It is advisable that you read the first part, in order to learn the basic concepts of memory-systems, and then proceed to the second part.

Techniques of Mnemonics #1

As mentioned in part #1 we will start learning how to picture abstractions in our head. Using the “Substitute Word Concept” we will try to learn all US states in alphabetical order. This is because when you hear something intangible, you substitute that word with some other tangible word you remember, or the to be memorized word reminds you of. For example every time I hear the word “wise”, it reminds me of my grandfather, so I associate it with him…

Substituting the words with similarly sounding tangible words could be,

Minnesota – mini soda

Mississippi – Mrs. sip

Maryland – Mary landing

Massachusetts – Mass of people who chew and sit

As you improve your imagination you will improve your capacity to memorize, and as you improve your memory you will improve your imagination.

According to Aristotle, humans can only think because they are able to construct images in their mind (inner eye), and this (image construction) is what is taught by those who invent memory systems.

But nonetheless, only trying to find a substitute word stimulates your memory a great deal, because you are actively thinking about it – this forces you to concentrate and to remember better. With the concept gained above we will now try and remember all 50 states of the USA in alphabetical order.

Always remember that your link should be original, otherwise you won’t be able to memorize the list:

Alabama Hawaii Massachusetts New Mexico South Dakota
Alaska Idaho Michigan New York Tennessee
Arizona Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Texas
Arkansas Indiana Mississippi North Dakota Utah
California Iowa Missouri Ohio Vermont
Colorado Kansas Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Connecticut Kentucky Nebraska Oregon Washington
Delaware Louisiana Nevada Pennsylvania West Virginia
Florida Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Wisconsin
Georgia Maryland New Jersey South Carolina  Wyoming


These are the 50 states of the USA; I will start with the first ten:

Alabama like in Albania (I come originally from here, so I will remember it pretty well). In Albania there still is nothing (“hala ska” – is Albanian and means there still isn’t, and it sounds almost as Alaska), but I still go to the Ari zone (which means Bear zone in Albanian), to play with my Arkani (dog pokemon), and after that I ride on a horse (“kali” is horse in Albanian), to attend the Color festival, which will connect or cut the relation with Greg Delawie (the US ambassador to Kosovo), but I will give him a Flower (the word Florida means flower) and invite him to join me on a trip to Georgia (in the caucasian mountains).

I did the links while I was writing the article, because always remember, the first substitute word which comes in your mind will be the best! So, as mentioned, try to create your own links and learn the first 10; go them through your head, once or twice, and start with remembering the other 10, until you reach the end.

What did you come up with? Share it in the comments. Having trouble? Ask us for help!

Complicated words, appointments etc.

After you’ve learned and practiced the link system and the substitute word concept, you may start and try to remember, for example, a list with complicated words…

Chess player Harry Pillsbury was able to memorize 30 words, or phrases, list after having it read to him only once. Here is one of the lists, and It would be a good practice to memorize them for you:

Antiphlogistine, periosteum, takadiastase, plasmon, threlkeld, streptococcus, staphylococcus, micrococcus, plasmodium, Mississippi, freiheit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, athletics, no war, Etchenberg, American, Russian, philosophy, Piet Potgeleter’s Rost, salmagundi, oomisillecootsi, Schlecter’s Neck, Manyinzama, theosophy, catechism, Madjescomalops.

For the word antiphlogistine you might use the substitute word system (I have no idea what it means, so…), like for example, anti-palestine; for words like athletic, freiheit (german for freedom) you can easily use the link system without substituting words.

As for appointments, you may link the event, or the one with whom you have the appointment with a certain item, or hour, or action. You want to go to a friend to play football (soccer), after that you have to go buy some bread, start the link and see yourself kicking bread instead of a ball, and so on. Go through this list before you go, the way to your friend and then finally after you played your game…

The same principle can be applied to a shopping list.


We’ve mentioned speeches and how the old orators held them in the previous part. Now we will examine how that all really worked, and how we can apply it.

Imagine you have a speech and you are preparing it. Remember, a speech is best learned thought for thought and not word for word. First a word for word speech sounds memorized, as if the words you say are not yours. Consisting from a sequence of thoughts, now we will show you how you remember this sequence best.

First you should write down your speech, its ideas, and what you want to talk about in each particular idea. You read it through once, and then choose for each specific thought a key word which represents it best. You take each Key Word and create a link with the other Key Words, deriving from e sequence of thought a sequence of words, only that each word will remind you of each thought. If you have to speak something about Huitzilíhuitl (an Aztec emperor the name means Hummingbird Feather) then you definitively have to use the Substitute Word Concept first; Huitzilihuitl (I used “hujts ili hujt” – hu(j) is a stick in my native language, ili is Slavic for “or”, hujts is like a plural and anglicization of the word, whereas hujt is the plural of hu(j) – “sticks or sticks”), he established the Tlatocan (Plato can – just make P – T when you speak), during his reign he industrialized cotton production (imagine Plato weaving cotton clothes), he waged war on Texcoco (Texas in a Coconut – plato selling his clothes in Texas) and died.

In the next part we will discuss on how to apply our technique on foreign or domestic vocabulary, and how to remember names.