Mnemonic Clue #51


The Problem:  The spelling of pronunciation.


This month the mnemonic clue is personal.  I have always had difficulty spelling the words pronounce, pronunciation, punctuate and punctuation.   As I was flying to Idaho to conduct a workshop, I was writing, but without my usual spelling tools:  my electronic dictionary, paper dictionary, computer spell check or my wife Anne-Louise on the phone.  I was stuck trying to spell pronunciation.  I tried many different spellings and one of them may have even been correct but, like so many individuals who are poor spellers, once I have tried to spell a word a number of ways I become very confused and give up in frustration.  The only calming thought was that I would soon be off the plane and able to call Anne-Louise for the correct spelling.  I decided that I would end my frustration with the spelling of the words pronounce, pronunciation, punctuate and punctuation.  But first, why do I struggle so much with spelling?  There are three reasons why I am a poor speller, 1) blurred hearing, 2) a right/left discrimination problem and 3) a racing mind.  Starting with the last one, I do not pay much attention to the details in words.  In other words, when I read I only look at a word or parts of a word long enough to recognize it.  I usually do not pay attention to all the letters in the words as I read.  The second problem is a right/left problem that means that any either/or relationship is confusing.  The spelling of many words has this relationship.  The primary reason is blurred hearing which means that I am not able to distinguish the subtle sounds in words.  These learning differences mean that I have problems spelling the words pronounce, pronunciation, punctuate and punctuation.  

The Mnemonic Clue

This clue deals with pronounce and pronunciation.  I will deal with punctuate and punctuation in the next mnemonic clue.

The way that I have found to spell pronounce and pronunciation involves a sequence technique for the word pronounce and a mnemonic clue for pronunciation.  A sequence is a list of words that are related in a sequential way.  The sequence for this word  begins with the word no.










The mnemonic clue allows me to remember that there is one word that does not belong in the sequence and that is the image of a nun with a heavy foreign accent who is an undercover agent for the CIA.  Pro nun cia tion


Richard Cooper, Ph.D. 

















Richard Cooper, Ph.D.

July 4, 2005