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Authors: Tamara M. Green

Tags: #Language Arts & Disciplines, #Linguistics, #General, #Vocabulary, #Etymology

The Greek & Latin Roots of English

BOOK: The Greek & Latin Roots of English
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Tamara M. Green

Lanham • Boulder • New York • Toronto • London


Published by Rowman & Littlefield
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706

16 Carlisle Street, London W1D 3BT, United Kingdom

Copyright © 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield
First edition 1990. Second edition 1994. Third edition 2003. Fourth edition 2008.

All rights reserved
. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Green, Tamara Marcus, 1944– author.

The Greek & Latin roots of English / Tamara M. Green. — Fifth edition.

     pages cm

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-1-4422-3327-0 (pbk. : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-1-4422-3328-7 (electronic)
1. English language—Foreign elements—Greek. 2. English language—Foreign elements—Latin. 3. Greek language—Influence on English. 4. Latin language—Influence on English. 5. English language—Roots. I. Title. II. Title: Greek and Latin roots of English.

PE1582.G6G74 2014

422'.48—dc23                                                                2014008859

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/ NISO Z39.48-1992.

Printed in the United States of America


1. A Polyglot Stew (Or Food for Thought)
I'm So Hungry!
What Shall We Have for Dinner?
2. Language and History
Language Families
The Branches of the Indo-European Tree
A Brief History of English
An Outline of the History of the English Language
And What Is More
Some Useful Terms
3. How Latin Works
Inflected Languages
Latin Nouns and Adjectives
Finding the Stem of a Latin Noun or Adjective
Latin Verbs
Finding the Stem of a Latin Verb
Some Very Useful Latin Verbs
4. Latin into English
Forming New Words
I. Adjective-Forming Suffixes Used with Latin Noun Stems
II. Noun-Forming Suffixes Used with Latin Nouns and Adjectives
III. Diminutive-Forming Suffixes with Latin Nouns
IV. Nouns and Adjectives Formed from Latin Verbs
V. Verbal Suffixes
VI. Verbal Learned Borrowings
5. How Greek Works
The Greek Alphabet
Rules for Transliterating Greek Words into English
6. Greek into English
Greek Suffixes
I. Adjective-Forming Suffixes
II. Noun-Forming Suffixes
III. Learned Borrowings
7. Latin and Greek Prefixes
I. Latin Prepositions
II. Greek Prepositions
III. Prefixes Derived from Greek and Latin Adjectives and Adverbs
8. Latin and Greek Numbers
Latin Numbers
Greek Numbers
9. Government and Politics
Greek Politics
Roman Politics
Governmental Bureaucracy
The Law
War and Peace
10. Psychology
Modern Theories of Psychology
Ancient Psychological Theory
Love and Marriage
States of Feeling
The Four Humors
Star Wars
Science and the Human Mind
11. The Social Sciences
Theory and Practice
12. Human Biology and Medicine I
Modern Medicine and Ancient Terminology
The Human Body
Medical Specialties
Diagnosis and Treatment
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
13. Human Biology and Medicine II
Advanced Medical Training
The Circulatory System
The Respiratory System
The Digestive System
The Reproductive System
The Endocrine System
More Useful Beginnings and Endings
14. Science and Mathematics
Ancient and Modern Science
The Biological Sciences
Islamic Science
15. It's an Academic Question
Greek and Roman Education
Books and Libraries
16. The Classical Influence
Europe and the Classical Heritage
The Fine Arts
City Planning
Athletics, Competition, and Excellence
17. Myth, Religion, and Philosophy
Greek and Roman Religion and Myth
The Greek and Roman Gods
The Calendar
Other Times

Other Places

Ancient Peoples and Places
The Language of Christianity
18. Lingua Latina Etiam Vivit! (The Latin Language Still Lives!)


Greek Vocabulary
Latin Vocabulary
About the Author


“Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.” Ralph Waldo Emerson's words are a recognition that the development of language and the ways in which we use it have been, in large measure, historically and culturally determined. But it is also true that not only do individuals and cultures shape language but language shapes us; the way we speak and what we say define us and allow us to articulate our worldview. Ideas take on life only when we can give them expression, and one of the ways by which we do this is through our ability to use language. The more adept we are at this, the greater are our opportunities to explore and create and interpret the variety of our experiences.

Because language is a social product, it is constantly changing, not only structurally, but in the very meaning of words. No language perhaps offers a better opportunity to understand linguistic change than English, especially in the realm of vocabulary. English has absorbed vocabulary from other languages, but as a result of both the accidents of history and the great esteem in which ancient Greek and Roman culture had been held in the European tradition, over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots; in the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent. Thus, through the study of the Greek and Latin roots of English, students not only can expand their knowledge of English vocabulary, but also come to understand the ways in which the history of the English language have shaped our perceptions of the world around us.

The approach of this text is thematic: vocabulary is organized into various topics, including politics and government, psychology, medicine and the biological sciences, literature, ancient culture, and religion and philosophy. Unlike those textbooks that treat Latin and Greek roots separately, these lessons present the two vocabularies as an organic whole. Thus, the emphasis is placed on language and the way in which it has developed and changed, rather than on single words, or even groups of words. The exercises at the end of each chapter are cumulative, reinforcing both vocabulary already learned and analytical skills developed in previous lessons. In addition to teaching vocabulary skills, the text has another, perhaps more subtle, aim. It is hoped that through the study of the Greek and Latin roots of English, students will begin to learn the pleasures (and pitfalls) of language study.

BOOK: The Greek & Latin Roots of English
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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