Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Knowing Etymology Builds Vocabulary

When you were in elementary school, you learned to read by learning the phonics of the English language and how to decode words. Now you need to keep working on your reading skills by learning to decode more complex words by learning classical roots and affixes (prefixes and suffixes). Often when people are trying to spell a difficult word they claim, "English is such a weird and crazy language." English is not crazy. It's just that English has influences from Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, French, and other ethno-cultural words. Historically, England has been conquered by a variety of cultures, so the story of the language is just as diverse.

We started our study of classical roots yesterday with numerology because many of you know the number prefixes of uni, bi, tri, quad, pent, etc. Now throughout the semester we'll keep building our A to Z Taxonomy of classical roots and affixes to improve your decoding skills while reading.

If you ever want to look up the etymology (the word's history) of a word, a great resource is this etymology online dictionary.

Besides the number roots, yesterday we learned male (badly), mal (bad), bene (good) and volle (will) so that you could decode malevolent, malicious, and benevolent.

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