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On my free time, I've been learning a new shorthand system (one stroke per phoneme) for college note-taking and I'm hoping that I can practice it to drastically increase my WPM in handwriting.

It's been a few days, I've realized that I should probably be tracking my progress. I've been doing some so far by simply inventing random sentences and passages and timing how fast I can write them.

However, that method seems a bit dependent on what sentences I use; and I'm sure that after a while, I'll run out of creativity.

Does anyone know of any online web apps or programs that can procedurally generate an English sentence or passage of English that is "normative" (is that the right word?) -- or that contains words and sounds typical of normal English passages -- for my tests/benchmarks?

edit As Niall points out, I guess I don't need a completely procedurally generated passage; really, it could be one that pulls a random sentence from a random book/website. If no app is found, I might just end up transcribing a different paragraph from a random book I have at home every day.

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Do you have a link that describes the note-taking system you use? It sounds interesting. – Senseful Jul 24 '10 at 0:27
I'm curious: why random? – Niall C. Jul 24 '10 at 1:26
@eagle - I'm learning handywrite on my own; it's the best shorthand system I've found that includes vowels, and doesn't depend on thickness of lines. While it's not a widely adopted one, I like its elegance. – Justin L. Jul 24 '10 at 6:30
@Niall - You bring up a good point; it really doesn't have to be completely random, I guess. Perhaps it could simply draw a random sentence from a random book in its database. – Justin L. Jul 24 '10 at 6:31

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could try a Markov generator. They create random text that's influenced by its input. If you give it example text that's similar to what you want, the result should resemble it.

Here's one of several that I found: It includes several inputs, so you don't need to provide your own.

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This answer answers precisely the question I was asking, so by that, I am awarding it the best. – Justin L. Jul 24 '10 at 21:27

It sounds like a complicated task for a computer.

How about using free eBooks that are in the public domain? Check out Project Gutenberg.

In one of the speed reading courses I took, they used Alice in Wonderland.

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I never thought of just going through a book. This might work even better than the solution I was thinking of. Thanks =) – Justin L. Jul 24 '10 at 21:27

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