Happy #morphememonday everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the journey to learn more about morphology by learning more about the different prefixes, roots, and suffixes found in the English language.

Teaching etymology and morphology to all students from a young age allows children to make more sense of English’s complex writing system and provides them with an additional tool for understanding meaning when they are reading text with unfamiliar vocabulary.

Origin: Latin

Definition: half, partly, twice

Examples: semiprivate, semicolon, semitropical, semiarid, semiprecious, semicirlce

<semi> + <week> + <ly> = semiweekly

<semi> +  <glaze> + <ed> = semiglazed

<semi> + <dark> + <ness> = semidarkness

<semi> + <sweet> = semisweet

<semi> + < colon> = semicolon

<semi> + <solid> = semisolid

  • This prefix can be taught to younger students as it comes up in context. For example, when asking them to sit in a semicircle you can explain how <semi> means half so it means that you are asking them to sit in a half circle.  At this point you could discuss other words that begin with the prefix <semi> and discuss how it affects the meaning of the base word.
  • If you are teaching prefixes to students explicitly, this is one can wait until the students have a solid foundation in prefixes that are more common.
  • This prefix is another example of a morpheme like <dorm> that in the last half-century has been adapted into some English dialects as a short form for the word semi-truck

Origin: Greek

Definition: irrational fear of, or hatred; one who fears or hates

Allomorphs: phobic, phobe

Examples: technophobia, Francophobia, hypnophobia, cyclophobia, Anglophobe, xenophobia

<photo> + <phobia> = photophobia

<zoo> + <phobia> = zoophobia

<eco> + phobia> = ecophobia

<aqua> + <phobia> = aquaphobia

<hemo> + <phobia> = hemophobia

<chrono> + <phobia> = chronophobia

  • Technically speaking, <phobia> and it’s allomorphs are considered a Greek combining form.
  • <phobia> is a morpheme that may be best to discuss in context as it is only used when related to fears.  Younger students could be taught this morpheme during a discussion about different fears they have. They may enjoy guessing what different technical names for different fears are.
  • Fredd Culbertson has compiled a large list of phobias that can be viewed at www.phobialist.com

Origin: Old English

Definition: person or thing; comparative

Examples: reporter, islander, manager, bigger, greener, simpler

<bake> + <er> = baker

<paint> + <er> = painter

<teach> + <er> = teacher

<fast> + <er> = faster

<hard> + <er> = harder

<smooth> + <er> = smoother

  • The suffix <er> can be either noun forming or an adjective forming when it is used for a comparative degree
  • In both cases it is typically used with Old English base words
  • This common suffix is appropriate to teach to students when they are first learning about suffixes. After teaching this suffix, it can be useful to teach the superlative suffix <est> and to have exercises where the student has the base word and then adds each suffix to the base word to form sentences comairing objects. Example: fast, faster, fastest
  • Appropriate spelling rules associated with adding a suffix should be taught at the same time as this suffix
    • The 1 -1 – 1 Spelling Rule: When adding a suffix starting with a vowel onto a single syllable word that has one vowel making a short vowel sound and one consonant, double the final consonant before adding the suffix. ex: <mad> + <er> = madder, <run> + <er> = runner; <hop> + <er> = hopper
    • Drop the Silent e Rule: When the last syllable in a word has a silent e at the end (ex: smile, decide, slope) drop the ‘e’ before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. ex: <smile> + <er> = smiler; <bake> + <er> = baker; <divide> + <er> = divider
    • adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. ex: <smile> + <ed> = smiled; <decide> + <ed> = decided; <slope> + <ed> = sloped
    • Change the y to i Rule: When the word ends in the letter y, change the y to i and add <er>. ex: <cloudy> + <er> = cloudier; <happy> + <er> = happier; <funny> + <er> = funnier; <slippery> + <er> = slipperier

Last week, September 16, 2019, the morphemes were the prefix <mid>, the root <max> and the suffix <ship>.

Next week, September 30, 2019, the morphemes will be the prefix <poly>, the root <ject> and the suffix <dom>.

Be sure to check out more graphics for these morphemes on our Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and Twitter pages.


If there is anything I can do or post to help you learn more about the importance of morphological awareness (or any other topic for that matter) please send an email to blog@garfortheducation.com


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