Monday, July 21, 2008

Can't Remember the Spelling of Mnemonic?

You're not alone if you can't ever seem to remember how to spell the word mnemonic. In a recent survey I conducted of co-workers, regulars at the bar down the street and a couple people at the grocery store, I found that well over half of them were unable to spell mnemonic correctly. The results were even worse for young people. So why is it that the very word that is by definition a 'memory aid' is so hard to remember? What can be done to make mnemonic easier to remember?

I talked to a couple people and some of them said we should just change the spelling of the word. The problem was none of them could agree on a new spelling or how to rationalize the new spelling to those people out there with good enough memories or verbal skills that don't have a problem with the current spelling of mnemonic. The new spelling approach was fraught with dissent and potential for embarrassment. Numonic or menomic? Being laughed at and maybe even making the goddess Mnemosyne angry. Bad idea.

What about an acronym I finally thought to myself?

People seem to be OK with "Roy G. Biv" as an aid to remembering the colors of the rainbow; why not an acronym for mnemonic? I ran through a bunch including "My NEMO Never Is Crazy" and "Macabre Neanderthals Eviscerate Mammoths On Nocturnal Icy Coasts" before coming up with "Monkeys Never Eat Mayonnaise On Noodles In Canada". Perfect. Monkeys, noodles and Canada. I mean OK I can't really remember how to spell mayonnaise either but let's take mispelings one at a time, please.

So no more struggling with trying to remember how to spell mnemonic - it's "Monkeys Never Eat Mayonnaise On Noodles In Canada." Easy Peasy.