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← Sins of Memory

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Katy Cordeth

@ Comments 11 and 22 by jameshogg

I read a book a few years ago all about memory improvement, and the technique James has mastered was included, along with others. I wasn't really interested in learning how to memorise the order of a deck of cards, but what did get attention was a similar technique which taught one how to commit long numbers to memory by transforming them into words, or rather phrases.

The method is a simple one and goes as follows:

Each number from 1 - 0 is assigned a phonetic sound based on letters of the alphabet. This is the important part: it's the sound of the letter rather than the letter itself that's used.

1 = t or th; or d (or more accurately "tuh" or "thu"; or "duh")

2 = n (or "nuh")

3 = m (or "muh")

4 = r (or "ruh")

5 = l (or "luh")

6 = sh or ch or j ("shuh" or "chuh" or "juh")

7 = c or k; or g ("cuh" or "guh")

8 = f or v ("fuh" or "vuh")

9 = b or p ("buh" or "puh")

0 = s or z ("suh" or "zuh")

(You'll notice that there are no vowel sounds. That's because you supply those.)

So a random number like, say, 99 becomes b,b or p,p or b,p or p,b

From this, and by supplying our own vowels and any other consonant which hasn't itself been assigned to a number, we can come up with a myriad of words: bop, pipe, puppy, pappy, pope, boob etc; but not bops or boobs because these would include the s number 0 and would make the number 990.

A few other small-number examples could be: 65 - sh, ch or j for the first digit and l for the second, giving us perhaps the words chill, shill, shale, jail, Gill (as in Gillian, because it's the phonetic sound we use, and Gill is enunciated by making the juh sound rather than the guh of the letter g; gill as in a fish's limb would be the number 75 - g, l; similarly the word 'phone' would represent the number 82 rather than 92 as it's the "fuh" sound of the word which concerns us and not the fact that phone starts with a p or 9).

96 could give us pish or bash or even bitch; 22 nun, none, nanny. 75 coal or collie.

Moving on to larger numbers is easy enough and depends only on our own inventiveness and familiarity with the English language:

147 track, Tarka, trick, dark...747 creek, crack, cork...959 pileup, plop, bleep...121 tonight, taint, dainty.

7476 carcrash... 3321 moment...7289 confab. And so on.

As numbers get bigger, we move on from words to phrases:

654703 jailer goes home — jailer goes home'

3510560 mel hates all jews — mel hates all jews

427032100 herring swim into houses — herring* swim into houses**

The first twenty one digits of pi, ignoring the decimal point, could be represented as: mother tulip inch lemuel fob cap me name fresh.

Other RDnet users will have to decide for 130580 if the 841 of learning this stuff is worth the 7215.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 22:44:17 UTC | #946661