How to Find More Images for the Ben System

For many people, one serious obstacle to learning the Ben System is finding images to fit all 2,704 possible combinations. Today I came up with a way to fill in my missing images.

2,704 Images

In the Ben System, each pair of cards is combined into an image.

Here is an example pair of cards:

Card Pair for the Ben System|219x59

The first consonant is made by combining the two suits. Club-spades is an “n” sound.


Next, the first card value becomes a vowel (5 = “ai”), and the final card value becomes a consonant (Ace = “t”). My phonetic key is here [PDF].

So 5 of clubs and Ace of hearts is “NAIT” or “knight”. Not all combinations are that easy though.

Here are some card pairs that are more difficult:

  • J♥ A♣ = VOWT
  • J♥ 2♣ = VOWN
  • J♥ 3♣ = VOWM
  • J♥ 4♣ = VOWR or VOWTH

I still have hundreds of images like this to fill in.

Changing the Meaning of the First Two Sounds

The idea that I had today is to make the first consonant and vowel represent a class or category of things, and then derive images based on that class and the final consonant.


Card pair|292x79

The first consonant and vowel are made up of the suit pair plus the first card value:

Card symbols|314x100

In the case above, it would be “NAI” (rhymes with “why”). If I make a link from “NAI” to “nightingale” and then from “nightingale” to “bird”, I now have a way to derive more images. Anything that begins with “NAI” can be a bird image derived from the final consonant:

  • NAI-T becomes: [bird] + t = turkey
  • NAI-N becomes: [bird] + n = nightjar
  • NAI-M becomes: [bird] + m = mallard duck
  • NAI-R becomes: [bird] + r = roseate spoonbill
  • NAI-L becomes: [bird] + l = lark

Those aren’t my actual images, but just illustrate the idea.

Turkey photo|300x203

Another example: the J♥ *♣ pattern makes the sound “VOW” (rhymes with “cow”). So I can go to Google and try to find an association for “vow”. Wikipedia and list:

  • derived from Latin votum
  • marriage vow
  • vow with god(s)
  • vow of secrecy

The simplest one for me is “marriage vows”. Now the J♥ *♣ pattern can link my brain to images having something to do with marriage.

More Ideas

I wonder if visual dictionaries would be useful for finding visual images that are organized by category.

I haven’t put this idea into action yet, but I’m off to do that now. I think that finishing my system will be much easier now. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, because it seems obvious now.

World Mythology and Legend

Ben System Resources

See also:



Finishing My Ben System Images — 19 Sep 2021

[...] After I filled about 6 pages with image ideas, I started to add them to my system in the way I mentioned in my last post. [...]

Experimenting with a Category-Based Ben System — 19 Sep 2021

[...] few days. One of the ideas was to redo my Ben System images entirely from scratch using the ideas here and here, along with an idea that Nelson Dellis [...]

Graham Old

Graham Old 19 Sep 2021

How much progress did you make with this?

Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen 19 Sep 2021

I filled out a lot of the system by category, buy then went back to linking the sounds.

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