Skipnum (Self-Coding Instant Phonetic Number Memory grid!) is an entirely new memory system. It was developed by my close friend and associate Heinz Norden, the well-known writer, translator and polymath.

Skipnum differs from other major memory systems in that it is based almost entirely on phonetics. The system is based on two elements everyone knows:

1, The initial letter of the memory word is the same as the initial letter of the number which is attached to that word. For example the numbers from 60 to 69 all begin with an 's', and therefore so do the memory words for the numbers from 60 to 69.

2. The vowel sound of the memory word is the same as the vowel sound of the unit digit in the number for which we are making the word. For example let us take the number 42. The first letter in our memory word must be an 'f because 42 begins with an 'f'. The next sound in our memory word must be '00' because the digit number in 42 is two, and its vowel sound is '00'. That means we have 'foo' which we can easily make into a word by adding either T or 'd' giving us 'fool' or 'food'.

Let us try another example. The number we wish to create a memory word for is 91. The first letter is 'n'. The digit number in 91 is 1, and its vowel sound is 'uh'. To complete our memory word for 91 we simply have to complete 'nuh'. A 't' or an 'n' completes this most satisfactorily giving us 'nut' or 'nun'.

There are a few exceptions to these two basic rules, but they are logical and easily remembered.

1. Ten to nineteen. These numbers do not of course have the same initial consonant. They are however collectively the 'tens' or 'teens' and therefore we use the letter 't' for these numbers.

2. Twenty to twenty-nine. A full set of memory words beginning with 'tw' is not available so 'tr' is used instead. We can remember this fairly easily by recalling that children often confuse 'tr' and 'tw'.

3. Fifty to fifty-nine. We cannot use 'f' as the initial letter because we have already used it for forty. Instead we use 'h' because it stands for 'half', and fifty is halfway between 0 and 100.

4. Seventy to seventy-nine. In the same way that we could not use 'f' for fifty because we had already used it for forty, we cannot use V for seventy because we have already used it for sixty. This is overcome easily by using the second consonant of seventy, i.e. 'v'.

5. Eighty to eighty-nine. There is no initial consonant here so instead we use the first consonant in the word eighty, which is 'g'.

6. Vowel sound for nine. We cannot use the 'i' sound for nine because we have already used it for five. Instead we use one of the most common remaining vowel sounds (which is contained in the word vowel!) 'ow'.

7. 00-09. These are included in the Skipnum grid for convenience, because these two-digit units occur frequently in telephone numbers and elsewhere. We use the initial consonant 'b' because it is easy to remember when we think of 007, James Bond!

Before reading on, have a quick look at the memory grid in this Chapter, trying to familiarise yourself with the ideas that have so far been explained. The grid is laid out simply and dearly, and should not be hard to follow.

You have noticed from looking at the grid that a preferred memory word is given in bold It is usually the simplest possible word formed by the above two rules, and is preferably one that can be used both as a verb and a noun. If possible it should have more than one meaning, and should be able to serve as a connector in making phrases from the memory words. Vulgar, action and emotionally charged words are also preferable because they are easier to remember.

Where they arise, silent initial letters such as 'g' 'k' 'w' and 'y' are ignored in the memory words.

Since more than one word can often be formed within the boundaries of the rule, alternate words may be used. Some of these are given in the Skipnum grid for you to choose from.

This possibility of alternate words is particularly useful in


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