Etymology, Reading and Dictionary Study Skills
Excerpt from Moors and Masonry by Abdullah El Talib Mosi Bey
Etymology is derived from the Greek root etym meaning history, origin, true or real and log meaning study, science, word, theory. It is an indispensable discipline used as a foundation for other fields of study. Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, 1921 Edition defines etymology as:
“The origin or derivation of a word as shown by its analysis into elements, by pointing out the root or primitive upon which it is formed, or by referring it to an earlier form in its parent language; also, an account setting forth such origin or derivation, often with facts bearing upon the word’s relationships; the formal history of a word.”
The origin and historical development of a linguistic form shown by determining its:
-Earliest Known Use
-Changes In Form and Meaning
-Tracing Its Transmission From One Language to Another
- Identifying Its Cognates In Other Languages
- Reconstructing Its Ancestral Form Where Possible
- Explaining The Changes Words Have Undergone
- The Variations Of Form And Spelling
- From Its First Appearance In The Language To The Present Time
- All Its Different Meanings And Shades Of Meaning
The etymology of a word is placed in brackets . For instance, the etymology of dollar appears in dictionaries in the following format:
[M.D. daler; G. taler, thaler, a dollar, shortened form of Jochimstaler, Jochimsthaler, so called from Joachimsthal, Joachim’s dale, in Bohemia, where the silver from which it was coined was first obtained.]
Etymology can be used in increasing vocabulary.
Having knowledge of parts of a word will aid the reader in determining the meaning of unfamiliar words. Prefixes are placed in front of root words and change the meaning of the root. Suffixes are positioned at the end of root words and change their parts of speech. Root words are the main part of a word.
Words in the Same Family Section teaches students root words whose spelling changes depending on the language in which they are derived. For instance, Sta, Sti and Sist mean stand and generate hundreds of words. Sta (station, staff, staple); Sti (constitution, institution, substitution); Sist (consist, insist, resist).
Another set of root words in the same family, Fac, Fect, Fic and Fy, mean make or do and produces hundreds of words. Fac (factor, manufacture, preface); Fect (defect, infect, perfect); Fic (fiction, sufficient, proficient); Fy (modify, ratify, verify).
Root words in different Family of Words with the Same Meaning Section is designed to expand students’ vocabulary by tens of thousands of words. For example, the root words, oc, op, vid, vis, wis, wit, scop, spec, spic and id, all mean see or look and generate thousands of words – ocular, optometrist, video, vision, wisdom, witness, telescope, spectator, conspicuous and ideal.
The Base Word Method Section is structured to expand the Base Word Lesson by teaching students of vocabulary to identify the root word in the base word as well as the meaning of the root word. Further, the root word in the base word is placed among other root words which have the same meaning. For instance, affect is the base word for the following words: affection, affective, affector, affected, affectionate, affectionately, affectible, etc. Fic, Fac and Fy are the other root words that mean make or do. Students of vocabulary would be able to increase their vocabulary and have strong command of words if taught this expanded version of the Base Word Method.
PREFIX - ROOT - SUFFIX COMBINATIONS
The Prefix – Root – Suffix Patterns will aid the reader in recognizing the meaning of a host of unfamiliar, particularly long words. You probably can recall coming across long and unfamiliar words and not being able to unlock their meanings. How do you apply the Prefix – Root – Suffix Patterns to increase vocabulary? Let us examine how it is done.
Tip! Mastering the prefix and suffix rules section of this book is a prerequisite to this section.
Examine the component parts of the word.
Think about what you do know about the word.
1. Determine what the prefix(es) is / are.
2. Determine what the suffix(es) is / are.
3. Notice the number of prefixes.
4. Notice the number of suffixes.
5. Notice the Prefix – Root – Suffix Pattern of the word.
HOW TO USE THE NUMBER LINE