Mnemonic conventions


Although I have searched, I haven’t found an answer to this question. Apologies if it is common.

I wondered if there is any suggested mnemonics protocol? I find the ones that pop up very random regarding the use of italics, bold and capitalisation.

For myself, I have adopted a system based on Heisig & Richardson and the Outlier Essentials dictionary addon to Pleco which helps with radicals/phonetics and etymology:

KEYWORD in capitals
Radical element in bold
Phonetic element in italics (I add a ’ if the phonetic has drifted from an ancient root (e.g. 云 yún in 动 dòng (simplified from the phonetic in 湩 (minus the water radical!)).

I choose not to indicate tone or pronunciation as the mnemonic gets too long.

However, if there is a conventional mode, I’m happy to adapt.


That system makes sense! A lot of mnemonics are user submitted, so there’s unfortunately not a clear rule to how they might be formatted.