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English Words

from Latin, Greek,


and Anglo-Saxon
Increase spelling, vocabulary, and
reading comprehension
Adapted from Susan Ebbers

Susan Ebbers 2005

Basic Terms
root form: inspector, thermal
base word: unlikely
prefix: re-, un-, dissuffix: -able, -ive, -ly

affixes

derivation-a word formed from an existing word,


root, or affix: electric, electricity
Susan Ebbers 2005

Three Periods of the English


Language
Old English ~A.D. 450-1100
Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, (some) Latin
Middle English ~A.D. 1100-1500
French-Norman, Latin, Greek
Modern English ~A.D. 1500-present
Greek, Latin, Adopted English
Susan Ebbers 2005

Susan Ebbers 2005

Anglo-Saxon: Indo-European Origins


common words: love,
child, house, heart
(often one syllable)

vowel teams: teeth, foot


r-controlled: farm, star,
storm, shirt

wh-what, sh-ship,
th-thumb, ch-church,
ng-king, nk-thank

prepositions, articles,
conjunctions: with, to,
for, and, the, but

compound words:
mankind, blackbird

words with silent letters:


knee, night, comb,
wrinkle, could, thought
Susan Ebbers 2005
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Basic Old English Words


Down-to-earth and true-blue,
the first learned and the last forgotten.

We work and eat and laugh


and weep,
Sing and play and rise and
sleep,
Hope and pray with all our
might,
Shun the wrong and love the
Susan Ebbers 2005

Susan Ebbers 2005

Latin: Some Common Roots


trans port
able
to carry
dis
rupt
ion
to break
pre
script ion
to write
re
tract
or
to pull
inter cept
ion
to take
pro
ject
ile
to throw
de
struct ion
to build
con duct
or
to lead
dis
miss
al
to send
sub vers
ive
to turn
e
dict Susan Ebbers 2005
to speak

20 Most Frequent Prefixes in School Texts


1.

unable

2.

review

inedible (impotent, illegal,


irresponsible)

distrust

enlighten
(empower)

nonsense

inside,
implant

overcome

misguided

submarine

prefix

interrupt

forewarn

derail

transfer

supersonic

semicircle

antitrust

midterm

underfed

Analysis: White, Sowell,


Susan Ebbers 2005and Yanagihara 1989

Prefixes: Meaning and Connotation


Often Negative

Somewhat Positive

dis-,
de-

non-

sub-

pro-

co-

bene-

in-

un-

mis-

super-

com-

be-

mal-

anti,
contra

a-

en-,
em-

ad-

Susan Ebbers 2005

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Derivational Suffixes
Derivational suffixes change the part of speech

words ending with tion are often nouns


words ending with ive are often adjectives
words ending with ish are often adjectives
words ending with ity are often nouns
What about -ment, -ous, -ness?
Susan Ebbers 2005

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English Language Learners


PROFICIENCY LEVELS

Intermediate Level:
Understands roots and affixes
Decodes multi-syllabic words

Advanced Level:
Uses word parts to determine word meanings

Susan Ebbers 2005

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Cognates Connect English and


Spanish through Latin Origins
Romance Languages (e.g., Spanish, Portuguese,
French, Italian, etc.) share the same Latin roots
Morta: Roman goddess of death
Example: The Latin root for the word death is mort. The
French spell it morte and the Spanish, muerte. In
English, we have a whole network of related words:
mortal, immortal, mortality, mortician, mortuary,
postmortem, etc.
Ebbers, 2004
Susan Ebbers 2005

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Greek Combining Forms


hydro

graph

geo

pyro

polis

neuro

ortho

scope

photo

therm

crat

psych

chron

phobe

pseud

onym

crypt

helio

logy

sphere

the, theo

Susan Ebbers 2005

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Counting in Greek and Latin


mono

uni

di

bi

du, duo

tri

tetra

quadri

penta

hexa

sept

oct

nove

deca

deci

cent

milli

poly

multi

semi

hemi

Susan Ebbers 2005

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Developing content-specific,
academic vocabulary
depends on a basic
understanding of Greek
and Latin
Sixty percent of the words in
English texts are of Latin
and Greek origin
Bear et al., 1996; Henry, 1997

Susan Ebbers 2005

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Content-Specific Greek Terms


Anatomy and Medical Terms
esophagus, thyroid, diagnosis, psoriasis, dyslexia
Studies and Sciences
biology, seismology, morphology, geochronometry
Animals and Plants
arachnid, amphibian, chlorophyll, dinosaur, nectar
Theatre and the Arts
charisma, drama, chorus, muse, symphony, acoustics
Susan Ebbers 2005

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grammar school
grammar books
rules of grammar
grammatical
grammatically
ungrammatical
ungrammatically
grammatology

gramma
r
telegram
mammogram
histogram
gra
anagram
m
cryptogram
monogram
electrocardiogram

photograph
polygraph
mimeograph
phonograph
telegraph
paragraph

gram, graph
to write,
written
Greek

graph
graphite
grapheme
graphologi
st
graphic
Susan Ebbers 2005
graphically

photographer
cartographer
geographer
cryptographer
autobiographer
xylographer
paleographer
biographer

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Look InsideLook Outside


pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
1. Look inside the word for known word parts: prefixes,
roots or combining forms, suffixes.
2. Use the analogy strategyI dont know this word,
but I know pneumonia and I know volcano, so by
analogy, this word might have something to do with
lungs and heat.
3. Look outside the word at context clues, visuals
The coal miners, coughing and wheezing, suffered
from pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
Susan Ebbers 2005

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SO MANY SYNONYMS
ANGLO-SAXON, FRENCH, LATIN, and GREEK

AngloSaxon

French

Latin or
Greek

cook

saut

concoct

holy

sacred

consecrated

kingly

royal

regal

wreck

sabotage

subvert

hearten

encourage

inspire

show

cinema

theater

See also Bryson, 1990; Lederer, 1991; King, 2000


Susan Ebbers 2005

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ENGLISH: A RICH VOCABULARY


SO MANY SHADES OF MEANING
A Positive Emotion
GLAD

PLEASED

DELIGHTED

OVERJOYED

HAPPY

CAREFREE

LIGHTHEARTED

MERRY

JOYOUS

JOYFUL

CHEERY

CHEERFUL

CONTENT

BLITHE

BLISSFUL

SATISFIED

BOUYANT

BEATIFIC

ECSTATIC

EUPHORIC

EUPEPSIC

Susan Ebbers 2005

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THANK YOU

Merci
Danke

Gratias

/
efharisto/

Susan Ebbers 2005

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