so refrain from explaining the phonetics of the Sanskrit alphabet.

One of the uses of this system is found in a commentary on the " Ramayana," in which the number of verses is given in mnemonic form at the ends of certain sections. We find apparently unmeaning words ending in "mana" (a measure), such as garamana, which would indicate the number 32. The system is also referred to in other places, such as Vararuchi's "Kadinava" and the "Laghu Arya Siddhanta."

Now to the system which I advocate. It springs from a study based upon a recognition that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, are probably used equally in human affairs, but the letters of the alphabet are not, and further, some letters are rare at the beginnings or the ends of words, while others are common.

1 is to be represented by t, or d. Thus the following words may stand for number 1: head, tea, toe, doe, hot, oat, wad, yacht, youth, thaw, etc.

2 is to be represented by n. Words for number 2: hen, knee, wain, neigh, etc.,

3 is to be represented by m. Words for number 3: yam, may, home, ma, aim, etc.

4 is to be represented by r. Words for number 4: oar, row, ray, arrow, etc.

5 is to be represented by 1. Words for number 5 : hill, hall lea, yellow, etc.

6 is to be represented by ch, j or sh. Words for number 6: joy, wish, ash, edge, show, chew, etc.

7 is to be represented by k, g, or ng. Words for number 7: cow, hag, egg, hang, ache, etc.

8 is to be represented by f or v. Words for number 8: foe, vow, half, wave, fee, etc.

9 is to be represented by p or b. Words for number 9: ape, bee, hope, web, abbé, hub, etc.

o is to be represented by s or z. Words for number 10: hose, saw, haze, zoo, ass, etc.

The letters h, w and y, and the vowels, have no number-values in our method, but may be used for word-making wherever convenient. Only the sound of words (not the spelling) is considered, and double letters are always used as though single, as in "yellow."

It is very easy with these number-letters to find a great variety of words representing numbers from 1 to 100: in many cases, such as 10, 14, 15, 41, 50, 51, 57, 70, 85, 90, 91, 94, 95, 97, one can readily write down about forty words for each number.

When we come to numbers between 100 and 1000, it is a little more difficult, and the student will find that, while he can readily write down several words for most of the numbers there will be over two hundred out of the nine hundred numbers which will give him pause.

If we choose the number 742 for example, we may readily form corn, crane, green, carrion, grain, acorn, cairn, etc. For 945 we easily discover April, pearl, prowl, broil, parole, peril, parley, barley, barrel, apparel, beryl, brawl, etc. For 114 we readily find daughter, editor, theatre, debtor, auditor, tutor, tooter, dater, etc.

But the following numbers, among others, present difficulties: 993, 963, 896, 699, 598, 599, 568, 525,-499, 418, 353, 135-

To overcome these difficulties I suggest the following plan: use an adjective and a noun together, and count only the first consonant sound of the adjective. We can then form, for the above numbers, epic poem, prowling puma (993); pure jam, precious gem (963); flowery bush, full page (896); shy baby, cherry-wood pipe (699); lean beef, light puff (598); lively puppy, lead pipe (599); Highland chief, yellow sheaf (568); long nail, lower Nile (525); restless baby, ruling pope (499); running thief, rapid dive (418); meek lamb, mortared lime (353); daily mail, hot meal (135).

It is necessary in all such cases to make a very lively image to represent the adjective. Vague and general adjectives, such as nice, good, bad, pleasant, etc., are to be strictly avoided.

Students do not nowadays need to remember long lists of dates in history and of numbers in science and mathematics, as was formerly the case, so numbers of more than three digits are rarely needed. In history, one needs only three digits for dates, as the thousands may easily be remembered without any special attention being given to them.

When we have settled that we do not want more than three digits in one word, we may, if we wish, employ the method of counting only the first three consonant sounds in a long word, or if we use an adjective, the first sound in the adjective and the first two in the noun.

We may then form number-words such as the following: flowing river (848); boomerang (934); book-case (977); wild elephant (558); blue lotus (951); young pigeon (796).

The number-words, when formed, can be associated without difficulty in all the ways that I have already indicated, and from them the numbers can readily be drawn.

The following will serve as a little exercise for the student. Convert these numbers into a sentence by first finding as many words as you can for each: 2, 3175, 174—1, 1953. 2, 651, 51—0, 6415, 1, 9, 214101, 9, 1, 45, 756, 8, 80620, 21, 1, 45. 756, 8, 04620.10, 01956321, 010, 2, 012141,14,17140, 67, 1, 09650, 2, 1, 74, 8, 65142.

The key to the above sentence is: "A new medical degree— the Diploma in Child Health—is shortly to be introduced by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons. Its establishment sets, a new standard for doctors wishing to specialize in the care of children."

In the last chapter I gave a telephone number, 8715, a motor-car number, 208457, and a passport number, 062246. If we wish to remember these by the number-word method we could form "full kettle," "unsafe rowlock," and "such inane rush" respectively. In this case we must remember that we are using the adjectives in full in reference to the two larger numbers.

Now let us suppose that the telephone, the motor car and the passport belong respectively to a Mr. Smith, a Mr. Brown and a Mr. Robinson; we can connect the numbers with those persons by: full kettle—repair to kettle—tinsmith—Smith; unsafe rowlock—-boat—drown—Brown ;such inane rush—danger—robbery—Robinson.

If they are your own telephone, motor car and passport you may remember them by: full kettle—bubbling sound— ringing sound—telephone; unsafe rowlock—boat—conveyance—motor car; such inane rush—travel—passport. The student may perhaps improve upon these associations; I have given the first that came into my head.

A man with a good memory for numbers, and thoroughly familiar with their manipulation, might be able, with some effort, to remember a dozen or twenty digits once read out to him; but it would be indeed difficult to find a man who could remember, say, a thousand numbers in that way, though the task of doing so by our method of substitution is simplicity itself.

There are several ways of arranging the digits in a very long number. The method I recommend is that of taking them in groups of three and then finding number-words for them.

I will take at random—921840365719283605712823701 562394. For this I may form the following series of words: bind, freeze, marine shell, cool dip, new vim, chisel, cotton, venom, ghost, legion, empire. These words are almost the first that occur to me, and are by no means necessarily the best. I use them to show what can be done off-hand, though it is better generally to go over the numbers and choose the words more carefully when there is time.

The next step is to link the words by intermediaries, where necessary, as, bind (fix) freeze (water) marine shell (sea) cool dip (nudity) new vim (keen, tool) chisel (shavings, soft, cotton-wool) cotton (cotton-thread, stringy, snake) venom (fear) ghost (dead, dead warriors) legion (Roman legion) empire.

Another method of making number-words was "discovered" by M. Gouraud, and expounded in his Phreno-Mnemotechny, published in New York and London in 1845. He called it "number metamorphosis."

His metamorphoses were made through similarity of sound. The name of some object of sense was substituted for the name of the number, thus: for the figure zero, hero; for the number one, a wand; for the number two, a tooth; for three, a tree; for four, a fort; and so on.

These metamorphosed words or "homophones" were used as "pegs" on which to hang nine or ten numbers each, while the ten numbers were formed into a sentence on the principle of number-words.

M. Gouraud showed how to apply this method to keeping in mind the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle to the extent of 154 decimals, a feat which he performed by learning sixteen simple sentences.

The first nine numbers are 314159265, for which he formed the ridiculous sentence: "My deary dolly, be no chilly." This, the first set, is the "hero" set, and was linked with that word by the supposition that a hero was uttering the sentence.

The sentences are difficult to make, and the Unking is decidedly primitive, but apart from these elements, the scheme of metamorphosed key-numbers proves very useful.

It may, for example, be used as providing starting-points for a series of our number-words, which may very readily be linked on to it. We may choose thirty numbers, as before, 9218403657, 1928360571, 2823701562, and remember them in three sets of ten, each preceded by one of the key-words. The digits from the first to the tenth will be under the aegis of '"hero," the eleventh to the twentieth under "wand," and so on. Thus for the foregoing numbers we may make three sets: hero, bone, devour, smash, leg; wand, tap, knife, images, locket; tooth, hen, fan, hammock, stall, chain. These could be connected, where it is necessary, by (mighty dead), (hungry dog), (crunch), (broken leg); (blow), (cut), (gleaming and mirror), (portrait); (beak), (feather), (swing), (rest), (rope).

This method facilitates the location of the digits, and enables one to pick out a number required, without the trouble of counting along the whole series.

A third plan, which I prefer to M. Gouraud's, is to select number-words for key-words, instead of homophones; for example, instead of hero, use ice, sea, saw, ass, sow, sue, ease, essay, hose, house, or any other zero word; instead of wand use tea, tie, add, oat, toe, height, youth, or any other word standing for the number one. In this case it is easy to find a word suited to the series which it is required to begin.

It will now be seen that the task of remembering dates is a very easy one. All that needs to be done is to take the last three digits of the date, form a word from them, and connect this in turn with the idea of the event by our link method.

There are, of course, other devices useful to students, such as that of making charts of centuries, divided into squares for each year or ten years, and fixing small symbols in each square to represent the happenings of the period.

I will content myself with one or two examples of the link method: Queen Boadicea raised an army against the Romans and killed 7000 of them, in the year A.D. 67—check. King Arthur, famous for his powerful resistance and victories over the Saxons, A.D. 514—leader. Queen Elizabeth ascended the English throne, 1558—fond of praise—lady-love. Germany annexed Austria, 1938, bold move. Transatlantic air mail began, 1939, air—air-pump—pump.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment