Chinese Shorthand
Caoshu and Xigshu

Chinese Grass Script (cǎoshū) and Running Script (xíngshū) first appeared during the Han Dynasty (220-206 BC) of Imperial China.  With these highly abbreviated characters, strokes could be joined and several characters written with one continuous flow.  Sometimes referred as “shorthand scrawl,” Grass Script was swifter to write. Running Script was easier to read.

In Imperial China (221 BC-1912 AD), clerks used abbreviated forms of cursive characters to record court proceedings and criminal confessions.  These “shorthand”  records were then used to create more formal transcripts.

Initial attempts to develop “mechanical shorthand” in the 1950s and 1960s were thwarted because of the complex nature of the Chinese language. On May 19, 1994, Tang Yawei overcame these obstacles and produced the Yawei shorthand machine. It has recreated the shorthand profession in China, and (at 2007) provided jobs for 10,000 stenographers, including 3,000 shorthand reporters .