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Gabelsberger shorthand, named for its creator, is a form of shorthand previously common in Germany and Austria. Created circa 1817 by Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, it was first fully described in the 1834 textbook Anleitung zur deutschen Redezeichenkunst oder Stenographie and became rapidly used.
Gabelsberger shorthand has a full alphabet with signs for both consonants and vowels. The consonant signs were made by simplifying the features of cursive Latin letters. The vowel signs are used mainly when a vowel stands at the beginning or the end of a word. Vowels in the middle of words are represented symbolically, mainly by varying the position and the impact of the following consonant signs. Contrary to the practice in many English shorthand systems (i.e. Pitman Shorthand), vowels are never entirely omitted.
Most German shorthand systems published after 1834 are ultimately based on Gabelsberger's system. Modern German shorthand, Deutsche Einheitskurzschrift, retains most of the consonant signs of Gabelsberger's alphabet but has a modified system of vowel representation.
Gabelsberger shorthand was adopted into a large number of languages and was particularly successful in Scandinavia, the Slav countries and Italy. A host of shorthand systems have since appeared that build on the graphic principles laid down by Gabelsberger.