March 12th, 2010

Tea-drinker par excellence

Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me

It's funny where and when you remember things. Freud says that memory works by metaphor, a giant punning machine that throws things out from the subconcious when we're asleep and our conciousness can't keep a lid on it. And we make our own mnemonics to help, little stories that are more memorable than the things they represent, a meaningless array of colurs for example: Richard of York Gained Battles In Vain. How does that work in countries where there are only five colours in the rainbow, Richard Yells Great Big Invectives? Presumably about his vain battling.

Coming up out of Westminster tube station this morning I remembered this mnemonic: Cerbere gemit en Enfer: Cerberus whines in hell. I imagine in had something to do with my exit from the bowels of the Earth, Persephone like, into Spring.

It's a list of the starting syllables of German verbs which don't take a ge- on the past participle (CeBere GeMit En EinVer). I learnt German in France and so know the French mnemonic for this now otiose collection. I wonder what the English, or even German version of this is?