers: Cardinal, Ordinal, Roman
  • Punctuation and Symbols
  • Function Commands
  • Keyboard Overview
  • Phoenix Theory Principles
  • Mandatories

2nd Edition (2005) also contains

  • "What's New" - new writing options since the first printing in 1996
  • One-stroke state abbreviations
  • Email/web addresses/computer commands outlines
  • Speaker Identification outlines
  • Captioning adaptation information

Phoenix Theory lessons present new material in the first 28 of 32 lessons.  Lessons 29 through 32 explore application of previously learned sounds to additional prefixes, suffixes, and words, plus provide a comprehensive review to ready the student for speedbuilding.
 
Phoenix Theory Reading Exercises

New sounds and principles have accompanying plated notes in the Reading Exercises books.  Reading the plated notes familiarizes the student with the new stroking patterns and helps to fix the information in their minds prior to beginning the exercises on the steno machine.

Phoenix Theory Lesson Audio

Each lesson has the exercises dictated on audio, enabling the student to begin the critical process of "writing what they hear."  Many of the exercises are dictated at multiple speeds with only the lower speed requiring mastery to move on to the next exercise in the lesson.  Higher speeds are provided for students who are moving through the program exceptionally quickly and need additional practice challenges, or for students returning to the theory lessons for review.

Schools can purchase a full set of Phoenix Theory lesson audio and enter into an agreement for duplication of the audio for their students at no extra charge to the school.


Phoenix Theory Lessons 1-32 Exercise Dictation Software Program
New in 2006! 

Phoenix Theory Exercise Dictation software program with digital dictation of all exercises by Teresa R. Gaudet.  The program provides high-quality sound, exercises dictated at multiple speeds, a summary of each lesson's principles, and an optional feedback window for Case CATalyst users.

Phoenix Theory Reference Dictionary

This gigantic resource provides students with the most common stroking options for a multitude of words.  This resource is especially helpful as it contains many words that are not found in the translation dictionary when doing a simple word lookup.  The translation dictionary WILL translate the words, but it is building them out of words parts that combine to create the final translation.

Phoenix Theory Quick Reference Guide (briefs/phrases, quick reference charts)

This handy book contains briefs and other shortcuts, phrases listed alphabetically by first word, phrases listed alphabetically by last word, briefs and phrases in English to steno order and steno to English order, numbers (cardinal, ordinal, Roman numeral), alphabets, punctuation, symbols, and function commands, geographical locations of the United States, Canada, and world, plus a synopsis of the theory and room to record personal brief forms.

Phoenix Theory Reference Dictionary CD

A computer software program that contains all of the entries from both the printed Reference Dictionary and the Quick Reference Guide.  Quickly locate entries based on English lookup or steno, browse pages of the dictionary, or look through one of the many subdivisions of entries.  Also includes a unique "sounds like" feature that notifies you when the word you're looking up has a sound-alike, and gives you the option to view a chart showing all the words in that sound-alike group, with succinct definitions and correct steno for each word.

This program is a valuable addition to the instructor's classroom tools.  It makes it fast and easy to look up the steno for any word you might be asked about in a classroom or virtual classroom setting.

Phoenix Theory Translation Dictionary

Available in Case CATalyst and RTF/CRE formats, this product forms the backbone for the entire theory.  140,000+ entries and several specialized job dictionaries will translate nearly every word in Funk & Wagnall's New Collegiate Dictionary and then some!  While some theory translation dictionaries provide only one way to write most multi-stroke words, the Phoenix Theory translation dictionary provides translation for all possible stroke combinations that follow the Phoenix Theory principles.  Since the principles are flexible, allowing for differences in pronunciation, hearing perception, and fingering strengths, so is the dictionary!

Periodic updates with new writing options and additional vocabulary are available at www.phoenixtheory.com.

Fast Track to Machine Shorthand Speed (drills) book and audio

Lauded by reporters, teachers, and students alike, this book has over 500 drills separated into two sections:  (1) drills to increase dexterity, accuracy, and transitions between positions, and to create/reinforce muscle memory; and (2) drills designed to eliminate hesitation when writing "big" words.
Beginning with lesson 10 in the theory book, students are given assignments in this book and work through the first 104 drills by the time they've finished the theory book.  The drills are designed in such a way that students can continue to work with them during speedbuilding to continually improve their writing capabilities.

Numbers: Figures, and Facts audio drills

Each two-tape set contains unique material designed to facilitate practice of numbers in many different formats.  Play aloud in class, or assign for individual practice.

Fast Track to Realtime Writing book and audio

A textbook designed for those who already write another theory and desire to totally cross-train over to Phoenix Theory.  It "fast tracks" through the principles with pages and pages of writing exercises to help you assimilate the principles quickly and efficiently.  It's also a great review tool for students in speedbuilding classes.
This book is also a wonderful resource of grouped writing material for instructors to dictate or to use as remedial exercises with their students.

Speed Plus books and audio

Lessons introduce and build skill on new vocabulary, including optional briefs and phrases, then push for speed using that vocabulary in sentences and longer takes. Includes tips on grammar, spelling, punctuation and other language arts skills. 
Each lesson book contains:

  • 1- to 1 1/2-minute take dictated at five speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 3-minute take dictated at three speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 5-minute take dictated at two speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 6- to 11-minute take dictated at one speed

Beginning Medical Stenoscription book, audio, basic medical translation dictionary

Medical transcription is an excellent use of machine shorthand skills, but often the medical transcription training is frustrating because the translation dictionary doesn't support the specialized terminology and students are unsure of how to stroke complex words or medical sound-alikes.  Correlated with the highly respected Health Professions Institute  SUM medical transcription training program, Medical Stenoscription bridges the gap by pulling the medical vocabulary out of each SUM lesson, providing steno outlines and writing tips, then giving the student audio drills to practice the new medical terminology prior to transcribing the SUM medical dictation.  Books and audio are available for both the Beginning Medical Transcription unit and the advanced units.  A separate medical job dictionary is included with purchase of the book.

Phoenix Theory Website

The Phoenix Theory website contains articles, dictionary updates, new writing options, an active discussion forum, speedbuilding tips, and additional helps such as "Advanced Realtime Applications," a comprehensive guide to piecing undefined words and names together with increments of spelling rather than letter-by-letter spelling.  www.phoenixtheory.com

Resources for Questions

The discussion forum on www.phoenixtheory.com is an excellent resource for student questions and support.

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Support Material for Educators  

Phoenix Theory Textbook

32 Lessons
Comprehensive introduction for the new student including topics such as:

  • What is machine shorthand?
  • Understanding the keyboard
  • What is a machine shorthand theory?
  • I write shorthand strokes: then what?
  • Realtime: the Steno-writer and the theory
  • Writing by Sound
  • Long and short vowels
  • Silent letters
  • Beginning and final sides
  • Setting up the steno machine
  • How high?  How close?
  • Stroking technique
  • Training aids
  • Priorities
  • Practice Routine
  • Home Position
  • Conventions used in the theory book
  • Correct practice and study routine

Lessons are structured so that students use the READ, READ, WRITE, READ method for all new material in each lesson:

  • READ the explanatory material in the theory book carefully, making certain you understand the theory principle being introduced.
  • READ the steno which accompanies each exercise and familiarize yourself with the strokes included in the exercise.
  • WRITE the exercise.
  • READ the steno notes you have written, circling any fingering errors.

The book also has the following features to facilitate learning:

  • Correlated audio is available for each lesson.
  • Steno outlines accompany each exercise so the student will know exactly what they should be writing for each word.
  • Some exercises are also included in the appendix in plated note form for reading practice.
  • New sounds and principles have correlated reading exercises in the accompanying Reading Exercises book.
  • All exercises have timing markings and a handy timing chart is located on the bottom of each page so the material can easily be dictated for additional practice.
  • The right-hand side of each page has a personal review strip where students can note their own unique writing challenges.  Each lesson directs the student to return to the personal review strip for practice.
  • New fingering positions are shown on keyboard charts.
  • Explanations accompany each new sound or principle introduced.
  • Each lesson begins with a review of previously learned material.
  • Each lesson contains a transcription exercise: English to steno or steno to English.
  • Each lesson ends with sentences or paragraphs that provide a comprehensive review of material learned to that point.  Reinforcement of previously learned material is constant.

Appendices include steno for:

  • United States of America: States and Capital Cities
  • United States of America: Territories and Possessions
  • United States of America: Major Cities
  • Canada: Provinces and Territories
  • Canada: Major Cities
  • World: Major Continents and Countries
  • World: Major Cities
  • Alphabets
  • Numbers: Cardinal, Ordinal, Roman
  • Punctuation and Symbols
  • Function Commands
  • Keyboard Overview
  • Phoenix Theory Principles
  • Mandatories

2nd Edition (2005) also contains

  • "What's New" - new writing options since the first printing in 1996
  • One-stroke state abbreviations
  • Email/web addresses/computer commands outlines
  • Speaker Identification outlines
  • Captioning adaptation information

Phoenix Theory lessons present new material in the first 28 of 32 lessons.  Lessons 29 through 32 explore application of previously learned sounds to additional prefixes, suffixes, and words, plus provide a comprehensive review to ready the student for speedbuilding.
 
Phoenix Theory Reading Exercises

New sounds and principles have accompanying plated notes in the Reading Exercises books.  Reading the plated notes familiarizes the student with the new stroking patterns and helps to fix the information in their minds prior to beginning the exercises on the steno machine.

Phoenix Theory Lesson Audio

Each lesson has the exercises dictated on audio, enabling the student to begin the critical process of "writing what they hear."  Many of the exercises are dictated at multiple speeds with only the lower speed requiring mastery to move on to the next exercise in the lesson.  Higher speeds are provided for students who are moving through the program exceptionally quickly and need additional practice challenges, or for students returning to the theory lessons for review.

Schools can purchase a full set of Phoenix Theory lesson audio and enter into an agreement for duplication of the audio for their students at no extra charge to the school.


Phoenix Theory Lessons 1-32 Exercise Dictation Software Program
New in 2006! 

Phoenix Theory Exercise Dictation software program with digital dictation of all exercises by Teresa R. Gaudet.  The program provides high-quality sound, exercises dictated at multiple speeds, a summary of each lesson's principles, and an optional feedback window for Case CATalyst users.

Phoenix Theory Instructors' Guide

An authoritative guide for the theory instructor, this book has an extensive introduction that covers many of the basics that new instructors might not know:  the basics of the keyboard; what is theory; what is realtime machine shorthand; what is a realtime machine shorthand theory; spelling versus phonics; background of Phoenix Theory; dealing with homonyms; tools needed to teach theory; structure of the training program; overview of lessons 1-32; how to count dictation material; dictating timed material; how to use a stopwatch; establishing classroom etiquette; what to do before the first day of class; what to have available in the classroom; how to conduct the first day of class; step-by-step dialog through a sample lesson.  (And that is just the introduction!)

Each lesson has its own chapter, outlining the theory elements introduced and containing supplemental teaching aids:

  • reading exercise keys
  • synopsis of writing exercises in student text
  • lesson evaluation key
  • new dictation material
  • vocabulary lists grouped by sound making it quick and easy to create customized dictation and drills for your students
  • sentences evolve from single syllable words to complete, intriguing stories presented in sections which break at just the right moment to keep your students’ interest piqued
  • Marked at a syllabic density of 1.4
  • Timing chart for low speeds (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 wpm) on each page

The Appendices are an extremely valuable part of the book and are often overlooked by teachers at first.  They contain charts of alphabets, numbers, punctuation symbols, keyboard consonant and vowel charts, mandatories, evaluation exercises and a final exam. 

Phoenix Theory Reference Dictionary

This gigantic resource provides students with the most common stroking options for a multitude of words.  This resource is especially helpful as it contains many words that are not found in the translation dictionary when doing a simple word lookup.  The translation dictionary WILL translate the words, but it is building them out of words parts that combine to create the final translation.

Phoenix Theory Quick Reference Guide (briefs/phrases, quick reference charts)

This handy book contains briefs and other shortcuts, phrases listed alphabetically by first word, phrases listed alphabetically by last word, briefs and phrases in English to steno order and steno to English order, numbers (cardinal, ordinal, Roman numeral), alphabets, punctuation, symbols, and function commands, geographical locations of the United States, Canada, and world, plus a synopsis of the theory and room to record personal brief forms.

Phoenix Theory Reference Dictionary CD

A computer software program that contains all of the entries from both the printed Reference Dictionary and the Quick Reference Guide.  Quickly locate entries based on English lookup or steno, browse pages of the dictionary, or look through one of the many subdivisions of entries.  Also includes a unique "sounds like" feature that notifies you when the word you're looking up has a sound-alike, and gives you the option to view a chart showing all the words in that sound-alike group, with succinct definitions and correct steno for each word.

This program is a valuable addition to the instructor's classroom tools.  It makes it fast and easy to look up the steno for any word you might be asked about in a classroom or virtual classroom setting.

Phoenix Theory Translation Dictionary

Available in Case CATalyst and RTF/CRE formats, this product forms the backbone for the entire theory.  140,000+ entries and several specialized job dictionaries will translate nearly every word in Funk & Wagnall's New Collegiate Dictionary and then some!  While some theory translation dictionaries provide only one way to write most multi-stroke words, the Phoenix Theory translation dictionary provides translation for all possible stroke combinations that follow the Phoenix Theory principles.  Since the principles are flexible, allowing for differences in pronunciation, hearing perception, and fingering strengths, so is the dictionary!

Periodic updates with new writing options and additional vocabulary are available at www.phoenixtheory.com.

Fast Track to Machine Shorthand Speed (drills) book and audio

Lauded by reporters, teachers, and students alike, this book has over 500 drills separated into two sections:  (1) drills to increase dexterity, accuracy, and transitions between positions, and to create/reinforce muscle memory; and (2) drills designed to eliminate hesitation when writing "big" words.
Beginning with lesson 10 in the theory book, students are given assignments in this book and work through the first 104 drills by the time they've finished the theory book.  The drills are designed in such a way that students can continue to work with them during speedbuilding to continually improve their writing capabilities.

Numbers: Figures, and Facts audio drills

Each two-tape set contains unique material designed to facilitate practice of numbers in many different formats.  Play aloud in class, or assign for individual practice.

Fast Track to Realtime Writing book and audio

A textbook designed for those who already write another theory and desire to totally cross-train over to Phoenix Theory.  It "fast tracks" through the principles with pages and pages of writing exercises to help you assimilate the principles quickly and efficiently.  It's also a great review tool for students in speedbuilding classes.
This book is also a wonderful resource of grouped writing material for instructors to dictate or to use as remedial exercises with their students.

Speed Plus books and audio

Lessons introduce and build skill on new vocabulary, including optional briefs and phrases, then push for speed using that vocabulary in sentences and longer takes. Includes tips on grammar, spelling, punctuation and other language arts skills. 
Each lesson book contains:

  • 1- to 1 1/2-minute take dictated at five speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 3-minute take dictated at three speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 5-minute take dictated at two speeds (10 wpm increments)
  • 6- to 11-minute take dictated at one speed

Speed Plus Instructor's Book

Marked and timed tests correlated with the speeds and topics in the five Speed Plus books.

Beginning Medical Stenoscription book, audio, basic medical translation dictionary

Medical transcription is an excellent use of machine shorthand skills, but often the medical transcription training is frustrating because the translation dictionary doesn't support the specialized terminology and students are unsure of how to stroke complex words or medical sound-alikes.  Correlated with the highly respected Health Professions Institute  SUM medical transcription training program, Medical Stenoscription bridges the gap by pulling the medical vocabulary out of each SUM lesson, providing steno outlines and writing tips, then giving the student audio drills to practice the new medical terminology prior to transcribing the SUM medical dictation.  Books and audio are available for both the Beginning Medical Transcription unit and the advanced units.  A separate medical job dictionary is included with purchase of the book.

Phoenix Theory Website

The Phoenix Theory website contains articles, dictionary updates, new writing options, an active discussion forum, speedbuilding tips, and additional helps such as "Advanced Realtime Applications," a comprehensive guide to piecing undefined words and names together with increments of spelling rather than letter-by-letter spelling.  (Reprint permission for classroom use is available from the author.)
www.phoenixtheory.com

Stenograph University Online: Phoenix Theory Online

Take advantage of a Blackboard website fully populated with Phoenix Theory teaching aids such as lesson lectures, lesson audio, computer-graded tests, and more.

Schools and instructors also receive training over the theory itself, teaching theory online, and the "how-to's" of Blackboard.

For additional information about Stenograph University Online, visit www.stenographu.com.

Instructor Resources

There is a reason why every single outline in the textbook is written as it is and we feel strongly that you should have the explanations you need to understand the methodology behind Phoenix Theory if the book alone does not answer your questions. 

Please feel free to write Carol at carol@phoenixtheory.com if you have questions.  You can also search through the extensive message boards at www.phoenixtheory.com or contact Kathy Dittmeier at kathy@steno-solutions.com with technical translation issues related to Phoenix Theory.

We're here to help: all you have to do is ask!

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References  

School References

To Whom It May Concern: 

I have been exposed to four different theories through out my teaching career.  We have been using Phoenix Theory for approximately eight years.  I have found that it does not take a student any longer to “master” Phoenix Theory than any other theory.  Students seem to master a theory at 120 – 140, and this holds true for Phoenix Theory also.  The biggest difference that I have noted is students move faster through their speeds after they have mastered the theory than I remember with the other theories.

Moreover, the amount of support material for both students and teachers is impressive.  The dictionary and brief dictionary are a real asset to the students that they can use throughout their careers.  I particularly like the Speed Plus 40, 50, 60 wpm book.  I have designed a class that meets once a week to learn briefs.  I use the Speed Plus book for that class.  These publications are just a couple that I use in my program.

I am very happy with the Phoenix Theory and all of the products that facilitate my students’ learning experience.  I have been solicited by other companies to use their theories, and I always ask, “Why should I change?”  To date no one has been able to answer that question.  These are viable products that I plan to use for a long time.

Sincerely,
Dawn M. Wilson
Court Reporting Program Director
Kilgore College

Additional school references as well as preview materials are available upon request from Stenograph, L.L.C.  Contact education@stenograph.com to inquire.

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Testimonials

"Finally, a theory that has solved all the translation problems we've always had.  Homonyms - solved!  Word parts vs. stand-alone words - solved!  And most importantly, word boundaries - solved!  Phoenix is a brilliant realtime theory."
     Theresa R. Gaudet, CSR, RPR, CRI
     Author of The Performance Accelerator Series


"I’m going through the theory material myself before starting school in August and I am very impressed with how well written and comprehensive it is…..While it is challenging, it makes so much sense in the way it organizes our complex language, I am really enjoying this new learning experience."
      Dave  Winkeler, Student

“I’m writing to say thank you again so very much for how you've helped me accomplish my dream which was to do transcription from home.  I've been working for a year now, and very successfully, too, praise be to God.  There've been a lot of challenges along the way, but Phoenix Theory has worked just great for me, and I'm so grateful for the theory and the medical support texts and dictionary which make this possible."
     Shelle Grant, Medical Stenoscriptionist

“As a person who has spent the last 5 or 6 months studying machine shorthand, let me recommend Phoenix Theory heartily. I am a 67 year old retired linguistics professor who has been studying Phoenix Theory for the fun of it. (Believe it or not!) You will find that the text books are admirably suited to self-study. It is almost as if Carol anticipates questions, and she is careful to explain what is required. It is a VERY well-constructed course of study. I taught university classes in linguistics for 26 years, and know how important it is for students to have answers to questions when they need it, and you will have an added bonus in this very 'discussion forum.'  You will find that Phoenix Theory is really a lot of fun--a well-constructed course that you will thank yourself for discovering."
     Valdon Johnson, retired professor of linguistics
     Posted on the discussion forum at www.phoenixtheory.com

“Hi, I graduated from school and passed the CSR in November of 2000 and have been a working reporter for about a year. I learned X Theory and have been slowly changing over to Phoenix. I'm doing so because I believe Phoenix is vastly superior to X Theory and will help me to become a better writer. ….I believe that a strong theory like Phoenix will be a valuable asset to you in getting out of school in a reasonable amount of time and becoming a successful court reporter. As one who learned X Theory, I am amazed at some of the concepts in Phoenix which allow for less strokes and easier strokes. One example is with words that end in "R." You don't have to think about whether a word ends in ER or AR or OR. It's just "R." Also, the AE ending for "eeh" sounding words is much easier to stroke than YI. When you start blending letters in words like "galaxy" or "culturally," you'll be amazed at the number of strokes that are saved, which, in turn, will allow you to write faster and more efficiently. And writing by sound rather than spelling will allow you to write with less thought, less hesitation, which means quicker success in speed building.  Try to keep in mind that the goal is not to get out of theory class; it's to graduate from school, pass the CSR, and be a successful reporter. With that in mind, I think that Phoenix is definitely the way to go." 
     Steve Snider, CSR


Anyone who has visited the discussion board at www.phoenixtheory.com has probably seen my name pop up there frequently.  My nickname is "Techno-Mom" and I supply help on the board, especially for  software and other technical questions.  But what many people don't know is how I got involved with Phoenix Theory and why I choose to whole-heartedly endorse it to this day.

I learned a theory in the mid '80s that had conflict upon conflict in it. Not only did I write all my homophones the same, I also had tons of conflicts between phrases and words, and no differentiation whatsoever for word beginnings and word endings. After a year of study I was introduced to CAT and realtime and decided I wanted to be able to realtime so I could start my own transcription business. Over the next few years, I worked out many of my conflicts on my own as there were few resources to turn to for help at that time. I learned a lot doing that, especially how complex the problem of solving stenotype conflicts could be!

In addition to running my realtime transcription business, I taught theory -- a different one than I had learned --  at a local court reporting school, along with CAT and other reporting classes. I had lots of questions about that theory because we were running into conflicts and my students were often confused.  I looked at another, more "realtime" theory, but found the plethora of rules for avoiding conflicts to be overwhelming.  I could not imagine my students trying to apply them at high speeds, if they could figure them out at all!

Eventually I went to work for Stenograph as an Education Program Manager and I spent a lot of time reviewing Stenograph's theories (they had two at that time) and other theories as well.  I first saw Carol Jochim's theory before it even had a name.  Once she explained how to read outlines with omitted vowels, I found I was able to read almost every entry in her vast printed reference dictionary.  I quickly thumbed through pages, looking for conflicts that I had been dealing with for years and found them all resolved.  The consistency in the application of the principles and the ease with which I was able to read all of those conflict-free outlines was like a light bulb going on in my head.  This was it!  Carol and I have been working together since that time. 

One memorable moment was during the proofreading of the beta version of the book.  I just couldn't understand why she had MOEV for the outline for "mauve" and marked it off as a typo to be changed to MAUV.  Each revision came back with the outline still as MOEV.  Finally I called and asked her what that was all about and she informed me that Funk & Wagnall's New Collegiate Dictionary showed MOEV as the correct pronunciation of the word "mauve."  I said, "Not where I come from!"  She laughed and said she realized most Americans do pronounce it MAUV; however, the correct pronunciation in English language dictionaries is MOEV and we have a responsibility to teach correct pronunciation in our textbooks.  “But,” she added, “never fear.  It will translate stroked either MAUV or MOEV.”  It's over a decade later and if you ever eavesdrop on a conversation between the two of us, you still might hear us laughingly bickering about the correct pronunciation of "mauve."  The point of all this, though, is that I learned something valuable.  If I have a question about anything in that theory book, all I have to do is ask.  There is a reason for every single outline being the way it is, yet she is more than willing to listen to suggestions for improvements to the theory.  And if Carol learns that there's a different pronunciation or variation for a word, she'll add all the possible stroking options for it to her next update.  She's gracious, helpful, extremely knowledgeable and thorough.  Best of all, she extends that knowledge and helpfulness to students and instructors as well.  In short, she's a great theory author to work with!

     Kathryn Dittmeier (a/k/a Techno-Mom), CRI
     Owner of Steno Solutions
     Director of Curriculum Development for
     Realtime Center For Learning, Inc.

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