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World of the Bizarre

Chinese woman memorizes entire dictionary

By T.K. Randall
March 20, 2015 · Comment icon 26 comments

Li's incredible memory enabled her to remember the entire book. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Ane Cecilie Blichfeldt
Li Yanzhi succeeded in memorizing an entire English-Chinese dictionary containing 220,000 words.
The 51-year-old single mother began the mammoth task of remembering every word in the 2,548-page book to help her earn enough money to look after her autistic son.

A university lecturer and translator, Li has been studying the dictionary every day from nine in the morning to five in the evening since August 2013 and can now recite the definitions of practically every word, a skill that has proven extremely useful.

Now Li is hoping to apply her skills to the Chinese game show "The Brain" which she says is her biggest dream as it would give her the opportunity to further challenge herself.
In addition to English Li can also speak French, Polish, German, Japanese and Russian.

"If I can fly I will fly, if I can't fly I will run, if I cannot run I will crawl," she said.

"No matter what you must move forward."

Source: China Topix | Comments (26)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by She-ra 9 years ago
Surely if she memorised all the meanings then by definition she had to have memorised the words themselves! Thus in turn the entire dictionary would have been retained Yes, Father Merrin! The article says: The 51-year-old single mother began the mammoth task of remembering every word in the 2,548-page book to help her earn enough money to look after her autistic son. I had to go back and re-read the article after that other post to make sure I didn't miss something when I first read it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by StRoostifer 9 years ago
What this woman accomplished is most impressive but IMO, her reason for memorizing the dictionary is even more impressive. That's unconditional love right there and good mother.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Father Merrin 9 years ago
Its amazing how certain people have the ability to memorise huge amounts of data yet i forget where ive laid my keys 2 minutes after entering the house!
Comment icon #20 Posted by XenoFish 9 years ago
Its amazing how certain people have the ability to memorize huge amounts of data yet i forget where ive laid my keys 2 minutes after entering the house! We're in the same boat. Yet I can remember some of the most useless things.
Comment icon #21 Posted by spud the mackem 9 years ago
Jo-san
Comment icon #22 Posted by Father Merrin 9 years ago
Reminds me of an article i read on autistic savants! Many have incredible processing power and the ability to recall almost any memory they have ever had, Makes one wonder if they have more access to their subconscious or their brain is running at a far greater efficiency,
Comment icon #23 Posted by Varelse 9 years ago
This doesn't even make sense to me. I think it implies she can only define the words instead of reciting the entire dictionary word for word. It has to be a massively valuable skill when it comes to legal issues. She could be one of the world's highest paid translators.
Comment icon #24 Posted by StRoostifer 9 years ago
Its amazing how certain people have the ability to memorise huge amounts of data yet i forget where ive laid my keys 2 minutes after entering the house! We're in the same boat. Yet I can remember some of the most useless things. Same here. In high school I could not remember anything from the regular classes but when it came to autos classes, I could not forget a thing.
Comment icon #25 Posted by XenoFish 9 years ago
I still have the Konami code memorized. I think it has to do more with subconscious conditioning. Learning to quickly access stored memories.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Purplos 9 years ago
So, she memorized the dictionary for a chance at winning money on a game show so she could take care of her autistic son. In the same time couldn't she further her education or something to guarantee more money to help her family? Good for her, but seems odd.


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