Tag Archives: Mnemonics

Great Design

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of SER, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

My third book is currently being published.  My first follow-up book covered the Spanish verb estar, and this second follow-up book covers the Spanish verb ser.  Both of these expansion books utilize and extend the foundational system in the original book.

Considering estar and ser are loosely related, conflated, and easily confused, I figured it made sense to publish distinctive works on this pair of frequently used verbs.  And so in a way, these two expansion books are worth more than the sum of their parts.

In my opinion, this book has some of the best mnemonics and visualizations yet.

One of the strong selling points of this series of Flawless Recall books is it provides enough instruction so that you can eventually generate your own custom expansion content for any irregular verb that you like.  And for the ambitious student or teacher, they could possibly take the entire system, and look at adapting it to a completely different language.

The book is currently working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://books.apple.com/us/book/flawless-recall-expansion-book-memorize-irregular-conjugations/id6443567341

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1142359150

https://books2read.com/u/bOnnrN

Great Design

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of ESTAR, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

I released my first book last month, and now I’ve released a follow-up to it – Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of ESTAR, For Students And Teachers.

This follow-up book is very, very interesting because it demonstrates how the original system for regular Spanish verbs can be re-used, to a significant degree, for different irregular Spanish verbs.

To anyone who’s struggled with this aspect of Spanish, and wanted to finally memorize these conjugations, I can’t recommend these books enough!

Right now the book is working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFCVN3NX

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-expansion-book-alexander-van-berg/1142239905

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1305006085/flawless-recall-expansion-book-memorize

https://books2read.com/b/4D6gK7

Given that irregular Spanish verbs tend to be even more jagged and chaotic than regular Spanish verbs, a good memorization system really makes sense.

The common teaching style in schools tends to revolve around rote memorization, and the analogy here would be traveling in Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto.  Rote memorization is like crawling there with a heavy ball and chain shackled to your ankle, while a good mnemonic system is like taking the bullet train.  Yes, the bullet train still takes time to get there, but it gets there a lot faster than crawling, and more importantly, it’s also reliable.

Great Design

Flawless Recall: Universal Memorization Method For Conjugating Regular Spanish Verbs, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

Well, I finally broke down and wrote a book.  These days the process is seductively simple.  You can write any book you want, in a Word document if you want, and then publish it pretty much everywhere through a service like Draft2Digital, for free.

An eBook and a print book are making their way to all the marketplaces right now.  Amazon takes a little bit longer due to their gating procedures, but right now the book is actually available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9Q9S6GSminor eBook outlets and also intermittently at Barnes & Noble:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9Q9S6GS

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1288226705/flawless-recall-universal-memorization

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-alexander-van-berg/1142006254

https://books2read.com/b/b6R1jZ

This book provides a reliable way to finally memorize regular Spanish verb conjugations across 18 tenses.  (In this book, the subjunctive and imperative “moods” are called tenses just for simplicity).

I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who’s wanted to accomplish that goal, but has struggled to do so.  If that sounds like you, keep an eye out for this book at your favorite marketplace!

Before I designed this system, I had spotty recall on maybe just a few tenses.  I’m now able to write out the entire 18-tense conjugation chart purely from memory, and I also have a better understanding of what the tenses actually are.  (If you’re counting, that chart has upwards of 200 or more facts, and those facts are not conveniently packaged.)

Academically speaking, this represents a canonical and accessible implementation of a relatively difficult goal: State-of-the-art mnemonics properly fitted to language learning.  I would characterize this book as a seminal publication.

The print book will soon be available (through standard vendors) for physical bookstores, libraries, schools, and universities to order, so if your local book centers would benefit from this type of book, be sure to suggest it to them.

Miscellany

My Contribution To The Mnemonics State Of The Art?

In my previous post, I talked about some products designed to improve mental speed and memory.  As an absolute beginner, I don’t anticipate too many novel insights on my part, but I did discover a few things that didn’t seem to be covered, and might be worth sharing.

(If you aren’t familiar with the subjects in that previous post, the following won’t be very useful to you.)

1.  Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory teaches the listener how to organize memories so they are easily accessible later.  With the methods that are shared, one tends to end up with a lot of different ordered lists.  (Ordered lists are a strong motif in the course, but it’s not the only memory application taught.)

For example, one might memorize all the U.S. presidents in order, the periodic table of elements, the human bones, and so on.  For a task like that, at least two memory systems were taught.  Using the primary system, each element of each list goes onto a “peg”.

You develop various “peg lists”.  The peg lists are ordered.  Some peg lists might be 10 pegs long.  Others might go up to 100, or even more.  The pegs are where you place the individual items to remember.

You pick the peg list you feel is best for the ordered list of data to memorize, and then, using specific criteria, go element by element and associate the ordered elements with the ordered pegs, pairwise.

But with even just a few ordered lists, it seemed to me like sometimes one of the challenges is remembering which peg list you used.  And furthermore, it seems to me that when you do remember the peg list that you used, and then remember the first peg/item memory that you created, the rest of the list, at that point, gets recalled relatively easily.

Therefore, if the first peg/item association has greater significance, greater effort should go into creating it.

Taking the example of U.S. presidents in order, George Washington will be the first item.  As far as the peg list to use, the listener can pick from various peg lists that were taught in Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory: the “tree list”, the “body list”, the “house list”, and also a custom list based on the major system.

The best list to use virtually gives itself away in this case.  The “tree list” begins: tree, light switch, stool, …  (Although that list only has 20 pegs to begin with, the listener is challenged to add more, and in this case will need to create 26 more.)

The “body list” begins: toes, knees, muscle

(My) “house list” begins: chest, dresser, map…

The major-system list begins: tie, Noah, mow

The list to use really is a dead giveaway.  The “tree list” is absolutely what should be used.  George Washington and the cherry tree he felled are part of the national consciousness.  There’s even a little bit of scandal and drama, and that makes it even better.  His act of chopping it down will be the memory, that, in this case, doesn’t even need to be dreamed up; all the hard work has already been done for us.

Several years later, when you want to randomly recall the list of U.S. Presidents, and you have also memorized hundreds of other lists, I believe it will be very important to remember the peg list that was used, and the first peg/item association.  And since a natural and intuitive first peg/item association has been created (more like adopted in this case), that will not be a problem.

Diving a little deeper into cognitive psychology, the instructor talks about how once you mentally get a handle on something related to what you want to remember, it’s like grabbing ahold of a chain that you can start pulling on.  So the idea here would be like we are trying to make that first chain link big and easy to find.

If I were daring enough to create terminology for this concept, I would label this first peg/item association the door association” and/or the window association”.

In my opinion, it’s tangibly more important than the rest of the associations to come, and so additional care should be given to it.

Finally, perhaps there is also a generalization of this idea, or at least an application for any level of granularity.  Going down the presidents list, I realized I could recall the other presidents easily, but for some reason 27 was difficult.

27 letters in the Spanish alphabet.

 

My 27th peg in the tree list is morion, and there was no trouble remembering that.  In the presidents list, William H. Taft needed to be associated with it.  My visualization was an NFL player in the NFL draft (“Taft”) being selected at the podium in a celebration, and then he kicks a morion into a TV and it goes into the TV programming, which is showing an old-style H-shaped field goal (“H.”), and it bounces around the goal posts and then through the goal posts, and then the morion finally hits another visual representation I have for “William”.  The reason 27 was taking longer to recall is because the morion was not immediately active.

Having to wait for the NFL player to hold up a jersey at the podium (to signify this was the NFL draft) was delaying the introduction of the morion, which was the mental peg.  When I got to 27, my mind was searching for action involving a morion, but my visualization started with action not involving a morion, and also made it so that the morion’s action was not obviously the most significant action – the draft selection could be viewed as equally significant or even more significant which just creates more “noise” that distracts the mind.  (And to make matters even worse, there was almost no memorable connection between the draft selection and the player then kicking a morion into a TV.)

Just a split-second delay, and just an ounce of ambiguity can stall the memory recall, or prevent it altogether.  Therefore, applying the “door/window association” principle at this level of granularity would mean etching the mental peg first and foremost within the visualization, and also striving to elevate its significance as much as possible.

 

2.  In general, and certainly in specific situations, spend extra time creating multiple mental linkages.

The custom major-system list taught in Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory goes up to 100.  Pegs 60-69, as taught, are below:

  • cheese
  • cheetah
  • chain
  • gym
  • shower
  • shell
  • judge
  • sheikh
  • shave
  • Jeep

I don’t think that list is very good, and I’ll elaborate more on this shortly.   Furthermore, 60-69 is especially difficult because the words can begin, phonetically, with three different consonant sounds (ch, sh, j).  That alone makes this series of 10 pegs more difficult to remember than the other 90 pegs.

It’s worth the effort to improve the list.

The image of a horse jockey is clear, crisp, loud, and unambiguous in the mind's eye: garish clothing, huge helmet, short stature, and a short whip. Photo courtesy of Benoit Photo.
The image of a horse jockey is clear, crisp, loud, and unambiguous in the mind’s eye: garish clothing, huge helmet, short stature, and a short whip. Photo courtesy of Benoit Photo.

Here’s my customized 60-69:

  • cheese
  • cheetah
  • china
  • shim
  • shore
  • shell
  • judge
  • jockey
  • shave
  • Jeep

(For me, “china” as in “fine china” is what works best, but for someone else, it could just as easily be uppercase “China”. )

Here’s why I prefer the customized list that I created:

 

•  Much better verbal flow.

“cheetah” verbally flows/rolls to “china” much more naturally/fluidly than “chain”.  “cheetah china…” just rolls off the tongue much more naturally than “cheetah chain”, and most people will quickly realize that when trying to memorize about 100 other pegs.

Good verbal flow from “shim” to “shore”.

And so on.

 

•  Much better semantic flow.

The semantic link from “shore” to “shell” is very good.

The semantic link from “shell” to “judge” is vaguely kind of good once you consider the idea of a fraudulent shell corporation.

And so on.

 

•  Also, just better individual pegs.

For example, the mental image of a “sheikh” was bound to look like an abstract Arab, and this would later present a problem when trying to remember why in the world you have a mental picture of an “Arab” in a memorized list you’re going through.  On the other hand, a (horse) jockey is a much cleaner, crisper, louder, unambiguous image, unlikely to be confused with anything else.

But on the other hand, “shore” will definitely be confused with “beach” later on, unless you devise a way to disambiguate it.  My method for that was to visualize “shore” as very rocky, without sand, without people, and overcast – basically the opposite of a beach postcard teeming with humanity.

etc.

 

Sub-item #1 (better verbal flow) and #2 (better semantic flow) constitute the additional mental linkages that make the updated list superior, in my opinion.

You’ve added more ways to remember a list.