How to Create Mnemonic Images

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This page describes many ways to create Mnemonic Images.

Syllables

Find an image based on similarity of the syllable sounds. If a word has multiple syllables, sometimes you only need an image for the first syllable or two. The image(s) helps you get past the tip of the tongue effect.

Examples

The Esperanto word, manki means to be missing. Manki sounds like monkey. Picture a classroom of students where one chair is empty -- the monkey is missing.

The Greek word for "please" is parakalo (παρακαλώ). Break the sounds into parts: "para" and "kalo". The first part, "para", could be something like:

  • a parachute or
  • a bear ("bar") or
  • a bar (drinks)

The second part, "kalo", could be Frida Kahlo and/or the word "hello", which would also remind you that the accent comes on the last syllable of the word.

Homophones and Rhymes

Rhymes or slant rhymes work well.

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. If you had to remember the word ate, you could convert it into eight and then use your mnemonic image for the number 8.

Spelling

Find an image based on the spelling.

Example

The French name Marquet looks like the English word market even though they have different pronunciations.

By Groups and Differences

If you group together related items, you can often memorize them by taking note of the differences between each of the items.

Example

In Esperanto there are several words for "to try":

  • provi -- to try to do something, or attempt/test something
  • peni -- to make an effort
  • klopodi -- to take steps towards doing something

By mentally organizing the group words as "to try" and then picking apart the differences, it makes the memorization easier.

Another example is to learn related words at the same time. E.g., hot/cold, above/below, right/left.

Visual Resemblance

A mnemonic image can be created by visual association.

Example

The letter A originates from a Cretan and Phoenician form where the point of the A points at about 8 o'clock, which makes it resemble an ox's head. The two points are the horns. So a mnemonic image for the letter A could be an ox.

Personal Association

Sometimes you can find a personal association that doesn't have any known meaning, but that works for remembering the data.

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