A Brief Description of My Mnemonic System for Sounds

In a few previous blog posts I’ve mentioned my mnemonic system for sounds. I’ve posted the mnemonic key online before, but the chart isn’t really self-explanatory.

The basic idea is that my mnemonic system for numbers and cards has a strict pronunciation method. Each one of the 2800+ images has a one syllable pronunciation. If I encounter nonvisual sounds in words or poetry, I have an large vocabulary of images that can be hooked onto the sounds.

The Basic Concept

In the system (a modified Ben System), digits get a consonant and a vowel assigned to them. Here are the consonants in the digit appears at the beginning of a 2-digit or 3-digit number:

  • 0 = s or z
  • 1 = t (not d)
  • 2 = n
  • 3 = m
  • 4 = r (can also be “th”  when it appears at the end of a 3-digit number)
  • 5 = l
  • 6 = b
  • 7 = k
  • 8 = f or v, and sometimes w
  • 9 = p (not b)

Here are the vowels:

  • 0 = o as in low
  • 1 = i as in bee
  • 2 = u as in two
  • 3 = aa as in cat
  • 4 = a as in father
  • 5 = ai as in five
  • 6 = ih as in six
  • 7 = e as in seven
  • 8 = ei as in eight
  • 9 = uh as in lullaby

3-digit numbers are constant-vowel-constant, and 2-digit numbers are constant-vowel.

Examples of how 2-digit numbers are pronounced:

  • 00 = SO (rhymes with low)
  • 01 = SI (rhymes with bee)
  • 02 = SU (rhymes with two)
  • 03 = SAA (rhymes with cat)
  • 04 = SA (rhymes with father)
  • 05 = SAI (rhymes with five)
  • 06 = SIH (pronounced like “six” without the x)
  • 07 = SE (pronounced like the beginning of seven)
  • 08 = SEI (“ei” as in eight)
  • 09 = SUH (pronounced with the “u” in lullaby)
  • 10 = TO
  • 11 = TI
  • 12 = TU
  • 13 = TAA
  • 50 = LO
  • 51 = LI
  • 52 = LU
  • 53 = LAA
  • 54 = LA
  • etc.

Examples with 3-digit numbers:

  • 000 = “SOS” (Sosa, Mercedes)
  • 005 = “SOL” (soldier)
  • 074 = “SETH” (when “4” appears at the end of a 3-digit number, it can be pronounced “r” or “th”)
  • 100 = “TOS” (Toscanini)
  • 101 = “TOT” (totem pole)
  • 149 = “TAP” (top)
  • 123 = “TUM” (tombstone)

My original images for the numbers were created with a slightly different method, so they don’t always match the pronunciation of the number:
(See my post on memory techniques as an artificial language.)

  • 10 = “TO” (Otis Redding)
  • 22 = “NU” (onion)
  • 67 = “BE” (abacus)
  • 62 = “BU” (Obi-Wan Kenobi)

The pronunciation of the 2-digit numbers can be reversed by encasing the image in a block of ice (image modifier).

“BU”  is #62 or Obi-Wan Kenobi. If Obi-Wan is encased in a block of ice, the number is read backwards as vowel-consonant: “IHN” (rhymes with “pin”).

When I memorized Hamlet’s famous soliloquy I took the word “insolence” and converted the first part of the word, in-sol, into Obi-Wan encased in a block of ice (“IHN”, from 62) being held up by a soldier (“SOL”, from 005). That was enough to trigger the memory of the word. I used the same image of Obi Wan for the fifth line of the poem, Invictus:

In the fell clutch of circumstance

The word, “In”,  is represented by Obi-Wan Kenobi encased in a block of ice who is dropping the clutch of an 18 wheeler (“fell clutch”). By “drop”, I mean physically drop a clutch pedal from his hands, not “dropping the clutch” as in racing.

1-digit numbers are pronounced as their vowels:

  • 0 = o as in low (soccer ball)
  • 1 = i as in bee (candle)
  • 2 = u as in two (swan)
  • 3 = aa as in cat (butterfly)
  • etc.

To prevent ambiguity during pronunciation, images can be separated with a glottal stop.

I think that, even if you don’t have a phonetic number system, the basic concept could be applied to an existing number system. The image doesn’t have to match the pronunciation.

Here are some of the previous posts on related subjects for anyone who is interested:

 

Mnemonic Images for the English Alphabet

Related posts:

3 comments

  • Just want to clarify that the following two digit numbers should be S not T
    00 = TO (rhymes with low)
    01 = TI (rhymes with bee)
    02 = TU (rhymes with two)
    03 = TAA (rhymes with cat)
    04 = TA (rhymes with father)

    I think I’m going to abandon the Dominic system in favour of the Ben system. I’m having issues properly developing all the people and actions it’s becoming a frustration point. At first I found the Ben system confusing but after reviewing again this morning it seems that everything has kind of *clicked*

  • Thanks for catching that. I fixed it. 🙂

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