Being good in vocabulary is a foundational skill for all children. English root words can help children to quickly get a grasp of a wide range of common vocabulary. As the name suggests, it helps in learning about the evolution of the word and looking at words as separate meaningful parts than some mumbo-jumbo that needs to be mugged up. Most of English has its roots in Latin and Greek root words, and hence it is really valuable to learn root-words to apply in English.
The saying goes, “Know One Root Word, Know Many Words!”
The best thing about knowing root words is that it provides a reasonable clue about what the meaning of the word is about even when you’ve never heard the word before. It is especially useful for children to improve their reading comprehension, written expression, vocabulary, and exam performance in English tests.
Let’s see a few root words that nine-year olds can learn and apply in their daily reading and at school and amongst their friends.
Root Word #1: patris meaning related to “father”; matris meaning related to “mother”
paternal – related to the father’s side of the family; maternal – related to the mother’s side of the family;
patriarchy – system of rule where the rulers are men; matriarchy – system of rule where the rulers are women;
Example: My maternal grandfather invited me to spend time fishing at his holiday home.
Root Word #2: herba meaning related to “plant origin”;
herbalist – someone who uses plants for healing, not a doctor.
herbivorous – eats only plant food
Example: Rabbits are large herbivorous mammals.
Root Word #3: amphi meaning related to “both/double”
amphibian – live on both water and land
amphivorous – eating both animal and plant food
Example: Crabs are not amphibians, they are crustaceans.
Root Word #4: phon meaning related to “sound or voice”
microphone – equipment used to make sounds louder
saxophone – used to play modern music such as jazz; an instrument that you play by blowing into it
telephone – device used to talk to people from distant places
Example: The telephone in the living room rang repeatedly, interrupting our discussion on NBA legends.
Root Word #5: dictus meaning related to “to tell or to say”
dictate – say aloud so that somebody else can write or type it; say authoritatively
predict – say something that will happen in the future
contradict – say the opposite of something
Example: It is always better to be prepared, you can never predict what can happen next.
Root Word #6: malus meaning related to “bad/evil”
malodour – bad smell
malignant – having an evil wish to harm or meaning evil
malefactor – criminal or offender
Example: The detective pursued the malefactor for the next one year and eventually got him arrested for the crime.
Root Word #7: fide meaning related to “faith/trust”
fido – to trust (in Latin); common name for a dog.
fidelity – state of being faithful or loyal
confidence – trust of belief in someone
bonafide – genuine
Example: She established herself as a bonafide employee.
Root Word #8: magnus meaning related to “large/great”
magnificent – greatly impressive; great
magnitude – great in size or great in importance
magnanimous – showing a great and courageous spirit
Root Word #9: ped meaning related to “base/foot”
Example: The view of the peak from the bottom of Dharamshala was just magnificent.
pedestrian – a person walking on the street
pedestal – the base on which a column or a statue stands
centipede – an animal with many (alike hundred) legs
Example: The beautiful vase is placed on a classy pedestal.
Root Word #10: sub meaning related to “under something”
subway – a tunnel or underpass for people to walk
submarine – a kind of a ship that can travel under water
submerge – to make something go under water
Example: Deep floods had more than once submerged the eight continent, Zealandia.
Hope this is useful, thank you.