Episode 95 (video): Advanced Mnemonics: The Phonetic Alphabet Part 1

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Did you know there’s a mnemonic device that is more powerful than the "One is a bun" pegword mnemonic? It’s called the Phonetic Alphabet. This is a system you can use for lists that have more than 12 items. In this video I show you how the phonetic alphabet system works. Every number becomes a letter and a concrete word that you can visualize to help you remember a list of any length. See how to put mental imagery and your memory to work in this video.

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Comments

  1. Fahim Bala says:

    Hi,
    Could you please show me how pegword system could be used to memorize huge computer books.

    Thanks,
    Fahy.

  2. Michael says:

    Fahy,

    I don’t know Fahy – there’s a LOT to memorize in those computer books. I know a good bit of HTML and Actionscript, but I don’t know if these mnemonic systems would be much help in memorize all that code. Interesting idea though.

  3. The ones you missed are because you are unfamiliar with the film name you are trying to link an unfamiliar item with a familiar one , which makes it very difficult. What you have to do basically is to make the unfamiliar term “wall-e” into a familiar term and link via the intermediate idea i.e a concrete image for example if the peg four four is “Ray” then the link is Ray – wall – Elephant (Looks like an oversize E when sat on its side) in your mental view try and make the Image base image large either make the other images embed with the base or peg image or make up a silly story ,some schools of thought even say it does not have to be silly it just has to follow a logical train of thought from one idea to the next to embed the image in your mind . The best book I found on this is in fairly recent modern times is by a fellow called “Earnest E Wood” by the title “Mind and memory Training” and can be googled at google books,scribd.com and many other places its out of print but I think first printed in 1936 and last printed in 1974. it covers mental image formation , familiarization of form ,images ,words ,projection of memory ,simplification and symbolization of abstract ideas etc all other books today are just variations of the ideas presented in this book Mr wood also makes links back historically to other memory experts of the past so you can see and study where the ideas came from a lot of them can be viewed on google books as well

  4. Note from the last post ‘Ray-wall -Elephant’ is fairly good but an even better one would be Ray – wall – eel, the story a Ray of light shone on the giant wall and the eel frightened slithered away into the dark. Imagine these objects in your mental space as larger than life i.e exaggerated

  5. Rupe – you know your stuff. You’re right about why Wall-E was so difficult. I found Wood book and I’m definitely going to be looking it over. I thought Harry Lorayne was the big name in memory tricks, but it does look like Wood is an earlier source (at least within the last century). Thanks for the info.

  6. Yes I know Harry Lorrayne’s books first one I bought was in 1993 and I still have it,next to me now as I write this comment! . I would recommend his books to anybody they explain the techniques very simply . I have used them on college courses and used them to memorize pages of notes for courses ,they do work and I would say they can give you the key to the operation of your mind without going into great technical detail.
    In fact I can remember the sequence that lead me to buy the book in the first place , I first watched a educational program on British television called ‘Use your Head ‘ By Tony Buzan ,got that book then saw Harries book in a book shop .
    To further answer Fahim’s question above . You have to treat computer books in the same way abstract words have to be converted to simpler concrete ideas( i.e i think they call them substitute words) and then the meaning of the word combined with your new construct via association i.e you are linking new idea with something you already know ,You are only linking two ideas at a time but with practice it becomes quicker and quicker .At first you will be slow at this I am still not as quick as I should be ( I do not use it all the time ).
    equations Can be treated in the same way form substitute words and images for the symbols in the equation e.g this one is for E=MC squared now every body knows this famous equation so it is already a familiar idea. Each symbol must be worked on in turn to give it meaning.
    So for example a story : ‘ E’ is energy , what can I represent energy as ‘mmh ‘that brings to mind a campfire giving off heat(a form of energy) I can feel the heat energy burning my hand ,when I look at my hand I am surprised to see a large letter ‘E’ imprinted on both hands I am scared and shocked I run through a Tunnel( i.e represents equal sign ‘=’) to a Motor Caravan ((M starts of motor , C starts of Caravan)which is double parked ( C squared ) now this is a poor quick example because it works for me , I can then inspect each element and say well motors that I have known are very heavy and Massive (mass), the caravan is glowing I can remember going to a caravan holiday park and seeing a caravan lit up brightly on its sales pitch in the dark, … etc what I am trying to do is bring forth from my mind every association I can about E=MC squared without loosing track of main idea, I can even remember a college buddy at the time wearing a shirt with this famous equation ,… The more link ideas you can pull forth from your mind about this equation the more familiar in your mind it will become ! you will know it intimately and well .Yes so any abstract words or lettering can be familiarized easily . It may take a while to form as many link associations as possible but well worth the effort. So any material whether it be very abstract, or in symbolized form can be memorized .
    Harry Lorrayne’s book ‘How To Develop a Super Power Memory’ describes how to memorize abstract information and Foreign languages ,so I would say yes that memorizing details of computer manuals can be done it takes only a small amount of effort to think of associations to use.

  7. Dave Williams says:

    I used THE MEMORY BOOK back in college myself. By the way, I believe Harry spells his last name “Lorraine.” Enjoyed the video.

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