Pham Fact: I Rely Heavily on Memory Tricks

I will honestly admit that I am not a fast learner. Some people can just remember something the first time they come across it, but for me it usually takes a bit more time, a lot more repetition for it to stick. As a result, I love using “tricks” to recall information. I find breaking down info into easily understandable chunks makes a big difference for my memory.

A great example would be the Te-Form song that I learned from Gary Starr-Sensei back in high school during Japanese class. The Japanese language has a lot of crazy grammar rules, but the Te-Form is like the MOST IMPORTANT one to remember because so many sentence structures involve conjugating verbs into this form.

This particular Te-Form song goes to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride.”

み, に and び go to んで.
い, ち and り go to small っ and て.
き to いて.
ぎto いで.
If it’s an E-1, here’s what you do.
Just put a て in place of ます.
Mi, ni and bi go to nde.
I, chi and ri go to small tsu and te.
Ki to ite.
Gi to ide.
If it’s an E-1, here’s what you do.
Just put a te in place of masu.

After more than five years, this song is still etched into my memory. I have learned a lot of other Te-Form songs, like the one that sounds like “Jingle Bells,” but Starr-Sensei’s version will always be No. 1 in my book.

ありがとうございました, スター先生!

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