Knowing Your Greek Root Words Can Help You Learn New Languages
by Erinn Stam
If you enjoy learning new languages, or just want to increase your knowledge of English, you'll want to learn Greek root words. Understanding the definitions of Greek root words and how they are used in the English language will help you tremendously.
How Knowing Greek Root Words Will Help You Grasp English Better
Even if English is your native language, you'll find that learning Greek root words will increase your vocabulary. If you recognize the Greek root words and know what they mean, you'll be able to figure out the definitions of new words, even if you've never seen them before or see them out of context. English is based off Latin and Greek, so these root words are the building blocks of our language.
Greek root words make up much of our medical and scientific language, so you'll find these root words particularly helpful if you're going into one of those two fields.
How Knowing Greek Roots Words Will Help You Learn a New Language
When you study the root words, you are building for yourself a set of tools that can be used to take apart and then rebuild new words you encounter. Since many of the languages we speak have their roots in Latin and Greek, you'll find that learning the root words will enable you to decipher meanings and recognize language patterns of other language patterns. Just learning how to decipher the roots of your native language will help you figure out how other languages are structured. In essence, the study of how a language is devised and used will help you figure out how other languages are put together.
Important Greek Root Words to Memorize
You'll find there are several Greek root words that you will recognize once you learn them. For example, you'll recognize the root word "auto", which means "self" and is in the words "autocratic" and "autonomous". Another root word you'll recognize is "geo", which means "earth" and is in the words "geological" and "geocentric".
It will serve you well to research the definitions of and memorize the following root words:
aster = star
auto = self
bio = life
chrono = time
geo = earth
graph = to write
path = feel, hurt
phon = sound
photo = lifht
tele = far, end
anthrop = human
dem(o) = people
morph = form, shape
ped = child
To truly get a good grasp of the roots of the English language, it's a good idea to learn a good many more Greek and Latin root words in addition to the ones listed above. If you invest in learning these root words, you'll find learning a language such as Italian or French will be much easier to tackle.
Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for nursing schools. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about nursing schools in CA. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.