is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2022. All Rights Reserved.

5000 People as a Peg System


The 5000 people system were planned out as a way to represent foreign words which are spelled with a consonant, a vowel, a consonant and then a vowel.

Another purpose would be assistance in memorising long numbers (since each person represents a 4 digit number from 0000 to 4999).

I was also interested in using mnemonic images to contain answers to maths multiplication; so the clothes and hair of these people, typically, contain the answer to a multiplication question.

Later, when I thought that these people could be imagined saying 'Scripted Sentences', they took on new purpose: a way to practise rote sentences in the foreign language you are learning.

You could also use the people as a peg system: using person 0000 to imagine a story where exam fact 1 occurs (or is spoken); using person 0001 to imagine a story where exam fact 2 occurs (or is spoken); and so on.

There is a method of involving a peg person in more than one visual scene so that, rather than there being 5000 pegs, there would be more. For example, if each person can perform 10 actions then it is the person doing one action that is the peg; and the recipient of the action is the exam item you are trying to learn.

A weakness of a 'combination' approach such as 'person does action' is that, although it works well for a small number of pegs, eventually, you have a system where tens of people are doing the same actions and same-iness happens: you struggle to visualise unique peg stories because so many look like each other.

But, if you know a 1000 action system then you can reduce the same-iness a lot. Within the first 1000 people of the 5000 people system:

Actions 000 to 009 can be used solely by people 0000 to 0009; actions 010 to 019 can be used solely by people 0010 to 0019; actions 020 to 029 can be used solely by people 0020 to 0029; actions 030 to 039 can be used solely by people 0030 to 0039.

So, although different people use the same actions, there is a limit to how many peg stories use any one action.

There is potential to use another 1000 people (people 1000 to 1999) in a similar way by using the 1000 actions again; but that is at the risk of too much same-iness. I guess that same-iness can be overcome by revising a story so often that your own regular memory begins to distinguish different stories; but memory techniques are meant to make life easier - and same-iness reduces ease. It's a case of pros and cons.

Person and Action and Foreign Language Overlap

The 5000 system person doing a limited set of actions sounds good but it could overlap and confuse the use of the 5000 people system for learning foreign vocabulary.

What I want to do with the Scripted Sentences work is to associate some of the 5000 people system people with an English language meaning. Then imagining the person doing an action on the object will be a way of revising how to pronounce the first 4 or so letters of the word in a foreign language.

But that repurposes the person:action image that is being used by the peg system.