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Shorthand was an abbreviated style of writing used on Earth throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

In the 21st century in particular it was implied to be a skill known by specific individuals whose work would necessitate them to have such skills. Donna Noble could do shorthand at one hundred words per minute as part of her job as temporary secretary. (TV: The Stolen Earth) In 2007, Larry Nightingale took notes while he and Sally Sparrow were watching a DVD while being pursued by a Weeping Angel. (TV: Blink) In 2009, Lois Habiba took shorthand communication between John Frobisher and the 456 when she was assisting Torchwood. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three) By 100,000,000,000,000, when Martha Jones joked with Professor Yana about shorthand, he appeared bewildered at the reference. (TV: Utopia)

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