Mnemonic acronym system
The Mnemonic acronym system
is a technique which uses a stored phrase to recall a list of items, often in a certain order. The technique is most suitable for items that can be recalled solely on the basis of a single letter. However it has a disadvantage in the effort involved in making up something witty and memorable.
There are two methods. These will be described using the example of remembering the order of the colours in the spectrum. The colours to remember are Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet.
- In the first method, one uses a stored phrase in which each letter of the stored phrase is an initial letter of a list item. In our example, this creates a personal name, of ROY G. BIV.
- The second method uses a stored sentence in which the initial letter of each word of the stored phrase is an initial letter of a list item. In our example, this could be the sentence: "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain". This sentence is popular in England.
Some other examples, to demonstrate the technique:
- The acronym mnemonic "DOC" represents this ("D" is the waxing Luna; "O" the full moon; and "C" the waning moon). In the Southern hemisphere, this is reversed, and the mnemonic is "COD". A French mnemonic is that the waxing moon at its first "premier" quarter phase looks like a 'p', and the waning moon at its last "dernier" quarter looks like a 'd'. One more (Northern hemisphere) mnemonic, which works for most Romance languages, says that the Moon is a liar: it spells "C", as in crescere (Italian for "to grow") when it wanes, and "D" as in decrescere ("decrease") when it waxes.
- The phrase "Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly" is used to remember the electronic color codes of resistors, capacitors and other electronic components.
- The phrase "Oh Oh Oh, To Touch And Feel A Girl, Very Sexy & Hot" is used by students of anatomy to remember the order of the cranial nerves. Another one is "On old Olympus' topmost top, a fat-eared German viewed a hop" (where "ear" is used for "auditory" instead of a word beginning with 'a'). Or "Some Anatomists Like Fucking, Others Prefer S & M" for the external carotid artery branches. Medical mnemonics are quite common, see .
- Shakespeare's Hamlet:
- To be or not to be,
- That is the question
- Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
- The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
- Or take arms against a sea of troubles'
Reduce down to:
'2 b / n 2 b
- L s l ?
- W t n n l m 2 s
- L s & a / o f
- / t m a a c / t'
Add some more mnemonics, links, suggestions for making your own, estimated difficulty level compared to other systems, etc.
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