Ben System

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The Ben System was created by Ben Pridmore.

General Background

In the Ben System, the information to be memorized is chunked and encoded into consonant-vowel-consonant sounds that are the basis for the mnemonic images. Ben's description:[1]

The basic principle is the same as everyone else uses, visualising images at points along a mental route or journey. I don't use the person-action-object ideas of some people, I just have three 'objects' at each point on my route. Some of these objects are people, some are things. I 'see' them arranged from left to right, or top to bottom, and interacting in various ways according to rules I made up as I went along, depending on which objects come together in what order. Each object is made from a combination of two playing cards, or three decimal digits, or ten binary digits. The name of the object starts with a one-syllable sound made up of a consonant, a vowel and another consonant.
  • Decimal numbers are chunked in threes which become the consonant-vowel-consonant.
  • Binary numbers chunked in tens, and chunked again into 4-3-3 which become the consonant-vowel-consonant.
  • Playing cards are chunked in pairs. The consonant-vowel-consonant is derived from the 2 suits combined (consonant), first card (vowel), second card (consonant).

Decimal numbers

Numbers are chunked in threes. 974141744 would become 974-141-744:

  • 974 = bEr = this could be a beer
  • 191 = tOt = this could be a totem pole
  • 714 = kor = this could be a carrot

(see Ben's notation below)

Decimals
First consonant (first digit) Vowel (second digit) Second consonant (third digit)
0 = s
1 = t
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = gj
7 = k
8 = f/th
9 = b
0 = 'oo' as in 'you'
1 = 'a' as in 'cat'
2 = 'e' as in 'pet'
3 = 'i' as in 'kitten'
4 = 'o' as in 'tom'
5 = 'u' as in 'puss'
6 = 'A' as in 'hay'
7 = 'E' as in 'bee'
8 = 'I' as in 'high'
9 = 'O' as in 'low'
0 = s
1 = t
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = g
7 = k
8 = f/th
9 = b

Binary numbers

Binary numbers are chunked in tens and then in 4-3-3. 1001111100 would become 1001-111-100:

  • 1001-111-100 = bEr = this could be a beer

(see Ben's notation below)

Every set of 10 binary digits becomes an image, and three images are placed per locus.

Binaries
First consonant (first digit) Vowel (second digit) Second consonant (third digit)
0000 = s
0001 = t
0010 = n
0011 = m
0100 = r
0101 = l
0110 = g/j
0111 = k
1000 = f
1001 = b
1010 = p
1011 = d
1100 = h
1101 = sk/sn/sm
1110 = st/sp
1111 = sh/sl/sw
000 = 'oo'
001 = 'a'
010 = 'e'
011 = 'i'
100 = 'o'
101 = 'u'
110 = 'A'
111 = 'E'
000 = s
001 = t
010 = n
011 = m
100 = r
101 = l
110 = g
111 = k

Playing cards

First, watch how Ben starts at the bottom of the deck: video.

The first two suits are combined to create the first consonant; the first card's value becomes the vowel; and the second card's value becomes the final consonant.

Two cards per image and three images per locus fits six cards per locus.

Example

If the two cards are 7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds, the first sound comes from the heart/diamond combination (b). The 7 becomes the vowel "E" (in Ben's notation, see below), and the 4 is an "r".

7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds is "bEr", which could be an image of a beer. The images overlap: 974 and 1001111100 are the same image as 7 of hearts and 4 of diamonds. See how the images overlap on Josh's variation of the Ben System.

Cards Table

Cards
First consonant Vowel Second consonant
club/club - k
club/diamond - t
club/heart - n
club/spade - m
diamond/club - r
diamond/diamond - d
diamond/heart - l
diamond/spade - g/j
heart/club – f/th
heart/diamond - b
heart/heart - h
heart/spade - p
spade/club - sk/sn/sm
spade/diamond - st/sp
spade/heart - sh/sl/sw
spade/spade – s
A = 'a' as in 'cat'
2 = 'e' as in 'pet'
3 = 'i' as in 'kitten'
4 = 'o' as in 'tom'
5 = 'u' as in 'puss'
6 = 'A' as in 'hay'
7 = 'E' as in 'bee'
8 = 'I' as in 'high'
9 = 'O' as in 'low'
10 = 'oo' as in 'you'
J = 'ow' as in 'cow'
Q = 'or' as in 'oor'
K = 'ar' as in 'car'
A = t
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = g
7 = k
8 = f/th
9 = b
10 = s
J = j/sh/ch
Q = p
K = d

Resources

References

  1. http://www.memoryconsulting.com/pridmore.htm