Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Yublin shorthand for speed-writing

Introducing Yublin (PDF cheatsheet), a shorthand for the 600 most common words in the English language. For use in journals, notetaking, and writing novels, this shorthand system reduces the most frequently used words to 1- and 2-letter combinations ("shortcuts"). It's convenient, it's fast, and it's fun!

(Interested in generating Yublin shortcuts for your language? Use the online form).

How I generated the list. I started with a list of the 600 most common words in English. I then proceeded to assign 1-letter combinations to the most frequent words, followed by 2-letter combinations for the rest. For the most frequent words, the algorithm tries to choose shortcuts that are similar (e.g., t for the, sh for should, ng for nothing). Shortcuts must save at least 2 letters, otherwise they are discarded (thus there are no shortcuts for 1- and 2-letter English words).

Below are the Yublin shortcuts for the 100 most common words. For the full 600-word list, see the cheatsheet (PDF).

t - the
n - and
w - was
h - that
i - his
e - her
y - you
d - had
b - with
f - for
s - she
o - not
u - but
v - have
m - him
c - said
g - which
j - this
l - all
r - from
k - they
p - were
q - would
x - when
z - what
th - there
bn - been
co - could
ve - very
tm - them
mo - more
tr - their
yo - your
wi - will
li - little
tn - than
te - then
se - some
io - into
wl - well
mu - much
ab - about
ti - time
kn - know
sh - should
le - like
un - upon
su - such
ne - never
oy - only
gd - good
bf - before
ot - other
mt - must
ce - come
dn - down
af - after
tk - think
ma - made
mi - might
bg - being
ag - again
gr - great
ov - over
hr - here
ca - came
tt - thought
hf - himself
wh - where
fi - first
tu - though
wt - without
wn - went
aw - away
mk - make
ts - these
yg - young
ng - nothing
lo - long
sl - shall
ba - back
dt - don't
ho - house
ev - ever
ta - take
ey - every
ha - hand
ms - most
la - last
es - eyes
ss - miss
hg - having
ld - looked
en - even
hl - while
de - dear
lk - look
mn - many
lf - life
st - still


  • Yublin cheatsheet in index-card format:

    For best results when printing:
    - Change Page Scaling from "Fit to Paper" to "Actual Size" to minimize margins
    - Set Paper Size to "Index Card 3x5in" in Properties > Layout > Advanced
    - Set Quality Settings to "Best" in Properties > Paper/Quality

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 6/09/2007 9:06 p.m.  

  • is it possible to post your src code ?

    looking at this reminds me of the rules in porter stemmer.

    haha I was intending to do a dutton speedword software to add into babelfish (english-dutton speedword) but sadly I couldnt find the word list around.

    power of zipf's law 8p


    By Blogger zeroin23, at 6/17/2007 10:38 a.m.  

  • Yublin looks interesting.

    Might give it a try after playing with Dutton a bit. Learning only the top 10 words is a 25% boost.

    List of ~3 000 Dutton speedwords
    "Transcribed by Richard Kennaway from the 'Dutton Speedwords Dictionary'"

    A primer and dictionary as a PDF

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/28/2007 3:33 a.m.  

  • Anon - Great! Hope it helps.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 7/29/2007 11:27 a.m.  

  • Hello, thanks for sharing this. Something that may be of interest to you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/19/2008 4:13 p.m.  

  • Nice!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 12/19/2008 9:38 p.m.  

  • You might like to take a look at this website:

    This site is about Keyscript Shorthand. Keyscript saves on averafe 60% of the writing and ultimately generates a list of word abbreviations, as Yublin does, but because the abbreviations are based on the simple rules of Keyscript they do not have to be memorised by rote.

    By Blogger cassyjanek, at 4/08/2009 4:21 a.m.  

  • johnathan I must say that I am impressed. Just as a mental exercise I will be learning yublin. It's not often one can say that they personally invented something practical, and shared it to boot. Well done sir.

    By Blogger Phil’s Pix Lnyx, at 5/03/2010 9:54 p.m.  

  • Cool stuff Phil - hope it's useful to you.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/03/2010 10:28 p.m.  

  • I have added the Yublin 100 and the Yublin 600 (broken down by word into letter groups) to Quizlet for anyone that would like to use that method for learning.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7/25/2013 7:39 a.m.  

  • Thanks, Michael!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 7/26/2013 9:56 a.m.  

  • Thank you very much for this. It's pretty cool you shared it.

    Can you maybe post the source code again? The ning-Link says "page not found" and I'm really curious how you did this.

    BTW, somebody made a course for the first 100 words on memrise:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/29/2013 11:30 a.m.  

  • Cool!

    Alas, I wish I still had the source code, but it is long gone.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 8/30/2013 9:37 p.m.  

  • You can use AutoCorrect in Microsoft products to use this shorthand while typing. Enter t = the in the dictionary and when you type "t", "the" will appear.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/16/2014 8:39 a.m.  

  • Could you share the word list as a tsv file? Any other copy-pastable file type would also be fine, I'm trying to make an importable file for Gboard for easy Yublin text-expansion.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8/19/2019 6:54 a.m.  

  • Here it is as a csv file:

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 8/22/2019 10:42 p.m.  

  • Does anyone still use Yublin today? I'm wondering how many abbreviations that people have learned and still keep in use regularly.

    By Blogger phil, at 6/19/2020 5:49 a.m.  

  • Hi Jonathan, I found this in

    Was your code very long and complex? If it's too hard to write it again, could you please tell us the main commands you used or can you give us a brief explanation about how it works?

    By Anonymous Sam, at 11/12/2020 5:55 a.m.  

  • Hi Sam,

    It was probably not very long - probably only took a day or two to write. For a description of how it works, see the blog post above. Can't remember anything further than that.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 11/12/2020 7:28 p.m.  

  • Do you still use Yublin?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/02/2021 2:20 p.m.  

  • I donk't use Yublin anymore myself. I find I don't even handwrite much anymore - mostly do typing.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/02/2021 5:31 p.m.  

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