Monday, 15 July 2013

English words - where do they come from?

This time I would like to talk with you about a topic relevant to vocabulary.

That topic is English word formation processes.

As any student soon discovers, English has a very rich vocabulary. But obviously, it didn't get all of its words at once. Most of the English words were gradually developed, some adopted, some simply invented.

By understanding these processes, you can get greater understanding of the background of English.

More importantly,
by looking into the origin of single words, students can gain deeper understanding of the vocabulary they are trying to learn.

Let's look at a practical example.

The student is studying a new word for them - "guard" (a person who protects a place or people). After understanding the literal meaning of "guard," you can look into this word's origin.

It turns out that it comes from the Old French word "garder," which means, "protect." Now, this makes sense, doesn't it? A guard indeed protects!

Here is another example. The English word "secure" actually comes from the Latin word "securus," which is built from "se-" (free from) and "cura" (care).

So as you can see, word etymology (the origin and history of words and their meanings) can truly enhance understanding.

Try this tip and see how it affects your or your students' progress.

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