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...:: گنجینه زبان من / My English Treasure::... - Knowing the Roots
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At least half of the words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots. Knowing these roots helps us to grasp the meaning of words before we look them up in the dictionary. It also helps us to see how words are often arranged in families with similar characteristics.

For instance, we know that sophomores are students in their second year of college or high school. What does it mean, though, to be sophomoric? The "sopho" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us philosophy, which we know means "love of knowledge." The "ic" ending is sometimes added to adjectival words in English, but the "more" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us moron. Thus sophomores are people who think they know a lot but really don't know much about anything, and a sophomoric act is typical of a "wise fool," a "smart-ass"!

Let's explore further. Going back to philosophy, we know the "sophy" part is related to knowledge and the "phil" part is related to love (because we know that Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and that a philodendron loves shady spots). What, then, is philanthropy? "Phil" is still love, and "anthropy" comes from the same Greek root that gives us anthropology, which is the study ("logy," we know, means study of any kind) of anthropos, humankind. So a philanthropist must be someone who loves humans and does something about it—like giving money to find a cure for cancer or to build a Writing Center for the local community college. (And an anthropoid, while we're at it, is an animal who walks like a human being.) Learning the roots of our language can even be fun!

Some common Greek and Latin roots:

Root (source)

Meaning

English words

aster, astr (G)

star

astronomy, astrology

audi (L)

to hear

audible, auditorium

bene (L)

good, well

benefit, benevolent

bio (G)

life

biology, autobiography

dic, dict (L)

to speak

dictionary, dictator

fer (L)

to carry

transfer, referral

fix (L)

to fasten

fix, suffix, affix

geo (G)

earth

geography, geology

graph (G)

to write

graphic, photography

jur, just (L)

law

jury, justice

log, logue (G)

word, thought, speech

monolog(ue), astrology, biology,

luc (L)

light

lucid, translucent

manu (L)

hand

manual, manuscript

meter, metr (G)

measure

metric, thermometer

op, oper (L)

work

operation, operator

path (G)

feeling

pathetic, sympathy, empathy

ped (G)

child

pediatrics, pedophile

phil (G)

love

philosophy, Anglophile

phys (G)

body, nature

physical, physics

scrib, script (L)

to write

scribble, manuscript

tele (G)

far off

telephone,television

ter, terr (L)

earth

territory, extraterrestrial

vac (L)

empty

vacant, vacuum, evacuate

verb (L)

word

verbal, verbose

vid, vis (L)

to see

video, vision, television



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