The Phonetic Alphabet
The key to memorising PINs is the Phonetic Alphabet. This is based on the simple concept that there are ten digits in our numerical system, and also ten basic consonant phonetic sounds.

For example, think of the letters 'p' and 'b'. When you pronounce the letter 'p' your lips and tongue are in the same position as when you say the letter 'b'. For the purposes of the Phonetic Alphabet, these letters can be classified as one phonetic sound.

Similarly, think of the letter 'm'. When you pronounce 'm' you have your lips together, as if you are going to hum a tune. No other letter in the alphabet requires your lips, tongue, and teeth to be in that position for pronounciation, so the letter 'm' can be classified as a phonetic sound on its own.

There are ten groups of basic phonetic sounds, and each group is paired against one of the ten digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0. The following table illustrates the groupings, together with some simple memory aids to help you remember them.

Phonetic Sound
Memory Aid
1 = t or d the letter t has one downstroke
2 = n the letter n has two downstrokes
3 = m the letter m has three downstrokes
4 = r the word 'four' ends in the letter r
5 = l the Roman numeral for 50 is l
6 = j,sh,ch,or soft g j is almost like a 6 the other way round.
7 = k,hard g,hard c, q the letter k contains two 7's, back to back
8 = f,v,ph a handwritten 'f' and 8 both have two loops
9 = p,b the letter p is the mirror image of 9.
0 = s, z, or soft c the word 'zero' begins with the letter z

Vowels have no value in the phonetic alphabet and are disregarded, as are all the consonants not listed. They are used simply as 'fillers' when transposing numbers to words. For example, the number 32 translates to the letters 'm' and 'n'. Using the filler vowel 'a' gives us the word 'man', which immediately transposes back to the number 32. Consonants not listed above also have no value in the Phonetic Alphabet - these are h, w, and y.

Study the above table carefully, right now, and memorise the rules. When you think you know them, try the following exercise to test yourself. Press the Start Test button to begin.


Each time the Start Test button is clicked, a new set of questions will be presented.

When you are consistently getting all the answers correct, you have mastered the Phonetic Alphabet, and ready to learn how to transpose numbers into words. Press the Right Arrow button at the bottom of the page to proceed to the next section.

If you find the memory systems and exercises in this course interesting, information on a more general memory improvement course by the same author, Total Recall may be found by clicking here.

There are also some excellent memory training books & tapes available from Click on a picture for more information, reviews, etc. :

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