Improving Vocabulary Word Origins and Root Words Created and Developed by Jill Leone Reading Specialist Copyright © 2006
Students will identify common Greek and Latin roots in selected words. Students will recognize these roots in words families. Students will apply knowledge of roots to determine word meaning in selected passages.
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RPDP Secondary Literacy
No Internet because there are no computers! No video games either!
No homework assignments! No big reports to write! No books to read! No newspapers – not even the sports!
No words for any of your favorite songs – just music! RPDP Secondary Literacy
Why do different languages share similar words for the same things?
The answers to these questions lie in the study of etymology. This is the study of the origins of words and how they evolved over time.
The word etymology is derived from the Greek etumos which means real or true. The ending ‘ology’ suggests the study or science of something, as in biology or geology. That is the etymology of etymology.
What is etymology? Here is an example: The Ancient Greek word hippos means horse. And potamus means river. Hippopotamus literally means river horse.
Malaria n. Infectious disease characterized by chills and fever caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. This word comes from the mediaeval Italian mal (=bad) and aria (=air)
What do you have in common with Julius Caesar?
Let’s think about this for a minute. Have you ever been • • A dictator of a great empire? A Roman general? A close friend of Cleopatra? Captured by pirates and held for ransom? • Had your name become an actual title? • Had any coins bearing your likeness?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions?
Can you think of what you and he have in common?
Been a world conqueror? Been the son of a king? Traveled over 22, 000 miles on horseback or on foot? Founded 70 cities and named them after yourself? Grown up believing that you were the son of Zeus, king of all Greek gods? Added the words “the Great” to your name?
The answer is WORDS. You have probably spoken hundreds, maybe even thousands, of the same words as both Caesar and Alexander. Photo © I 1996 Inc. Well
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Latin was the language of ancient Rome. As the Romans conquered Europe, the Latin language spread. Since England was part of the Roman Empire for close to 400 years, Latin was its written language.
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English did not develop only from Latin. • Early English was the language of tribes who invaded England from the East, from what is now Germany. • This tells us why words in German and English are often similar.
In the 11 th century, when the French invaded England, many French words were also introduced. Over time, many more words were introduced into English from other European countries.
For hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin was the language of education and knowledge in Europe. This explains why so many terms we use connected with knowledge, religion, or education are of Latin origin.
During the 17 th and 18 th centuries, dictionary writers and grammarians felt that English was an imperfect language and Latin was perfect. To improve the English language, they made up many English words from Latin roots.
They used Greek roots also since Greek was considered the language of the arts. The Greeks were the first Europeans to use an alphabet, to theorize about language, and to frame language categories.
• a part of a word • the part that carries the most meaning • often called a base word when it’s a complete word • by itself usually not a word
• Main part of word • Must have at least one in a word • In English, limited to two in a word • Simple words have one root • Compound words have two roots
At least half of the words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots Knowing these roots helps us understand the meaning of words before we look them up in the dictionary.
A base word is a word part that by itself is also a word: part ition Partition has the base word part and means “to divide into parts. ”
A root is a word part that is used to form other words. A root by itself is usually not a word: hiero glyth Hieroglyph has the root word hiero and the root glyph. Hiero means “sacred” and glyph means “carving. ” Hieroglyph means “a carved symbol in the sacred writing of ancient Egypt. ”
If you want to learn 20 – 30 new words, you can spend time memorizing their definitions.
The Latin root ‘port’ means to carry. Knowing the root can help you unlock the meaning of many related words with the same root.
porter portable import exportable reporter deportation importer important portage portfolio report
A porter is a person employed to carry burdens, such as luggage. Important means great significance or value. Portable means easy to move carry. Report means to carry back and repeat information. or
See how easy it is when you know the root word ‘port’ means to carry?
Basic meaning Latin root Example words -dict- to say contradict, dictate, diction, edict, predict -duc- to lead, bring, take deduce, produce, reduce -gress- to walk digress, progress, transgress -ject- to throw eject, interject, project, reject, subject -pel- to drive compel, dispel, impel, repel -pend- to hang append, depend, impend, pendant, pendulum -port- to carry comport, deport, export, import, report, support -scrib-, script- to write describe, description, prescribe, prescription, subscribe, subscription, transcribe, transcription -tract- to pull, drag, draw attract, contract, detract, extract, protract, retract, traction -vert- to turn convert, divert, invert, revert RPDP Secondary Literacy
Greek root Basic meaning Example words -anthrop- human misanthrope, philanthropy, anthropomorphic -chron- time anachronism, chronicle, synchronize, chronometer -dem- people democracy, demography, demagogue, endemic, pandemic -morph- form amorphous, metamorphic, morphology -path- feeling, suffering empathy, sympathy, apathetic, psychopathic -pedo-, -ped- child, children pediatrician, pedagogue -philo-, -phil- having a strong affinity or love for philanthropy, philharmonic, philosophy -phon- sound polyphonic, cacophony, phonetics
The root ‘am’ means love or friend. Select the best meaning of the word friendly. A. amend B. ambition C. amicable D. ambush
The root ‘am’ means love or friend. Select the best meaning of the word friendly. A. amend B. ambition C. amicable D. ambush How did you do?
You could have looked at the part of speech of friendly. You see a suffix ending. The –ly (meaning like) tells you this word must be an adjective or an adverb, both parts of speech used to describe someone or something. The suffix ending –able (meaning capable of) should also tell you this word is an adjective.
If you understand that there are two Latin roots that mean light: luc- and lumyou can begin to figure out some of the meanings of the words below. luminous lucid luminescent luminousness illuminate luminaria translucent illumination
The Latin roots ‘pod’ and ‘ped’ mean foot. Knowing this, you will be able to figure out the meanings of each of these words: podiatrist = treats foot ailments pedestrian = person who walks pedicure = care of the feet pedal = lever worked by the foot quadruped = animal with four feet
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It’s interesting that the word for friend in Spanish is amigo. Both English and Spanish share the same root: ‘am. ’
Spanish is a language that evolved from Latin over the last 2, 000 years. English borrowed thousands of words from Latin, many of them the same words that Spanish uses. Both languages have also borrowed many words from Greek.
English Spanish family center radio class desert magic gorilla familia centro radio clase desierto magia gorila
Use your Spanish language skills to help you unlock the meaning of new words in English. Ask yourself – Does this look a lot like a word I know in Spanish?
English words with the same base word or root word often have related meanings. When they do, they make up what’s called a word family. Knowing the meaning of the base word or root can help you figure out the meanings of the words in the family.
BASE WORD light spect en light ment flood light -year spot light spect acle pro spect in spect or spect ator
Here’s another word family that shares the Latin root pos meaning to put or to place. im pro trans de pos pos ition e e it im pos pos pre pos e ture itive ition
imposition = a burden or unfair demand placed on someone impose = to place a burden or unfair demand posture = to put or place the body in a certain position deposit = to put or set down; to place