Posted by: Jack Henry | September 22, 2020

Editor’s Corner: Mnemonics, Part 1

Good morning, fellow travelers.

I am so excited about todays topic! Its probably the puzzle-lover in me, or maybe just the word nerd that suddenly found a much wider world of what we call mnemonics.

I never liked that word very much. My fingers sure dont like typing it correctly. Lets see how Your Dictionary defines mnemonics:

A mnemonic is a tool that helps us remember certain facts or large amounts of information. They can come in the form of a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence. Mnemonics help us remember facts and are particularly useful when the order of things is important.

I was looking for spelling mnemonics to help with spelling, for example: Theres a rat in separate, can help you remember that it is separate, not seperate.

But then I looked at Wikipedia and was reminded that there are so many more types of mnemonics! (Yes, Im downright giddy!) Today Ill provide you with half of them, then Thursday Ill give you a few more so you dont feel overwhelmed.

Here are some examples from their site:

  • Music mnemonics

Songs and jingles can be used as a mnemonic. A common example is how children remember the alphabet by singing the ABCs.

  • Name mnemonics (acronym)

The first letter of each word is combined into a new word. For example: to remember the Great Lakes, think of HOMES Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.

  • Expression or word mnemonics

The first letter of each word is combined to form a phrase or sentence, for example:

Richard of York gave battle in vain (for the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet)

  • Model mnemonics

A model is used to help recall information. Applications of this method involve the use of diagrams, cycles, graphs, and flowcharts to help understand or memorize an idea.

Now, here is one of my favorites that I learned today.

This is a set of mnemonics for learning a foreign language, in this case Hebrew. (From Wikipedia.)

For example, in trying to assist the learner to remember ohel (אוהל), the Hebrew word for tent, the linguist Ghil’ad Zuckermann proposes the memorable sentence "Oh hell, there’s a raccoon in my tent".

The memorable sentence "There’s a fork in Ma’s leg" helps the learner remember that the Hebrew word for fork is mazleg (מזלג).

Similarly, to remember the Hebrew word bayit (בית), meaning house, one can use the sentence "that’s a lovely house, I’d like to buy it."

Honestly, wouldnt it be great if you could learn more words like that? I wish I had some cool things like that for learning Greek! See you Tuesday for part two!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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Editing: Symitar Documentation Services

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