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Multi-lingual Mnemonics

Mr. Ian Gary Pixsley
Mr. Ian Gary Pixsley (5 posts) EAL Coordinator View Profile

There are certain words that we just don’t get write, no matter what.  For me it’s typing the word ‘the’, it always comes out as teh.  There are also words that we just can’t spell, for example, I always get the word ‘necessarily’ wrong.  Now thanks to autocorrect and spell checkers it is not neccesarily important that I have the ability to spell necessarily correctly. Or is it?


In the Y11 ESL classes, we were looking at spelling words and ways to learn new forms of vocabulary. We looked at several ways, from learning synanyms, to translating, to writing sentences in context and having dedicated vocabulary books. One of the more interesting ways to help us to remember words and spellings is by using mnemonics.  We found some of the examples we were given interesting and so I thought I wood share them here. 


There is a rat in separate.

Father and mother, I love you! FAMILY

I get stressed when I eat too many desserts. (The difference between deserts and desserts)

RAVEN-Remember; affect-verb, effect-noun


I really liked the smiley happy face to help remember the vowles in English:



Mnemonics feature in many parts of our education, from the very start, such as learning the colours of the rainbow (Richard of York gave battle in vain) to directions on a compass (naughty elephants squirt water).  Ask any of my Y7 students what FANBOYS are, and they will probebly sigh and chant, ‘for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so’ (conjunctions for compound sentences).


One of the great features of mnemonics is that they stay with us. I still to this day can tell you the order of taxonomy from Biology class. Kids prefere crisps over fried green spinach. (Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species). Mrs. Aspel would be so proud!


We can also use mnemonics when learning a new language. I recently learnt the word for straw in Portuguese: canudo. How do I remember this? What can u do to save the Earth? Use less straws!


I asked my students for some examples that they remembered and these are a few examples that I recieceved:



How to remember the spelling of yoga in Korean.



It says "Lincoln (ex-American president) drank 3 cups of American coffee."

This letter is extremely hard to spell so we use mnemonic to remember using other letters including all types of letters.


This is to remember the planets of the solar system and their order. (Mercurio, Venus, Tierra, Marte, Júpiter, Saturno, Urano, Neptuno) this is the order. Mi Vieja Tía María Jamás Supo Usar Números.


Ir in Spanish means to go. The student remembers, ‘We’re going to Ireland’.



Threading the words together to declare your love in Hanja


 "מת אתמול פרופסור לבוטניקה בפנטגון הקסום". המולקולות בהתאמה הן: מתאן, אתאן, פרופאן, בוטאן, פנטאן והקסאן.

The first letter of each word represents the first letter of the organic chemical, methane. 


With exams looming on the horizon for many of our students, mnemonics is a valuable tool to help us revise and remember. Who nose, you may remember this blog in 30+ years……





There are several spelling/vocabulry errors in this blog. Can you find them all? There are 10….or are there?