Day 16 100words100days A short essay on etymology

150 words. I feel like a flowchart would have been a nice complement to this piece, showing how different roots can be combined to form different words. That’s the kind of thing I used to know once upon a Goan time…

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Etymology is a word about that denotes intense study of words. For much better definitions, please click here.

Words are like people: it’s nice to know where they come from, because knowing their origin can be a clue to understanding them. The same goes for their genetic make-up, the parts that mean one thing when put in a particular order can mean something quite different when rearranged.

Students attempting to grasp the basics of English, and even those whose knowledge extends far beyond the rudimentary, use these ‘parts’ or roots to figure out what a word means. Take the word philosophy. It has two roots, both Greek: philo, meaning love, and sophos, meaning wisdom. Knowing the roots isn’t always enough, as is evident from this example. Context is also important, and the way the word has changed with time (again, just as with people and the nature versus nurture argument).

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Day 17: Pick a proverb and write a pseudo-serious article