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Reading: Understanding The Root of It all. By: Ms. Aguiar Somerset Academy Charter School. A History of our Words.

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Reading understanding the root of it all

Reading: Understanding The Root of It all

By: Ms. Aguiar

Somerset Academy Charter School

A history of our words

A History of our Words

First, I want you to know a little about how our language got to be the way it is. This story explains why our English language is so complicated. It explains that English is a mixture of Greek and Latin and French and German.

Greeks gave us more than salad

Greeks Gave Us More Than Salad…. 

Most people think that Greek is the oldest layer of the English language. Greek words go way back, to about 3,000 years ago. We like to use old Greek roots to name new terms in medicine or science: dinosaur, technology, and esophagus. Even some simple words stem from old Greek: anchor, school, phone. About 10 percent of our English words are Greek. Some of the letters of our alphabet are Greek. Even the word alphabetis a Greek word.

Latin is a part of english

Latin Is A Part of English!

The next oldest layer of our language is Latin. Long ago, the Romans spoke a language called Latin. Today Rome is only a city in Italy, but 2,000 years ago the Roman Empire covered most of Europe. Many of the languages spoken in Europe today were originally Latin-based, including Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian. The Romans ruled a big chunk of the world.



Latin was used by the Catholic church. Soon, Latin religious words began to mix with the German words in our language: verse, priest, commandment. Words that were borrowed from the long-gone Greeks also joined our language: school, chorus, psalm.

Common prefixes

Common Prefixes

Un-Not, opposite ofEx. unaware, unbelievable,

Re-AgainEx. redo, replay

Im-, in-, il-, ir-NotEx. impossible, incapable, illogical,

Dis-Not, opposite ofEx. dishonest, disgraceful,

En-, em- Cause toEx. enable, emblaze

Non-NotEx. nonstick, nonfiction, nonexistent

In-, im-In, intoEx. inject

Over-Too muchEx. overtime, overeat

Mis-WronglyEx. misunderstand, misuse

Sub-Under Ex. subsurface, subway

Pre-Before Ex.Prepay, preschool

More prefixes

More Prefixes, interact

Mid-MiddleEx. midyear, midnight

Under-Too littleEx.underweight, underpaid

Fore-BeforeEx. forethought

De-Opposite ofEx. decaffeinated, dehydrate

Trans-AcrossEx. transatlantic

Super-Above Ex. superhero, supermodel

Semi-Half Ex. semiannual, semicolon

Anti-AgainstEx. antiwar, antisocial

Common suffixes

Common Suffixes

-s, -esPlural of nounEx. cats, boxes

-edPast tense of verbEx. sailed

-ingProgressive tense of verb Ex. jumping, racing

-lyUsually an adverb; sometimes an adjectiveEx. slowly, lovely

-er, -or (agent)Noun (agent)Ex. runner, professor

-ion, -tion, -ation, -itionNounEx. action, transition, vacation

-able, -ibleAdjectiveEx. lovable, incredible

-al, -ialAdjectiveEx. global, logical, partial

-yAdjective Ex. funny

-nessAbstract nounEx. kindness

And more you guessed it suffixes

And More….You Guessed It…Suffixes! 

-ity, -tyNounEx. activity

-mentNoun Ex. merriment

-icAdjectiveEx. historic

-ous, -eous, -ious AdjectiveEx. hideous, spacious

-enVerbEx. quicken, thicken

-er (comparative)AdjectiveEx. bigger

-ive, -ative, -tive AdjectiveEx. alternative, pensive

-fulAdjectiveEx. wonderful



Common greek and latin roots

Common Greek and Latin Roots!


aud Latin Hear Auditorium, audition

astro GreekStar Astronaut, astronomy

bio GreekLife Biology, biography

cept Latin Take Intercept, accept

dict Latin Speak/tell Dictation, predict

Duct LatinLead Conduct, induct

geo GreekEarth Geography, geology

Other greek latin roots

Other Greek/Latin Roots

ject Latin ThrowEject, reject, projectile,

meterGreekMeasureThermometer, barometer, centimeter, diameter

min LatinLittle or smallMiniature, minimum, minimal

mit or misLatin Send Mission, transmit, missile, dismiss, submit

ped LatinFoot Pedal, pedestal, pedestrian



phonGreekSoundTelephone, symphony, microphone, phonics, phoneme, phonograph

portLatin Carry Transport, porter portable, import, export,

rupt LatinBreakDisrupt, erupt, rupture, interrupt, bankrupt

scrib or script LatinWrite Scribble, scribe, inscribe, describe, prescribe



spect Latin See Inspect, suspect, respect, spectacle, spectator

structLatin Build or form Construct, destruct, instruct, structure

tele GreekFrom afar Telephone, telegraph, teleport

tractLatin Pull Traction, tractor, attract, subtract, extract

vers Latin TurnReverse, inverse

How do i figure out the meaning of a new word

How Do I Figure Out The Meaning of A New Word?

1. Reread the sentence that contains the unknown word. Be on the lookout for signal words or punctuation.

2. Reread the sentences before and after the sentence that contains the unknown word.

3. Based on the clues, try to figure out the meaning of the word.

4. Insert your meaning in the original sentence to see whether it makes sense.

Context clue strategy

Context Clue Strategy

DefinitionA definition in the sentenceIs, are, is called, means

Signal punctuation: Set off by commasBrick made of sun-dried clay is called adobe.

The Native Americans used adobe, or bricks made of sun-dried clay, to build their homes.

SynonymA word with a similar meaning to the unknown wordAlso, as, like, same, similarly, tooThe Zuni built their homes with brick made of sun-dried clay. The Hopi also used adobe to build their homes.

AntonymA word or phrase with the opposite meaning of the unknown wordBut, however, in contrast, on the other hand, though, unlikeThe Hopi lived in single-family houses, but the Iroquois lived in longhouses.

ExampleSeveral examples in a listSuch as, for example, for instance, like, includingThe Pueblo people grew many crops such as corn, beans, and squash.

GeneralGeneral or inexact cluesAfter 1700, the Pueblos got sheep from the Spanish, and wool replaced cotton as the most important textile.

The vocabulary strategy

The Vocabulary Strategy

1. Look for CONTEXT CLUES. Reread the sentence and the surrounding sentences.

2. Can you break the WORD into PARTS? (If not, go to Step 3.)

a. Is there a PREFIX? What does it mean?

b. Is there a SUFFIX? What does it mean?

c. Is there a ROOT WORD? What does it mean?

d. Put the meaning of the word parts together. What is the meaning of the whole word?

3. GUESS what the word means.

4. INSERT your meaning into the original sentence to see whether it makes sense.

5. If needed, use the DICTIONARY to confirm your meaning.

Multisyllable word reading strategy

Multisyllable Word Reading Strategy

1. Find the vowels.

2. Look for word parts you know.

3. Read each word part.

4. Read the parts quickly.

5. Make it sound like a real word.

Know your syllable types

Know Your Syllable Types!

Closed Ex. pic-nic, ab-sent

Open Ex. ve-to, a-pron

Silent e Ex. de-bate, base-ball

Vowel team Ex. re-frain, car-toon

Vowel-r Ex. en-ter, or-phan

Consonant -le Ex. bot-tle, bea-gle

Other Ex. gar-bage, fur-ni-ture

Final thoughts

Final Thoughts

Approach all reading as if you were a detective and the text represents the case that needs to be solved.

Use the clues and strategies that you have been given and never dismiss any case as too difficult.

The clues will ALWAYS lead you to the correct conclusion if you use your critical thinking skills and pay attention to detail.

Enjoy the journey of reading! 

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