# MeTaFiLTeR = 318514April 30, 2003 1:07 PM   Subscribe

MeTaFiLTeR = 318514 The Phonetic Numerals system provides a convenient way to remember long strings of numbers. It's really simple: the system replaces the numbers 0-9 with the symbols S, T, N, M, R, L, J, K, F and P (the strikethoughs indicate the difference between the symbol and the letter that it takes the place of). Take a long number (3.1415926, for example), convert it into Phonetic Numerals (MTRTLPNJ), then come up with a phrase using those letters (MoTheR ToiLed a PaN Job.) See? Easy!
posted by me3dia (21 comments total)

According to the guy who created this site, the Phonetic Numeral system was first devised in 1648 (TJRF) by , then redesigned by Gregor von Feinaigle -- whose name may be the basis for the English word finagle -- in the early 1800s.
posted by me3dia at 1:18 PM on April 30, 2003

This system seems very counterintuitive.

I already have my own mnemonic system, as follows:

0 = O
1 = I
2 = T
3 = E
4 = F
5 = V
6 = X
7 = S
8 = A
9 = N

The letters are related either to the appearance of the numerals or to the sounds of the numeral names (in English).
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2003

About as easy as a catholic nun...

Just curious, why do you guys have to remember long strings of numbers anyway? What's the point, couldn't you just write it down? O
posted by banished at 1:29 PM on April 30, 2003

Similar, almost exactly a year ago. Weird. At work, so I can't really check, but I think they're doing the same thing, based on a quick look at the pi example.
posted by Su at 1:33 PM on April 30, 2003

I like yours better, Artifice.

Isn't this a meta-pneumonic? You have to make up a pneumonic to make sense of the code, and then you have to have a pneumonic to decode the code back into numbers? Interesting concept, but for me, it'd be easier to just memorize the number through repetition.
posted by gramcracker at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2003

mnemonic. i knew something in there was silent.
posted by gramcracker at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2003

eye
yaM
wee
TaR
posted by hellinskira at 2:06 PM on April 30, 2003

Su, I can't quite tell, since the Mnemesis site seems to have removed any clear indication of the phonetic system used. I picked pi as an example because it was the first easily recognized long number I could think of.

Artiface, I agree, it's totally counterintuitive, which is what's fascinating to me. Some of the thought processes used to get from the number to the letter are wild -- "K contains two hidden 7’s, lying sideways?" The logic is stupendous. Most interestingly, the author takes liberties with the system, replacing P with B in some cases and ignoring double Symbol letters in others. Very odd.
posted by me3dia at 2:06 PM on April 30, 2003

I cannot understand this. I find sequences of digit names no harder to remember than sequences of any other kind of words. "Three one eight, five one four" is easier that "Mother Toiled a Pan Job", isn't it? And at least in English, digit names are phonetically quite different. Having M and N, and F and P, is just asking for trouble.

I do know that when I remember a number there's a kind of tune or rhythm behind it. A few years our the national telco added an extra digit to most phone numbers - it really screwed me up for a while because the rhythm was all wrong.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:14 PM on April 30, 2003

artifice: might not the reason for choosing those particular letters do with the fact that they are the most commonly occuring consonents in the english language, thereby making it much easier for the user to come up with mnemonics? There aren't that many words starting with X.

gramcracker: that meta-pneumonic you're thinking of is 040
posted by leotrotsky at 2:15 PM on April 30, 2003

uh, that'd be consonants
posted by leotrotsky at 2:17 PM on April 30, 2003

This still doesn't beat my ROT31337 method.
posted by shadow45 at 2:20 PM on April 30, 2003

JeNNy = 8675309
posted by eddydamascene at 2:57 PM on April 30, 2003

I remember credit card numbers, social security, phone numbers, IP addresses etc.. but I have trouble remembering how to spell.
posted by stbalbach at 3:04 PM on April 30, 2003

Leotrotsky: True, but my goal is not necessarily to construct actual words, but just a sequence of pronounceable letters. So my old phone number, 718-218-0068, would become

SIA-TIA-OOXA

The first fifteen digits of pi (3.1415926535897) become

E.IFIVNTXVEVANS

It's nonsense, but pronounceable nonsense.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 4:09 PM on April 30, 2003

Please come over for gay sex.
posted by britain at 5:24 PM on April 30, 2003

Most mnemonic techniques rely on using emotions to store memories - data that are connected to emotions are much easier to remember.

This only works for people that put greater emotional weight on letters or words than numbers.
posted by spazzm at 8:29 PM on April 30, 2003

I could see that being useful if you really needed to write a number down but didn't want it in plain view, but personally I'd find it easier to memorize it. I mean, if I didn't trust myself to remember the number, I really doubt I could trust myself to remember an obscure code to represent the numbers. I'll stick to writing/typing something numerous times to memorize it, thanks.
posted by silvermask at 10:41 PM on April 30, 2003

About 20 years ago I learned a similar system, and tested it out by memorizing a friends phone number. To this day, I still remember the mnemonic phrase I came up with, but since I've long since forgotten the system, I've got no way to determine what the number was.
posted by tdismukes at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2003

I don't buy into using an arbitrary code. I prefer using something in the world and remembering a picture of real-world references -- such as NHL jerseys. A real-world reference, the person, with a number that is strongly associated with that person. 218-0068: Peter Forsberg, Mark Recchi, John Davidson, Jaromir Jagr.

There. I sound like a sports-nerd. But it works.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2003

Learned this YEARS ago, from the first printing of the Lorayne/Lucas "The Memory Book". Very handy stuff.
posted by RavinDave at 12:55 AM on May 2, 2003

« Older Man on Dog Action   |   Best Non-sellers? Newer »