A Mnemonic for the 75th Parallel North that uses Nonsense Syllables.

The Mnemonic.

Ga Ba Ka La Ra Ba Da Ga.

This recalls the Greenland Sea, the Barents Sea, Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Laptev Sea, the Arctic Ocean, the Beaufort Sea, Devonshire Island, and finally Greenland and the fact that all of them are at a longitude that is a multiple of 45 degrees east. The latter is indicated by the vowel being a “a”.

Thus Ga (the Greenland Sea) is “at” 0 degrees east (meaning in this context that it contains the intersection of the prime meridian and the 75th parallel north).

Ba (the Barents Sea) at 45 degrees east,

Ka (Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia) is at 90 degrees east,

La (the Laptev Sea) is at 135 degrees east,

Ra (the Arctic Ocean) is at 180 degrees east (called just “Arctic Ocean” because there seems to be no (other) named sea there, and encoded as Ra because “R” is the earliest consonant in “Arctic”),

Ba (the Beaufort Sea) is at 225 degrees east (AKA 135 degrees west),

Da (Devonshire Island, Canada) is at 270 degrees east (AKA 90 degrees west),

Ga (Greenland) is at 315 degrees east (AKA 45 degrees west).


This works on the same system as, and complements the mnemonic for the eastern hemisphere part of the 45th parallel north as described in this article:

The 75th parallel north is interesting because it goes around the Arctic Ocean touching all the major most northerly bits of land and all the peripheral seas of the Arctic Ocean. Thus one really knows the map of the Arctic Ocean well having memorized the 75th parallel.

There is a startling amount of distortion in the map of the world as compared to the globe in the areas near the poles, so it is great to be familiar with these areas.


Ga Ba Ka La Ra Ba Da Ga has two Ba’s, and two Ga’s and so it occurred to me that to distinguish them, one could have the zones in the western hemisphere have their names nasalized. Thus the first “Ga” might rhyme with “bar” as pronounced in UK English of the RP variant, while the second “Ga” might be pronounced to sound like French “gant” (which is the French word for “glove”). Likewise Ra and Ba would rhyme with “gant” of French, and Da would sound like French “dans” (which is the French word for “in”).

The Number of Syllables.

Normally I like to have the number of syllables in a nonsense syllable mnemonic be a multiple of five, for easy recall and easy counting off on one hand (iterated), but in this case, it is easy to recall that it is eight syllables long, and it seems natural, because each syllable refers to, and recalls, a different multiple of 45 degrees of longitude, and 45 degrees is one eighth of 360 degrees.

On the other, if it were desired to have ten syllables, fifteen syllables, or any other number of syllables greater than eight, one can simply find (preferably interesting) areas cut by the 75th parallel and add them. For example, one could add the Kara Sea (that contains the intersection of the 75th parallel with the 75th meridian east), which would add Ku to make the mnemonic nine syllables long:

Ga Ba Ku Ka La Ra Ba Da Ga

Adding Baffin Bay, which contains the intersection of the 75th parallel with the 75th meridian west, adds Bi, to make the mnemonic ten syllables long:

Ga Ba Ku Ka La Ra Ba Da Bi Ga.

Likewise, one can add syllables without limit by finding other interesting areas cut by the 75th parallel.

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Matthew Christopher Bartsh

Matthew Christopher Bartsh

I always follow back. I usually follow anyone who makes an interesting or okay response to one my articles. I often clap. I never give fewer than fifty claps.