Phonetic System



Each number has an assigned letter (or letters) based on a sound, hence the name phonetic system.

s, z, soft c
t, d, th
j, sh, soft ch, dg, soft g
k, hard ch, hard g, ng, qu
f, v
b, p

The vowels (a, e, i, o and u) are used as filler letters.

Numbers can be converted to words by substituting the sounds for each of the numbers. For example, the phone number of Dicksons, my local music shop is 94192144. The numbers can be converted to the words upright piano thrower - look for the letters p r t p n t r r. I can imagine an upright piano being thrown out of the shop onto the street. That's all it takes to remember their phone number.

A list of peg words can be created using the phonetic system. My numbers from 0 to 20 are: 0 saw, 1 tie, 2 Noah, 3 ma, 4 Ra, 5 law, 6 shoe, 7 key, 8 ivy, 9 bee, 10 toes, 11 tot, 12 tan, 13 dam, 14 tyre, 15 towel, 16 tissue, 17 tack, 18 dove, 19 tap, 20 NASA. I have remembered peg words up to 100. Recalling the peg words is not difficult because you can work out the sound from the numbers. For example 22 uses the sounds n and n. My word is nun.

This system may sound complicated but it doesn't take long to remember. You should be able to master it in a couple of weeks of regular daily practice and review.


I memorised my building access code of 3702 by using the phonetic system to convert this hard to remember number into the word moccasin (3 = m, 7 = k, 0 = s, 2 = n). I then imagined a moccasin sitting on top of the number pad. I haven't worked in that building for nearly a year, and I haven't forgotten my access code.

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