From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
script abjadi Shorthand
Languages German
Creator Helmut Stief
Time period

Stiefografie, also called Stiefo or Rationelle Stenografie (Rational Shorthand), is a German shorthand system. It was invented by Helmut Stief (1906–1977), a German press and parliamentary stenographer, and first published in 1966.

Helmut Stief was dissatisfied with the Deutsche Einheitskurzschrift so he created a much simpler alternative system. According to Stief the eponymous shorthand system Stiefografie can be quickly learned within a very short time. There are only 25 characters to learn in the first level Grundschrift (business script). Stiefografie is in Germany the most popular form of the new stenography systems published since the 1950s.


The system has only a minimum number of rules. Like most systems of shorthand, Stiefografie is a phonetic system. Sounds and words are written as they are spoken. Silent letters are ignored.

The consonant signs are made by simplifying the features of cursive Latin letters. Vowel signs are only used when a vowel stands at the end of a word. Vowels in the beginning or in the middle of words are represented symbolically by varying the position of the following consonant signs.

Stiefografie does not employ shading (variation of thickness of strokes) to distinguish vowel symbols. Shading is nowadays difficult to achieve with a ballpoint pen, a stylus or finger input for smart phones or tablet computers.

The punctuation marks full stop, semicolon and comma are not used because they look like some brief forms of very frequent German words in Aufbauschrift (speed script and speech script) and could be confused with these words. These punctuation marks are replaced by different space intervals between the sentences and phrases.

Division of the system[edit]

Stiefografie shorthand is written in three levels: Grundschrift (business script), Aufbauschrift I (speed script) and Aufbauschrift II (speech script).

Grundschrift can be produced at a rate of 100 to 120 syllables per minute. There are only 24 characters for consonants and combinations of consonants (e.g. sch, sp, st). Contrary to the practice in many English shorthand systems (e.g. Pitman Shorthand), vowels are never omitted. There are no brief forms for the most frequent syllables and words of the German language in this first level.

Aufbauschrift I can be produced up to 160 syllables per minute. There are 54 brief forms for the most frequent words and syllables in the German language and rules for forming free abbreviations. These brief forms are distinguishable by size and position (three of them: above, below, or on the base line). Special endings and syllables can be omitted.

There are more than additional 120 brief forms in Aufbauschrift II to write up to about 400 syllables per minute. It is possible to omit special consonants, vowels and syllables.


  • Brandenburg, Josef: Welche Bewandtnis hat es mit der Stiefografie?, in: Deutsche Stenografenzeitung 10/1976, p. 205–211
  • Dominik, Dieter Wilhelm and others: Links-Stenografie für die Deutsche Sprache. Erster Teil: Grundschrift, Hanau 1977
  • Dominik, Dieter Wilhelm and others: Links-Stenografie für die Deutsche Sprache. Zweiter Teil: Aufbauschrift, Hanau 1977
  • Gunkel, Horst: Rationelle Stenografie. Anleitung zum Selbststudium, Hanau 2004
  • Gunkel, Horst: Rationelle Steno. Aufbauschrift II, Hanau 1981, 2nd edition
  • Kaden, Walter: Neue Geschichte der Stenographie. Von der Entstehung der Schrift bis zur Stenographie der Gegenwart, Dresden 1999
  • Karpenstein, Hans: Was ist „Stiefografie“?, in: Der Stenografielehrer. Wissenschaftliche Monatsschrift zur Förderung des Unterrichts in Kurzschrift, Maschinenschreiben und verwandten Gebieten 5/1966, p. 115–118
  • Köster, Rudolf: Eigennamen im deutschen Wortschatz. Ein Lexikon, Berlin 2003 - Eponym „Stiefografie“
  • Mentz, Arthur and others: Geschichte der Kurzschrift, Wolfenbüttel 1981, 3rd edition
  • Moser, Franz and others: Lebendige Kurzschriftgeschichte. Ein Führer durch Kurzschriftlehre und Kurzschriftgeschichte, Darmstadt 1990, 9th edition
  • Stief, Helmut: Rationelle Stenografie. Aufbauschrift I, Hanau 2006, 22nd edition
  • Stief, Helmut: Stiefografie, das Kurzschriftalfabet der deutschen Sprache. Lernanweisung für die Grundschrift, Frankfurt am Main 1975, 27th edition
  • Stiefografie, in: Shorthand Systems, p. 67 - 69, Memphis/Tennessee 2010

External links (German language pages)[edit]