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Vocabulary Terms and Language Origins • "Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity." - Hermann Hesse, author (1877-1962) There are three ways we learn vocabulary: 1. From the sound of words 2. From the structure of words 3. From the context of words - how words are used in communication
Therefore, when you encounter unfamiliar words, you should ask yourself: • 1. Does this word sound like anything I've ever heard? • 2. Does any part of this word look familiar? • 3. How is this word used in the sentence I just read or heard?
Each vocabulary unit we have this block will present a word list so you can practice this process. • As you read each word list, you'll find that you already recognize some of the words - maybe from your reading and listening vocabularies. The ones you don't know you will learn as you proceed through the lesson.
Word Parts - Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots • You use these everyday whether you realize it or not. These parts make up almost all of the words we use English. You will find the meanings of many words will become much clearer when you understand the meanings of the most common word parts.
Prefixes • The word parts placed at the beginning of a word. It is usually only one syllable, but sometimes it is more. • Prefixes change or add to the meaning of a word. • Example = review = what does it mean? • Syllables = re-view • View means to look at • Re- means back or again • Review means to look back at or to look at again • Other common prefixes include = in-, anti-, pre-, post-, un-, non-, con-, and dis-
Suffixes • The word parts placed at the end of a word that signals how a word is being used in a sentence and identifies its part of speech. • Different suffixes change the word's part of speech. • Example = sterilize = a verb meaning to sanitize • Ster-ile = an adjective • Sterilization = a noun • The suffix changes the word's job in a sentence and will give clues to the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Roots • The pieces of words that carry the direct meaning. • Many English words come from ancient Greek and Latin words. Knowing some of the most commonly used roots gives you access to many words at once. • Combining knowledge of roots with prefixes and suffixes, you can figure out the meaning of many unfamiliar words. • Example = cogn- means 'to know' • Words with this root include recognize (to identify as known), incognito (unknown), and cognition (knowledge).
Tip • As you are introduced to words, take the time to break them down into prefixes, suffixes, and roots. It will help you remember them.
Syllables • The parts of words that carry separate sounds. • Breaking a word into syllables is one strategy for seeing if a word is in your listening and reading vocabularies. • It also helps break larger words into smaller, more manageable, and often more recognizable parts. • By breaking words down into syllables, you will be able to identify the meanings of unfamiliar words that contain these word parts.
Rules for Dividing Words into Syllables • 1. Divide between double consonants: Ham-mock • 2. Divide after prefixes and before suffixes: In-vest-ment If you already have an idea of how the word sounds, you can divide it according to the sound of the vowels: • 3. Divide after vowel if it has the long sound: So-lar • 4. Divide after the consonant if the vowel sound is short: Pris-on
Synonyms and Antonyms • Questions on AIMS and other exams often ask for the synonym or antonym of a word. • As you learn words this block, try to think of or look up synonyms and antonyms. The exercises you practice will help you learn even more synonyms and antonyms. • Synonyms • A word is a synonym of another word if it has the same, or nearly the same, meaning as the word with which it is being compared. • Example = conceal and hide are synonyms that both mean to keep out of sight. • Antonyms • An antonym is a word that means the opposite of the word with which it is being compared. • Examples = happy/sad, good/bad, love/hate
Denotation and Connotation • Denotation = the dictionary definition of a word • Connotation = the tone of the word; the emotions it evokes in the reader. • Example = joke means something said or done to provoke laughter; synonyms: quip or prank. But all three words have different connotations; they all bring to mind different feelings - one positive, one negative, and one neutral.
Tip • Most of the time, we "sense" the connotation of a word without thought, but if you are the one writing or speaking the word, take the time to choose carefully so that you are clearly understood.
Homonyms • Words that sound the same, but aren't. • They have the same pronunciations, but they are neither spelled the same way, nor do they have the same meaning. • Examples = which/witch, their/there/they're • When you are listening or reading in context it is easy to figure out meanings; however, it is important to know which definition corresponds with which spelling. • If you misspell a homonym, people will have a difficult time understanding what you are trying to communicate.
Context Clues • Context is the surrounding text in which a word is used. Most people automatically use context to help them determine the meaning of an unknown word. • The best way to take meaning form context is to search the surrounding text for key words in sentences or paragraphs that convey the meaning of the unfamiliar word. • Example = Although when Hannah joined the company she was promised perquisites every six months, she has been working at the company for two years and has never received any sort of bonus. 1. Restatement = bonus 2. Contrast = although • Perquisite is a synonym for bonus
Good communication skills are essential • A good vocabulary increases your ability to understand reading material and to express yourself in speaking and in writing. • Without a broad vocabulary, your ability to learn is limited. • Vocabulary skills can be developed with practice, which is exactly what you will have in this class.