Major System

The Major System is the star of all mnemonic systems. Today, nearly all memory athletes use this system even if it was invented more than three hundred years ago. There have been frequent improvements, however and therefore there are several "inventors" of this method. It was probably a man called Stanislaus Mink von Wennsheim who presented this method for the first time in the mid 17th century. Already in those days, memory artists wanted a system allowing them to memorise and store an undefined number of objects and terms in the brain. In addition, not only numbers and dates were to be memorised, but it was also important to order and classify the stored material in a hundred thousand ways.

The basic concept of the Major system consists of replacing numbers from 0 to 9 by certain consonants or consonant connections according to a specific code and of creating key words on this basis. The same procedure applies to two digit number blocks as 00, 01, 02 and so on.

Here is the table:

Number Letters Explanation
0 s, z, ß, soft c zero
1 t, d, th visual orientation, 1 is visually similar to the letters t and d
2 n the letter n has two vertical strokes
3 m the letter m has three vertical strokes<
4 r if you speak 4, the last letter is r<
5 l If you hold your left hand by bracing the thumb, it shows the letter L
6 j, sh, soft g looks like a script j
7 k, ck, hard c, hard g if you lay a 7 on its left side, it forms a "half" k
8 f, ph,v, w the cursive small f is similar to 8
9 b, p if you turn the number 9 upside down, it is similar to the letters b and p

The vocals a, e, i,o, u and the umlauts ä, ö, ü as well as the letters h, q, x, y, tz do not have any associative functions and are only used as "space characters" or "fill characters" for the creation of the keywords. Double letters in words like letter, glasses and so on only count as one single letter.

Here is an example:For the number 24, the consonants n = 2 and r = 4 should be used in the keyword. Can you imagine a word containing both of these letters and presenting a very memorable image? The suggestion of memocamp is the German word Narr (jester).

You will find a list with suggestions for the numbers from 00 to 99 under "mayorsystem-sampels". Beginners will find the list under "my memocamp". At the beginning, these suggestions are very helpful, however, the images may no longer be concrete enough for you at later stage or you will find better images. In this case, you have to use your own ideas because it will be easier for you to memorise your own images (instead of set examples).