Sunday, 5 May 2013

Making word power easy

Knowing the Roots

At least half of the words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots. Knowing these roots helps us to grasp the meaning of words before we look them up in the dictionary. It also helps us to see how words are often arranged in families with similar characteristics.
Dandelion=dent de lion
For instance, we know that sophomores are students in their second year of college or high school. What does it mean, though, to be sophomoric? The “sopho” part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us philosophy, which we know means “love of knowledge.” The “ic” ending is sometimes added to adjectival words in English, but the “more” part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us moron. Thus sophomores are people who think they know a lot but really don’t know much about anything, and a sophomoric act is typical of a “wise fool,” a “smart-ass”!
word power
Let’s explore further. Going back to philosophy, we know the “sophy” part is related to knowledge and the “phil” part is related to love (because we know that Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and that a philodendron loves shady spots). What, then, is philanthropy? “Phil” is still love, and “anthropy” comes from the same Greek root that gives us anthropology, which is the study (“logy,” we know, means study of any kind) of anthropos, humankind. So a philanthropist must be someone who loves humans and does something about it—like giving money to find a cure for cancer or to build a Writing Center for the local community college. (And an anthropoid, while we’re at it, is an animal who walks like a human being.) Learning the roots of our language can even be fun!
Some common Greek and Latin roots:
Root (source) Meaning English words
aster, astr (G) star astronomy, astrology
audi (L) to hear audible, auditorium
bene (L) good, well benefit, benevolent
bio (G) life biology, autobiography
dic, dict (L) to speak dictionary, dictator
fer (L) to carry transfer, referral
fix (L) to fasten fix, suffix, affix
geo (G) earth geography, geology
graph (G) to write graphic, photography
jur, just (L) law jury, justice
log, logue (G) word, thought,
monolog(ue), astrology, biology, neologism
luc (L) light lucid, translucent
manu (L) hand manual, manuscript
meter, metr (G) measure metric, thermometer
op, oper (L) work operation, operator
path (G) feeling pathetic, sympathy, empathy
ped (G) child pediatrics, pedophile
phil (G) love philosophy, Anglophile
phys (G) body, nature physical, physics
scrib, script (L) to write scribble, manuscript
tele (G) far off telephone,television
ter, terr (L) earth territory, extraterrestrial
vac (L) empty vacant, vacuum, evacuate
verb (L) word verbal, verbose
vid, vis (L) to see video, vision, television

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