Tibetan language/Mnemonics and tools of remembrance

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Learning a new language is an ideal discipline to engage the use of memory techniques to maximize efficient retention and re-access of learnings. Two bodies of knowledge that inform this lesson are mnemonics and learning theory. Learning a new vocabulary and orthography often involves associating an inherently meaningless collection of syllables and signs with established concepts in one's first language or mother tongue.

The way to reinforce a learning is to encode it on multiple channels. Channels into our memory are: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and mind. Mind is a channel that may encode directly unmediated through the senses, for example, meditation and dreaming. So anything you want to learn, if these six channels of encoding are maximized they will assist memory retention and assist recall.

  • Learning and memory is enhanced by sensuality. When engaging sight employ vivid colour and encode colour with intention. For example, when transcribing sentences identify different case endings with different colours, for example. moreover, all verbs one colour, adjectives another, etc.

Methods[edit | edit source]

Traditionally, people learning a new language have associated their newly acquired lexemes with the words of their mother tongue by repetition and rote, vocalizing and writing the word in their own language and the foreign language repeatedly. This is inefficient. The following three techniques are valuable language learning tools:

  • conceptual linkage via mnemonics
  • mnemonics of lifepath and kinesphere
  • encode the 100 most common words

Conceptual linkage via mnemonics[edit | edit source]


There are variety of techniques to establish a conceptual linkage. For ease, following MindTools (2009), as a point of entry we define two: 'linkage method' and 'narrative method'.[1] The linkage method involves visualizing but can involve realizing what is visualized in drawings for example to strengthen the powers of visualization. The Tibetan script for 'email' Tibetan: དྲ་འཕྲིན།Wylie: dra.'phrin/ may be visualized superimposed on an image of an email, an email icon is perfect. Bind the visualization with the word/symbol 'em@il' as an additional reinforcement. This example shows a sensible relationship or congruence between the visualization and that which is to be remembered. The conceptual linkage method doesn't need to be sensible just evocative and sensual. It just works. If we knew the correct pronunciation, or stated more correctly the range of pronunciations, then we could also associate the sounds of these with a visualization.

Embodied experience: mnemonics of lifepath and kinesphere[edit | edit source]

The inherent teaching in this modality is to ground your learning in your lived experience. Lifepath is where you have been and where you go. The lifepath everyone of us routes is unique and key to our worldview. Grounding your learning in your lifepath and worldview is a fixed and tangible platform to establish new learnings. That is why if learning as theory becomes learning as practice: it becomes fixed in bodymind. Gold (1994) investigated the continuum of bodymind in his work of comparative Anthopological analysis of the Navajo and Tibetan cultures.[2]. Learning becomes lived experience and embodied. The tangibility is grounding, a ground which fords the cognitive anchoring of new learning and neural firing associating the new with a strong already established neural connectivity. Both Tibetan culture and Buddha Dharma do not have the Cartesian Dualism of Body and Mind. Body and mind is culturally understood as bodymind: an interpenetrating, dynamic, mutually informing continuum.

Anchoring[edit | edit source]

Anchoring is a technique of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). Anchoring is the process by which a particular state or response is associated (anchored) with a unique anchor. An anchor is most often a gesture, voice tone or touch but could be any unique visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory or gustatory stimulus. An anchor is a 'seal' (Sanskrit: mudra). It is claimed that by recalling past resourceful states one can anchor those states to make them available in new situations. A psychotherapist might anchor positive states like calmness and relaxation, or confidence in the treatment of phobias and anxiety, such as in public speaking.[3] Proponents state that anchors are capable of being formed and reinforced by repeated stimuli, and thus are analogous to classical conditioning. Anchoring appears to have been imported into NLP from family systems therapy as part of the 'model' of Virginia Satir.[4]

Encode the 100 most common words[edit | edit source]

Refer Lesson 15.

Readings[edit | edit source]

Exercises[edit | edit source]

  • Source a Tibetan radio station on the Internet to listen to regularly such as Radio Free Asia (RFA):Tibetan Channel (note if you cannot see the Tibetan script in the body of the RFA Tibetan Channel Website, the browser and specifically the browser options specified may need to be altered.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTIM_01.htm (Accessed: Saturday September 5, 2009)
  2. Gold, Peter (1994). Navajo & Tibetan sacred wisdom: the circle of the spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International. ISBN 0-89281-411-X.
  3. Krugman, M., Kirsch, I., Wickless, C., Milling, L., Golicz, H., Toth, A., (1985) "Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth?." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Aug, Vol. 53(4) pp. 526-530. doi:10.1037//0022-006X.53.4.526
  4. Haber, Russell, (2002): "Virginia Satir: An integrated, humanistic approach" Contemporary Family Therapy, Vol 24(1), Mar 2002,p32 pp. 23-34 ISSN 1573-3335 doi:10.1023/A:1014317420921