So I’ve decided to start teaching myself Level II of Stiefografie (a shorthand system for German) now, using the self-study materials that cover Levels I and II. (I did Level I together with a teacher to whom I sent my exercises for marking, not least because I wanted feedback on my handwriting before I form bad habits.)
The actual abbreviations aren’t so bad, but the “leave off superfluous endings” bit is hard because it’s all so judgment-cally: what it superfluous? Present tense endings, for example, according to the self-study materials; apparently also the -t of the regular (weak) past participle, though that isn’t mentioned, as well as the ge- of the past participle, which is. Also, adjective endings and the genitive singular -s on masculine and neuter nouns “since you can tell that it’s genitive from the article”. Except when there’s no article, in which case the adjective would take a strong ending to show the case… but we’re leaving off adjective endings, aren’t we? Also, what about comparative and superlative endings on adjectives: do they get left off or not? So I’m beginning to reconsider doing it by myself and whether to ask for assistance from the teacher.
He did say that he’d do Levels II and III for €30 each—a symbolic price since shorthand is a hobby interest for him as well. (And it is cheaper compared to the €50 he asked for Level I.) However, he also offered free assistance via email. So I’ll have to see. On the other hand, for many things, it’s easier to spell it out, especially now that there are abbreviations: how to represent those unambiguously in ASCII text?
One problem is that I’m curious, so I’ve read the whole thing already, and several of the abbreviations from later lessons have stuck in my head, so I’m having difficulty restricting myself to the abbreviations I’m “supposed” to know so far (which is strongly recommended, since not doing so often leads, the materials say, to errors that are hard to correct).
So far, I’m trusting my intelligence and using some of the later ones, but only the more “obvious” (and stand-alone) ones such as nd for und, but not the more tricky ones such as “start half a step lower = initial mit-”.