Using the Link System
This is the simplest memory system. All you have to do is use imagination and association to make up a vivid story linking together each item from a list in sequence. You are building a chain of associations. For example, to memorize the following random list of ten words:
You could create the following story.
You are hammering a spike into a gherkin. As it penetrates the vinegar-scented flesh you see shampoo ooze out. Scooping up some of the sticky liquid you use it to wash a female fox (a vixen). Oddly, the fox is wearing a tie around its neck like a leash. You set it free by cutting the tie with an axe. The axe is snatched away from you by the Queen. She is a wearing a cloak with a hood as a disguise. As she pulls it over her head hundreds of rose petals fall out. Fluttering to the ground, they immediately catch fire on impact
This is similar to one of the disciplines in World Memory Championships where Prateek Yadav from India memorized 335 random words perfectly in 15 minutes.
Technical terminology and English vocabulary
A large vocabulary is a great asset in business, education and everyday life. You can use a variation of the Link System to memorize technical or unusual English words. Just make up an imaginative link between a word and its meaning. You will need to be especially creative with your symbolism as technical words are often abstract in nature.
Here are some examples.
adj. – pertaining to depths, especially of sea. Imagine floating in a very deep bath. (a bathysphere is a deep-sea submersible and bathymetry is the process of measuring depths of sea.)
n. – a morbid or irrational fear of beards. Imagine a bearded man on a pogo-stick. (related words: pogonotomy, cutting of a beard; shaving. pogonotrophy, growing of a beard.)
adj. – pertaining to or like frogs. Imagine you opened your door and a frog 'ran' in.
n. – a positively charged atom or molecule. Imagine a cat with a plus sign painted on its fur.
Many English words, especially scientific or medical terms originate from Latin and Greek. Once you know a few of these they can be broken down and recombined to deduce the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Take my name, Philip, for example. This is made up of two Greek words, philos "beloved, loving" and hippos "horse", so Philip literally means "fond of horses". If you know that anthropology is the study of humans, past and present, then you can deduce that a "phil-anthrop-ist" is someone who loves humanity and promotes or supports endeavours for the good of mankind. Other words deriving from the components of my name include:
Francophile – someone who admires France and the French.
Sinophile – someone who admires China and the Chinese.
Philosopher – lover of wisdom. Someone engaged in the academic pursuit of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.
Hippocampus – 'Seahorse' and especially the seahorse-shaped structure in the brain that plays a role in laying down new memories, discussed in the previous chapter.
Hippopotamus – river horse.
Hippophobia – an irrational fear of horses.
Vocabulary expands synergistically, meaning that components of words can combine to form many more definitions than the words in isolation. According to Tony Buzan, synergy is a natural function of the human brain.
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