Intelligence Intensification/Memory Techniques/Memorizing Numbers and Digits
Numbers are frequently encountered that a person would do well to memorize, and yet the fact that numbers involve abstract and usually random patterns can make this difficult. However, using the following system (known as the mnemonic major system) they can be converted into much easier-to-remember words and phrases:
|0||z, s, soft c||"z" is the first letter of zero. The others have a similar sound|
|1||t, d||t has one downstroke d has a similar sound(some variants include th)|
|2||n||n has two downstrokes|
|3||m||three downstrokes, also "3" looks like "m" on its side|
|4||r||last letter of four|
|5||l||L is the Roman Numeral for 50|
|6||j, sh, ch, soft g||a script j has a lower loop / g is almost a 6 rolled around|
|7||k, hard c, hard g, q, qu||capital K contains two sevens|
|8||f, v||script f looks like a figure-8|
|9||b, p||P is a mirror-image 9, b sounds similar|
|Unassigned||Vowel sounds, w,h,y||These can be used anywhere without changing a word's number value|
- Similar sounds are grouped together. Since you do almost exactly the same thing with your mouth to produce the s sound as to produce the "z" sound they are treated the same. Likewise for the other groupings
- This system uses sounds, NOT spelling. So "Pitch" will be 96 not 916 because "thc" makes a "ch sound" like "peach","funny" is 82 not 822 because the double n is pronounced the same as a single n, and "mix" is 370 because "x" makes a "ks" sound.
Simple Examples 
Words Into Numbers 
- major system=3640013
- daffy duck=1817 (the double f is 8 not 88 because it is phonetic)
- Tax dodger=170164 (X has the KS sound dg has the j sound)
- "Motherhood will be no joy. All my life-puke!" =3.1415926535897- the first 14 digits of pi
- "Motörhead will be a no-show. Lemmy helluva puke!" =3.1415926535897- another mnemonic for pi- imagine the band canceling because the singer is sick.
Numbers Into Words 
- 3141592 = "meatier tailbone" (first seven digits of pi)
- 6535897 = "Shalom live big" next seven digits of pi
- 9323846= "bemoan movie roach" (next 7 digits) -visualize PETA feeling sorry for the 6-legged animal actors who got stomped
- 90210 = bassinets
- notice I broke pi into 7 digit sections- that is to demonstrate what this can do for phone numbers.
For an example of this system's flexibility, consider the sequence 5121734395 (the numbers were taken from a lottery draw 5-12-17-34-39-mega5,but could just as easily represent any 10-digit number)
Breaking it as 5121 734 395 yields:
- 5121 = latent,lightened,Aladdin would,Old Ned,etc
- 734 = camera, Gomorrah, Gomer, gamer, comer, come-here,came here etc
- 395 = ample, employ, employee, humble, humbly, immobile, impala, imply, etc
simply combining the words listed above yields 4x7x8=224 possible phrases such as "latent camera employee", "Aladdin would come here humbly", or "Old Ned came here immobile". The fact that this list is far from complete and only shows one possible way to break the numbers demonstrates power and flexibility of this system.
The major system can make otherwise random numbers surprisingly easy to remember, and as such it is useful for memorizing phone numbers, PIN numbers, addresses, dates for world events, etc. Using just such an approach it becomes possible for some people to construct epic stories that catalog thousands of digits of pi, or hundreds of telephone numbers, or whatever else might be needed or desired out of the system.
This system is particularly powerful when combined with the pegword system. It can be used to generate pegword lists longer than are possible with rhymes. It can also be combined with a pegword system to memorize more structured data such as charts.See parent module for an explanation of pegwords. See A Longer Peglist for a major-system derived peglist. See Memorizing Playing Cards for a technique that applies this system to cards. When combined with peg systems it can be used to memorize more organized and structured data such as charts seeThe Periodic Table for an example (currently under construction- you can help).
- Take words from any source and convert them into numbers. Continue until you no longer have to keep looking at the chart.
- Take 20 phone numbers, come up with words for them, and visualize the words associated with the person. Images that are funny and/or insulting work best.
- With a little practice this system becomes automatic.
Lottery Examples 
As lotteries involve random number patterns, they can be used for practicing this system. They also allow more advanced practice by linking the numbers of the draw to the date.
For example on February 5, 2003, right after the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia the lottery numbers were 5-26-30-14-33 with mega number 5. This translates exactly into the phrase "a launch mystery, my oh my - oh well". Since lotteries involve sets of single and two digit numbers and the draw order does not matter, you could just as well imagine saying to a parent: "Well mom, I enjoy dreams." which yields the same set of numbers, but in a different order, i.e., 5-33-26-14-30 with the same mega number 5.
On February 20, 2008, the day a total lunar eclipse was visible over much of the world, the numbers for the California Super Lotto were 2-6-17-41-45 with mega number one. The sequence 261741451 would be easy to remember, and associate with the eclipse as the phrase "I ENJOYED A GREATER LIGHT".
With practice it becomes straightforward to link news events, to lists of numbers, to specific winning combinations. Consider for example the Laci Peterson missing persons case. The phrase "my love may be near the bay" yields the sequence 3-5-8-39-24 with mega number 19, which was actually drawn on March 5, 2003 - about the time that the Laci Peterson case was officially classified a homicide. Likewise the June 28, 2003 draw was 1-5-11-13-18 and 22 which yielded "die - he will die die die - he might have no one."
Another example of flexibility 
For demonstration, another set of examples for the California Super Lotto will be presented, using the results from the draw on Valentines Day 2004. As can be seen, is is often possible to construct a rather large variety of grammatically correct English sentences or phrases which will cipher into an indicated set of numbers. This is especially true when memorizing numbers where there is some flexibility in which the numbers are ordered, i.e. for most Lottery type games. There are of course situations where the numbers must be remembered only in an exact particular order, and the system will not be as flexible in those cases.
For the numbers 31-21-36-22-45 mega 10
ANYONE MAY WISH - HE MIGHT KNOW WHAT REALITY IS. I IMAGINED REALLY MAD INNUENDOS. A NEWTONIAN MESH? REAL METHODS. A NEWTONIAN MESH - MATH REALITIES. I MADE A NEWTONIAN MESH. REALITY IS. A REAL NEWTONIAN MESH MADE WHAT IS. WE ARE ALMIGHTY NEWTONIAN MIDGETS. HE WONT MATCH ANYONE. REALLY MAD AT US. YOU REALLY MIGHT NOT MATCH ANYONE: WHO DOES? I MIGHT NOT MATCH ANYONE - WHO REALLY DOES? YOU REALLY MIGHT NOT MATCH ANYONE WITH US. I WANT A MATE. MY WISH: A MATCH. NO ONE REAL? I WOULD SIGH. ANYONE REALLY WANT A MATE? A MATCH DOES. IN TIME SHE MIGHT KNOW WHEN REALITY IS. MY WISH? - I WANT A REAL MATE. ANYONE? NO ONE REALLY MADE MY WISH - I WANT WHAT IS! I REALLY MADE A MATCH IN ONE NIGHT. TWICE! IN ONE NIGHT I MADE A REAL MATCH. DO YOU SEE? EARLY ON, ONE NIGHT I MADE A MATCH. TO US!
Making Exceptions to the rules 
Sometimes situations will arise where it is better to deviate from the system. If a perfect phrase comes very close to fitting the numbers, or if certain number combinations just will not yield good words, you may choose to make exceptions to the rules.
For the first example, the phrase KATRINA IS NOT OUR CONCERN would translate into the sequence 7142021472042, which would ALMOST match the winning numbers for the another winning combination that actually came up on the California Lottery some time not too long after hurricane Katrina, i.e. as the set 7,14,20,21,47 and 42, except for the fact that that the mega number on the California Super Lotto only goes as high as 27, and the actual mega number when that particular set came up was 24, not 42! However there is an extra leading zero inserted into the stream that contains the comment about hurricane Katrina, just before the 42. Thus, this phrase serves as an example of how it is sometimes useful to bend the system slightly. If a pass phrase is discovered that is too good to resist, but it otherwise involves a nonsensical transposition, then it is often best to use the nonsensical transposition anyway - because the mental image is so strong.
Another case often arises with difficult telephone interchanges such as 838 or 552, or with repeated numbers such as "55" or "00" combinations. Sometimes it can be very difficult to make meaningful words out of these numbers. If you live in an area with one or two "problem" interchanges you may wish to make special rules for these particular numbers. For example, if the list of phone numbers you wish to remember has a lot of 552 numbers, then for those numbers you may choose to memorize only the last 4 digits. When recalling phone numbers, if the catchphrase only yields a 4-digit number, you will automatically know you are dealing with a 552 number. Some people may wish to reserve the letter "x" for double-zero combinations. While the sound produced is "ks" (70), if a person were to reserve words SPELLED with "x" for the double-zero sound, that person would have an exception which works for him or her. Some words (for example "ing" verbs) can be intentionally mispronounced turning words like "fishing", and "fighting" into "fishin'" and "fightin'".
There are of course other examples where it is important to remember a lot of numbers quickly, but it is not critical to remember the exact order. Lottery numbers are one example where the exact order is not always important, and some of the examples on this page show that. Another example is in playing cards. When keeping track of which cards have been played and which cards remain, the order is not important. On the page Memorizing Playing Cards the section destroying shows a method to track dealt cards without regard to the order.
As this system is a memory aid for your own mind, it is generally better to use whatever works best yourself than to insist on rigidly following the system's rules.