Symbolization Technique

The symbolization technique is used to transform abstract words into visual images. An abstract word is a word that does not have any visual sense.

Symbols are all around us. The letters of the English alphabet symbolize (represent) sounds of speech. Road signs symbolize particular rules. Computer icons represent particular functions and commands.

There are symbols which are fixed in the mass conscience, that is, in the conscience of the majority of people. Such symbols are promoted by mass media and are clear to anyone: “Dove” is a symbol of peace; “Turtle” – a symbol of slowness; “Skull” - a symbol of death; “Crown” - a symbol of power; “palm-tree,” “sea,” and “yacht” are all symbols of recreation, resort, or holidays.

Meanwhile, during memorization, any abstract words must be transformed into visual images, and not only those which have fixed images. In such cases, every person must find his own set of images according to the content of his or her memory.

For some of us “jealousy” is a wet handkerchief, for others – a broken chair. Some imagine wealth as a bag full of money; others as a large number of friends; someone else – as a huge library.

Below are some examples of image selection for abstract words:

  • Cold – ice;
  • Warm – cup of hot-water;
  • Illness – thermometer;
  • Eternity – Egyptian pyramids;
  • Infinity – mathematical sign of infinity;
  • Separation – train; 
  • Time – watches;
  • Autumn – maple leaf;
  • Wintertime – snowflakes;
  • Summer – roller skates.

When choosing an appropriate symbol for an abstract word, you must choose an image that is handy for you to memorize. Most often, the image that was the first to appear in your brain should be taken as the image to choose. If you find it difficult to choose an image to suit a word, you do not yet understand the word - and its meaning to you is not clear.

By using the symbolization technique, you can automatically systemize things in your brain, and precisely understand the meaning of the words you use. Apart from this, you will see that people often use the same words to mean different things.

If a person says: “I love you,” one must figure out what exactly it is that he loves: your body, your soul, your house, your connections, your money, all of you?