Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Meaning: fast writing - includes, but is not limited to, shorthand.

Usefulness: 1 ("The good doctor's tachygraphy is, unfortunately, undecipherable.")

Logofascination: 1 (Stenography is narrow writing; this would be crucial if you were trying to save paper.  Stenography can also be fast, but if I'm reading my dictionaries correctly, tachygraphy was applied to cursive, since it's faster than non-cursive - it's possible this only applies in paleography, the study of ancient writing.)

In the wild: In a sign of how up-to-the-minute (the last minute) this blog is, tachygraphy was used today over at Laudator Temporis Acti. It's in a footnote on a poem about the importance of taking notes, which reminded me of the commonplace book. The commonplace book is a habit more interesting, and I suspect more useful, than my humble Notes app.

Degrees: 2

Connections: tachygraphy - swift-writing

Used in: G&P, Second Book (Pantagruel), XII:  How the Lord of Suckfist pleaded before Pantagruel. Lord Suckfist is answering Lord Kissbreech, who we have met previously. Among other nonsense, Suckfist argues that
For it is not probable, nor is there any appearance of truth in this saying, that at Paris upon a little bridge the hen is proportionable, and were they as copped and high-crested as marsh whoops, if veritably they did not sacrifice the printer's pumpet-balls* at Moreb, with a new edge set upon them by text letters or those of a swift-writing hand, it is all one to me, so that the headband** of the book breed not moths or worms in it.
Swift-writing in this context is a reference to cursive, as opposed to the 'text letters' before it.

*a sheepskin ball used to apply ink to the printer's forms

**a decorative band in book-binding - best explained by an image search. Books on my bookshelf featuring such extravagance: a Sunday Missal, Jane Austen's letters, Adam Gilchrist's (ghostwriter's version of his) memoir, a limited edition Diana Wynne Jones novella and - the only paperback - a book about Champagne. I can't quite decide if they're a measure of quality, or of the publisher's margin.

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