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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 10:15 am | Fair 54º


Rae Largura: The Language of Latin Roots

Not knowing there was such a thing, the Global Language Monitor states that there are well more than 1 million words in our English language. There is a new word created every 98 minutes, or about 14 words per day. This makes the English language the largest language the world has ever known.

An adult can use 12,000 to 20,000 words. An educated adult uses 25,000 to 40,000 words, and somehow William Shakespeare used nearly 100,000 words (I read somewhere). Our English language would not be so robust without our Latin and Greek roots.

Understanding the building blocks of our language; the Latin roots of words, we can increase our vocabulary and make learning English, along with other languages, fun and easy — in addition, being the best study trick ever. For example, the Latin word Solus, or Sol, means alone. When we read words such as solitary, solitude and solitaire, we can instantly connect the meaning by knowing the root word. Rather than endlessly memorizing vocabulary words, memorize Latin roots and gain understanding to innumerable words.

The Latin root “vor” means swallow. An English counterpart would be carnivorous, herbivorous and devour. The Latin root “dict” means to say, as in dictate, diction and predict. Some common roots and their meanings are “loqu” meaning speak, as in eloquent. “Geo” means earth, as in geography. “Auto” means self, as in autonomous. “Min” means small, as in minor. “Sci” is to know, as in conscious. “Chrono” means time, as in chronological. “Mem” means mindful as in remember, memoir, memorial. These are just a few of some common Latin roots.

Latin is known to be the “mother” of languages with English, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese being the “sisters.” Learning the root words will enable us to decipher meaning and recognize language patterns of all of these languages with ease. Learning Latin opens our world to a smarter vocabulary. The process is fun, the outcome is impressive and the result is everlasting.

Have fun with this: “Alt” means high. “Port” means carry. “Cred” means believe. “Plen” means full. “Amor,” of course, means love.

Carpe diem!

Any subject, any grade: What is your question for a tutor? Email [email protected]. Ask a Tutor runs biweekly.

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.

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