Mnemonic book specialised in learning foreigner language?

Hi Guys,

We all are trying to learn language with mnemonics, and the discussions of the forum really help a lot. But I was thinking that it would be great to make this post to see if anyone knows books of memory techniques that “focus” on learning foreigner language.

By “focus”, I mean books that develops their techniques and go deep explaining their uses in languages. Books that give some sollutions for, by example, suffiling the problem of abstract words (prepositions and Abstrata Concepcts, by example), and of words that simply can’t be linked by sound.

I do know that each one solves it with own ways, but one book explaining some of the most common sollutions would help a lot, at least, giving a first direction.

Just as an example of what I mean. I am brasilian, and am learning german. (the fact of being brasilian and don’t have a perfect english really makes german more difficult, because portuguese words are simply totally different words and pronounce sounds of german).
So it appeared the word “schüchtern” (shy) (in portuguese “tímido”). For this, the only way to make an image was break the word in “sch”, “ücht”, “ern”, and relate those syllabes with my previous “peg words” for every syllabe.

That was my sollution to that problem, and was applied, also, when memorizing prepositions, conjunctions and other abstracta. Those “images”, I stored in diferent memory pallaces.

So, back to the question, are there any books that helps solving those problems? (technically, some questions that i would like to make are: 1) is the PAO system efficient on learning languages (specially if you want to be able to write and read in the language)?Has anyone already tested it? what were the results? 2) is effective the use of a (PAO system + storage in memory pallaces) (used for abstracta) as “alternative” for link system as primary system (for easy words)? 3) Do you think that the classical major system has any effectiveness for those who want to learn just to speak a language, and don’t have time to create the Dominic’s peg words (not my case, but an interesting question, anyway)?

Sorry, first for my english, second for the long email, and third, if this I am asking was already asked in other post ( I searched in the forum, but didn’t found.)

I came across this one by Anthony Metvier a while ago, but not sure if it quite what you are after…


Gavino, thanks for the indication.

In fact, that book supply the point of being “speciallised” or “focused” in the application of memory pallace on languages - and even more close to my main subject, the german language -, and probably can be useful in a fast reading, as an overmap of my problem.

In the otherside, I just finished reading the kindle version available free in amazon, and I noticed that the author, while having the only purpose of building a “practical manual” , don’t appear to go deep in the methodological questions of mnemonics, and its possible aplications to the language (what is coherent with his book’s objective).

Being so, I am sorry, but I wasn’t perfectly clear in the other post.
What I was searching for was a book discussing the use of mnemonics to languages in general (not just german, which is my example), discussing, by example, the different possibilities of aproaches (using different existent methods).

So, I am searhing for a more theoretical approach in the subject: mnemonics on language. There are plenty books with this Thema, but the most will just be those self-help books (in the bad meaning of the word). I’m looking for more complex ones, written by important mnemonists.

Thank you again Gavino!

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I think that the PAO system is mostly for memorizing numbers and cards in competitions. It always breaks numbers up into six digit chunks.

For a word like “schüchtern”, I would break it up into pieces, like you mentioned, and then find similar words that would help create an image.

Example Portuguese words: churr-ascaria (strong “rr”) and terno. You could imagine some meat being served on a suit. To remember that it means “shy”, you can picture a very shy waitress bringing it to you.

Also, check out the study, Mnemotechnics in Second Language Learning.

You might want to look into the memory town method, mnemonic images for alphabets, and mnemonic images for sounds.

I don’t think that it’s essential to make a complete mnemonic system for sounds, but it helps to have images for common sounds. You can create these as you go.

The Dominic system is mainly for numbers and cards. I don’t know if it would help for languages.

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There is a book call learn a language in 7 days by Ramon Campayo,but i don’t know if there is an english version, it is based in mnemonics, although i don’t recommend it,but i dont know it might help you…

I have been writing my final paper for school about learning ancient Greek with the memory palace and I have found out that for me personally, it’s easiest to just learn the words on a site like ‘memrise’ and study on the grammar by using the mind palace.
Also, If you think you have a basic understanding of the language itself, you should try and just read and speak and write in the language which is also a great help.

Comedy is one of the best to explain customs, culture and language.
And, much comedy is constructed as ‘PAO + phrase’
maybe that is sufficient. Maybe Political satire can satisfy your need.

Hi Guys,

Since the time I’ve wrote this post, I used your recommendations, and tried some methods. I will share my results:

First of all, i was studying german by myself, from the zero point.

Second, I used a “LANGENSCHEIDT - basic german vocabulary” book, that has 4000 words commonly used, and that you can find - with some effort - in internet.

Third, about the "methods: for me, the best way to memorise new words, in a fast speed, was the use of 3 methods.

First, the common “link method”. You see the sound of the word you are trying to memorise, relate it with another word with similar sound, and then relate this second word with the meaning - in your natural language - of the first word. Ex: “Mut” (in german) means courage (in english), so my procedure was: Mut remenbers Muk(a Pokemon), and in my image, Muk does a courageous act. To make the link stronger, i give myself an explanation of the situation: 1) why muk is courageous(his little history); 2) what makes this particular act a “courageous” one (by example, he save his friends).

If the “link Method” doesn’t work well with a particular word - and it happens lots of time - i do this:First i cut the word in syllabes. Then, i relate each syllabe of the word, with images (those images, are “peg words”, which I have memorised before, when memorising first german words - in the beginning of the process i needed to create those “peg words”, but after some time, they started repeating. Now, i memorised something like 200 important syllabes of german, and usually do not need new ones).

Then, I relate those “syllabe images” with the “meaning” of the word. Ex: schüchtern = shy: “sch” for me is the sound of “rain”; ücht, for me is “shit”;tern= terno ( portuguese word for suit). Then, im my image, a shy guy is shitting in the rain, covering himself with his suit.

If even this association with the “meaning” isn’t sufficient - and there are cases like this (words without “meaning”, like prepositions, conunctions, and so on), the third method, is to relate the “image syllabes” of the word i want to learn, with the “image syllabes” of the equivalent word in my natural language (portuguese). Ex: für(german) = for(english) = para (portuguese). Then, what i do is: the syllabe"für", remembers me of a “train” (his sound). “pa”, means “shovel”, in portuguese. and “ra” remenbers me “raio”, (portuguese word for “lighting”, “bolt”). So, to learn the word “für”, which mean “para” (for), a see a train in the middle of a storm in which a bolt dig the land (like a shovel does).

The case is that the “link method” is the fastest, then comes de “image syllabe” + meaning in my language, and then if any other one works, i use the “image syllabe” of the word i want to know + “image syllabre” of the word i already know.

The Practical results are:in 1 hour of studie, a memorise 10-15 new words. The memorization process in the third method is slowly, but more efficient. In a full day of study, my record was 75 words.
It is not the most efficient ( i’ve read that some people can memorise more than 200 words in a day), but with this method, i cannot only speak, but also read, listen and write the words i learn with no problems.

  • in the end, it’s important to say that “Ankidroid” app is really a good app for review’s schedule. After memorizing the word of the LANGENSCHEIDT book, the next step is to put in anki and review it in scheduled days.

I studied for 6 months, with medium regularity (didn-t studied everyday, but something like 3 days in a week, 1 hour each day, and in “ONDAF test” I got B1 level (which takes 2 years in regular courses).
I believe that, if someone gets the disciplin to work hard 7-8 hours a day, for a month, this person can achieve the same B1 Level in Ondaf.

Any suggestions to improve this methods would be welcome.

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Hahahahahahaha PURE GOLD. “a shy guy is shitting in the rain, covering himself with his suit” I can never forget that word.


You can get a monolingual dictionary from them for German. It’s cool because you get the German words and the definitions in simplified German along with lots of phrases.

Thanks to Gavino for mentioning my book, too. In it I explain that I don’t think linking is enough for most people (at least those who haven’t previous experience with mnemonics).

What has helped many people is using well-constructed Memory Palaces based on familiar locations and alphabetizing the words. This lets people split the words and then create bridging figures that they can use to create journey-based strings of exaggerated images.

In other words, you get multiple chances to recall the words:

  • The journey helps as an organizational/spatial tool
  • The bridging figure acts as an ongoing decoding tool that fixates on key aspects of the words
  • The associative-imagery when properly created blasts the sounds and meanings of the words back into awareness through “rehearsal” or reconstruction
  • … and more.

Of course, all of this assumes that the person is also regularly reading, writing, hearing and speaking the language.

And that’s why getting a monolingual dictionary a.s.a.p. is so great.

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how do you go about learning the grammar with the memory palace? can you make an example?

Check out Timothy Moser’s “Accelerated Spanish” for a great example of how to use memory palaces to learn grammar.


Check out this website:…it could be .org either way it’s worth it!!!

No books, just online courses that you can record if you have the software