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What’s in a phrase? Etymology for Each Trainer

Etymology (noun)

The examine of the origin of phrases and the best way by which their meanings have modified all through historical past.

Etymology is commonly typically thought of the protect of the English instructor. I might argue that it is a goldmine of an alternative (too typically missed) for academics of each topic self-discipline. The tales that underpin our language can typically illuminate the concepts and meanings we search to speak. Like a properly chosen metaphor, they’ll make concrete an thought or an idea. This isn’t a token nod to literacy throughout the curriculum, however a recognition {that a} deep understanding of language is important to a deep understanding of each topic disciple.

For those who suppose etymology is uninteresting and the dusty protect of linguistic teachers, or weather-worn English academics, then suppose once more. Etymology can excite and encourage. Check out this text on ‘The Soiled Etymology of 9 On a regular basis Phrases’ right here. We study that vanilla derives from the latin roots of vagina. I was not toutdated that in my Meals Know-how class! The alternatives for memorable studying are legion, and, fortunately, not all the time sexually graphic.

For English academics, I think about that etymology is a threshold idea, alongside its linguistic brother morphology (morphology being the examine of types of phrases, together with prefixes, root phrases and suffixes and so on.). They assist college students not solely higher perceive concepts, but in addition assist them to understand the usually difficult rationale for a lot of spelling patterns within the Entlish language. Etymology is much less of a spotlight all through education, although its advantages might be vital by way of data growth. College students are taught widespread patterns of suffixes and extra in Main College. College students recognise patterns just like the prefix ‘un‘, which immediately signifies a negation, a reversal, a removing or a deprivation. These patterns change into implicit in our understanding of language. As David Didau sagely labels his ebook on literacy, it’s about “making the implicit specific”.  A aware reflection on etymology and associated morphological patterns may help each instructor with making their topic data memorable.

After all, a sound grasp of etymology, breaking down the part elements of the phrase, may help our college students with spelling. Take a look at this video that illuminates the etymology of ‘one’, with all of the associated meanings and the household of phrases and their typically variant spellings. Ever questioned how and why we spell ‘onion’ as an example and why it relates carefully to the phrase ‘one’?

Have you ever ever been foxed by the random ‘b’ in ‘doubt’? Give this wonderful video a glance:

Understanding the roots and elements of phrases not solely assist with spelling in each topic space, however additionally they illuminate that means. Let’s use science for instance. Take the phrase ‘symbiosis‘ from Biology. It means ‘union for lifetime of two totally different organisms based mostly on mutually profit’. Deriving from the Greek, that means merely ‘residing collectively’, you possibly can break the phrase down additional. ‘Bio’ famously has the that means ‘life‘ – therefore ‘biology’ – with the prefix ‘sym‘, which is an altered model of the Greek ‘syn’ that means, ‘with, along with, together with, within the firm of‘. Consider ‘symmetry‘ – when issues go alongside collectively in proportion, or ‘sympathy’, when your feelings change into enmeshed along with one other.

These small tales and households of phrases change into psychological velcro upon which we will dangle our understanding. The extra patterns of language we will determine and perceive, the higher our capability to study and perceive extra new phrases. Dan Willingham, revered cognitive psychologist, stated that tales had been “psychologically privileged within the human thoughts“. This instinctive reality guides us in direction of utilizing these etymological gems in our explanations no matter the subject material we would like college students to study and bear in mind.

If you’re a Science instructor, or a Geography instructor, and also you sit in a division assembly and you end up bemoaning our college students’ lack of expertise, or their incapability to spell the essential vocabulary of your topic, then take the time to get to the foundation of the issue. Assist college students get to the roots of the phrases.