Thursday, December 20, 2007

five ways to improve your vocabulary - part 2

What's the word for the instrument you use to open a bottle of wine? It's a corkscrew. We saw this word in the previous post. If you are a native French speaker, you would think that this word is an old anglo-saxon word that has no connection with French. You would be wrong. According to my dictionary 'cork' has come from French 'écorce', the letter Cs having changed to hard 'k' sounds. And I would bet, although I'm not 100% sure, that 'screw' stemmed from 'écrou', although the meaning has changed somewhat.

This knowledge helps you connect something familiar (if you are a French-speaker) to something that was before quite unfamiliar - écorce - écrou - corkscrew. Being aware of the roots of a word can help you enormously in your quest to build your vocabulary. Another thing that will help you is to learn some of the prefixes and suffixes that have come from Latin or Greek. There are some examples here.

1 comment:

Freya said...

Great post ! Thanks I really Appreciate It