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memory help
to memorize words

version 29 December 2010
With this memory help you memorize words through letter-figures (see 1.a) and directions. With a single letter-figure you can store 2 letters or sounds!
This memory help can also be helpful, if you want to memorize words through much more freely selected pictures in your head (see 2.5).

1. basics of the memory help (+ example in 1.d)
2. learn how to use the memory help
3. applications
3.1 general applications
3.2 special application: the language Esperanto
4. last changes

1. basics of the memory help (+ example in 1.d)

1.a. The memory help has 27 letter-figures:

A [father]
C [tsunami]

E [bench]


G [go]


I [milk,
J [year]

Ĥ [Scot: loch;
Span: jota]

S [sing]
U [pull]

Z [zoo]

Ŝ [shoe]

Ĵ [pleasure]
Ĝ [gene]
Ĉ [cello]

About the point at every letter-figure: it is explained in 1.c and 1.d.
The 27 letters are from the alphabet of the language Esperanto, they are useful also for the English language.
At many letters you find words; a bold letter in a word is a hint for the sound that is represented by a letter-figure.
Instead of W → U.

1.b. Every letter-figure exists in 3 versions/thicknesses:

A 1
A 2
as thick as broad
A 3
2 to 20 times as thick as broad

A few letter-figures (e.g. CX) are not clear concerning "broad"; in that case for "as thick as broad" you can take that "thick",
- that you use for an A 2 of the same size
- or that you think to be appropriate.

1.c. The 3 versions of a letter-figure can be turned in 9 directions (3*9=27); through this you can define a 2nd letter.
You turn a letter-figure there where it has a point in 1.a.
Picture (right): 8 of the 9 directions.
The 9th direction aims at you (for E, Ĥ, Z).
The letters for the 9 directions:
A till I: the letter-figure is "thin";
J till R: the letter-figure is "as thick as broad";
S till Ĉ: the letter-figure is "2 to 20 times as thick as broad".
left Richtungen right
The 9th direction aims at you (for E, Ĥ, Z).

1.d. EXAMPLE: The letter pair is "AM":

A For the first letter ("A") you use the letter-figure "A" (all letter-figures are shown in 1.a).

A left The 2nd letter ("M") has the direction "left" (compare the position of "M" in 1.c with the right picture in 1.c), therefore you turn the letter-figure "A" to the left (you turn the letter-figure "A" there where it has a point in 1.a).

A left fat The 2nd letter ("M") belongs to the letter-group "J till R" (see 1.c), therefore you choose the version "as thick as broad" (see 1.b) of the letter-figure "A".

See also the exercise in 2.1.b.

2. learn how to use the memory help

2.1 Basic exercises:

Memorize the letter-figures and letter-sounds in a cube with 3*3*3=27 places, according to the letter-figures from 1.a.
(The 3*3*3=27 places of the cube are not important for the letter-figures, but for the 2nd letter of a letter pair [according to 1.c]; but here with the cube exercises it is more effective to use the letter-figures instead of the letters.)
Go mentally through the 3*3*3=27 places of the cube:
- in order,
- arbitrarily.
For any words: Represent with one letter-figure 2 sounds/letters (compare 1.d). To get the direction+thickness of the letter-figure you have to become aware: to which of the 3*3*3=27 places of the cube does the 2nd sound/letter belong.
2.2 A word as a composed figure:
Example to 1. and 2.2:
composed figure for the word "amputi" (AM-PU-TI)
(= "amputate" in the language Esperanto).
Direction + thickness:
AM: left + "as thick as broad" (compare with 1.d);
PU: right up + "2 to 20 times as thick as broad";
TI: right down + "thin".
Alternative 2:
How several letter-figures can be connected to form a word:
    The first letter-figure should be fixed to any (real or mental) object (see more precisely in 2.3).
      The 2nd letter-figure should be fixed to the first letter-figure.
        The 3rd letter-figure should be fixed to the 2nd letter-figure (or like in alternative 2: it should be fixed to the first letter-figure and be smaller than the 2nd letter-figure), the 4th to the 3rd.
        If the last letter-figure shall represent only 1 instead of 2 letters: The letter-figure is fixed turned back.
          It is advantageous if one letter-figure a bit penetrates the other one.
            The figure, that is composed of the letter-figures, must be recalled to your mind after more and more time (compare 2.4.b).
            Often it is enough to store only a part of a word as composed figure.

            2.3 Storage of the composed figures:
            The composed figures (see 2.2) are mentally fixed to other figures that I call "anchor-figures". For this there are the following alternatives:
            Alternative 1: The composed figure of a word is fixed to the object that the word names.
            Alternative 2: If words belong to parts of a bigger unit (object, room, building or area), these words can be fixed to this bigger unit. Example: Composed figures are fixed at/in the human body directly to those parts of the body that they name.
            Alternative 3: In your own surroundings (e.g. part of town, house) you use certain places as anchor-figures where you regularly fix composed figures.
            Alternative 4: You use the following coordinate system. The 6*4 (=24) numbers represent anchor-figures.

            coordinate system with numbers

            24 pictures
            for anchor figures

            24 pictures
            for anchor figures:

            Following you find as an example 24 objects (6*4=24) as anchor figures for the coordinate system:
            1. elephant
            2. dolphin
            3. human
            4. bird
            1. tree
            2. flower
            3. strawberry
            4. banana
            flying vehicles:
            1. airplane
            2. helicopter
            3. balloon
            4. satellite
            ground vehicles:
            1. bicycle
            2. car
            3. dumper truck
            4. bulldozer
            in front
            musical instruments:
            1. guitar
            2. trumpet
            3. saxophone
            4. piano
            1. bed
            2. lamp
            3. sofa
            4. table
            The color of a composed figure depends on which position its anchor-figure has in the coordinate system. The positions 1,2,3 and 4 match the colors yellow, green, white and red.
            See to the right:
            coordinate system with 4 colors matching positions

            2.4 I recommend the following exercise (at least for 2 months):

                a. You use the coordinate system from 2.3, alternative 4 (or you use alternative 3 from 2.3 in a similar way). Every day you use a new group of 4 anchor-figures.
                b. Memorize daily 5-10 words. For this fix daily to each of 4 anchor-figures 1-3 composed figures. 4-6 composed figures you should make early in the morning, and after you have made the last figure, you should repeat them. You should recall these composed figures after about 30 minutes, after further 3 hours and after further 6 hours. The remaining composed figures (up to 6) you should make sometime later during the day.
                c. During the following 4 days repeat the words with the help of the composed figures once a day.
            Example for repetition:
            Today is Friday; in the morning you memorize 4-6 new words (compare 2.4.b).
            Shortly before or after that you repeat the words from Monday (= the oldest words); if you want to repeat a word from Monday also during the following days: fix the composed figure of this word to an anchor-figure that belongs to the anchor-figure group of today (Friday).
            Early afternoon: Repetition of the words from Thursday (from yesterday).
            Late afternoon: Repetition of the words from Tuesday and Wednesday.
                d. Additional repetitions before and after sleeping:
            • Before you sleep you should rapidly repeat the new figures of the present day and the day before; this ends after some weeks.
            • Soon after you wake up you should rapidly repeat the figures of the 2 or 3 last days; after some weeks: after you wake up you only repeat the figures of the last day.
                e. In addition:
            • If you want to repeat single words longer than 4 days, then you can fix their composed figures:
              - to the group of anchor-figures of the new present day;
              - outside the 6 groups of anchor-figures, to a mental or real object. Example: The name of an animal can be fixed directly to an animal, this is possible also when the name/composed figure is still fixed to an anchor-figure.
            • Because there are 6 groups of anchor-figures, an anchor-figure will be newly used after one free day.
            • This exercise in 2.4 can be the basis for the long-term continuous use of the memory help. After 2-3 months with the exercise in 2.4 you could create up to about 20 composed figures daily. At that you can fix 3, 4 or more composed figures to a single anchor-figure.
              You can create up to 12 composed figures directly one after the other; if you do not want to memorize many words, then you can do this only every second day, which results in a longer period of repetition.

            2.5 (Also here the expression „composed figure“ is used according to paragraph 2.2.)
            Recalling a word as a composed figure into your memory can also be used to create a picture or scene to this word, that has associations:
            - to a part or parts of the word (or to the whole word)
            - and preferably also to the meaning of the word.

            3. applications

            3.1 general applications


            You can repeat words from memory when you have time (e.g. words of another language) or when you need them (e.g. keywords / foreign words while you have an examination).
            This memory help helps during the transition from the short-time memory to the long-time memory.

            3.2 special application: the language Esperanto

            The international language Esperanto has been spoken for more than 100 years now. Its word-roots come from different languages; according to frequency: Romance (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish), Germanic (e.g. English, German), Slavic (e.g. Russian) and others. Esperanto has developed a worldwide culture with international meetings, magazines, literature, music, websites and radio programs. Esperanto is easier to learn than other languages and very neutral (therefore it should become one of the working languages of the European Union (EU); at the moment in the EU English and French are preferred to other languages).
            You get information about Esperanto in or

            The main reason, why Esperanto fits particularly well for this memory help: In Esperanto every letter belongs to only one sound.
            In addition: Only one of the 28 Esperanto-letters is not in 1.a (and this letter "ŭ" is not needed for the memory help).

            You can use this memory help e.g.
            - for words from magazine-articles, websites, emails, books or radio programs;
            - for any words, that seem to be important at the moment.

            Esperanto-beginners should combine this memory help with another method: Learning words in context and repeating them after more and more time. (By the way: After some months they should regularly listen to radio programs in Esperanto, e.g. Polskie Radio:

            4. last changes

            29 December 2010: Additional picture in 2.2. Further small changes.
            12 September 2010: For the anchor figures there are 24 pictures. You find additional hints for the usage of the memory help.
            31 December 2009: Now there is (in 2.3) a coordinate system with 24 anchor-figures, before instead if this there was an elephant with 54 (lastly 36) anchor-figures. In addition the use of colors changed.

            Michael Kox

            In other languages:
            German:, www.gedä

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            "Memory help to memorize words" by Michael Kox ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License (; this link refers to a german page, but there is a link to an english version).