It is common knowledge that comprehension and memory go hand in hand. If you understand the data, the chances of your remembering it are high. If you do not understand the information, it would be very difficult to remember.

Unfortunately in certain instances, you will be required to remember words which do not have a ready-made, tangible meaning for us.

For example, the Greek and Latin terminology that you so frequently come across in subjects like botany, zoology, medical sciences and law, names of innumerable places you encounter in geography and geology, foreign language words, etc do offer lot of difficulties when you try to memorise them.

The single largest contribution to these difficulties experienced in these areas comes from the fact that we do not have enough understanding of these words and phrases.

Now, let us consider the question why it is difficult to commit to memory this kind of words, which we do not understand. In case of words that are meaningful, the word is more likely to trigger off a mental image.

When you read the word “automobile”, it is very probable your mind conjures up the image of a car. This mental image helps you in remembering the word without any difficulty, because what all you have to do is to put the image of the car in its present context.

But, in the case of a foreign language word or phrase, the ability of conjuring up a mental image is not at play, as we are at a loss to decide what the image should look like.

In order to enable yourself to make mental images of the words to which you do not have a meaning, you should first set out to create a sound-alike for the word. The sound-alike, which you create, should be such that it would be easy for us to create a mental picture.

If the word or phrase you want to remember is a little longer, you may have to split it into two or more convenient parts and create sound-alikes to each part and then associate the individual images using VAP – CoMBS.

If you have to also remember the word along with its meaning, you should link the images of the word to the image/s of the meaning. Because of the long explanation, it may look like a very cumbersome and difficult technique. A few examples would make things easy to understand.

The easiest way of learning the sound-alike system is to look at some examples of how you can use it in learning vocabulary.

Some Examples:

Example 1

Diligent – hardworking

Use a little imagination, and split the word Diligent into two parts: Dili and Gent. Now think of some “soundalike” words for the above two parts.

Dili very closely sounds like (New) Delhi. And gent sounds like Gent.

Now the Sound-alike of Diligent is Delhi Gent

It is easier to visualise Delhi Gent than Diligent. Now we will associate Delhi Gent with Hardworking.

A simple association could be “Delhi Gents are hardworking”. Just take a moment and see this image in your mind’s eye. If you want to have fun (pleasure), you can even visualise “Delhi gents hardly work!”

Example 2

Ebullient – excessive joy; enthusiasm

Split the word Ebullient – A Bull Ant

Imagine that you went to watch a boxing championship between a bull and an ant. There are so many people who came to see this championship and everyone is overflowing with joy as they are seeing this first-of a kind event in their entire lives.

Applications of This Memory System

Memorise English Vocabulary
Memorise Foreign Language Vocabulary
Memorise Botanical/zoological/scientific names
Memorising any abstract information