4th Grade - Common Roots, Greek And Latin Words

Common roots, Greek and Latin words
Know common roots and affixes derived from Greek and Latin and use this knowledge to analyze the meaning of complex words (e.g., international).
The ability to dissect, or take apart, words into their parts of roots, prefixes, and/or suffixes with the ability to understand the etymology – the origin of the word parts.

Sample Problems


Where do word roots come from? (other languages such as Greek and Latin)


What is etymology? (the study of the origin and development of words)


What parts can words be broken into? (root words, prefixes/suffixes or affixes)


What are some common roots? (e.g. graph, bio, ped, equ, dict, hydr, therm)


What are some common prefixes? (e.g. ante-, post-, re-, sub-, etc.)

Learning Tips


Make flashcards for common phrases that are based on Latin roots. See Encarta ® for a list at: http://encarta.msn.com/media_701500625/A_Selection_of_Latin_Phrases.html


Make flashcards for common phrases that are based on Greek roots. See examples at: http://abasiccurriculum.com/homeschool/roots/athens/


Use an online dictionary or an actual translation dictionary (e.g. English Spanish) to find cognates, or words that are similar in spelling or sound, in the different languages. Encarta Online: http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?lextype=1


nervous = nervioso

refrigerator = refrigerador

sun = sol

caution = cuidado

computer = computadora


Use small pieces of paper or index cards to write color-coded roots and affixes. For example, write prefixes on their own papers in red; write roots on their own papers in black, and write suffixes on their own papers in blue. Mix up the words and then sort the words, trying to make as many combinations as possible. Don’t forget easy matches such as simply changing the prefix from re- to per-, or un- to dis-. Examples:
re + form = reform per + form = perform form + er = former

un + developed = undeveloped re + developed = redeveloped
frag + ment = fragment de + frag + ment + er = defragmenter


Study any dictionary (preferably an actual, bound book form – Webster’s is great) to see the word parts and how simple parts are added on to roots or how affixes are slightly changed. Also, note the origin of the words, usually abbreviated something like this: fraction – [14 century. Via Old French< late Latin fraction-< Latin fract-, past participle of frangere "break"].

Extra Help Problems


What are some common suffixes? (e.g. -scope, -logy, etc.)


What is the root in aquatic and what does it mean? (aqua = water)


Where would you find an aquatic animal? (in water)


Arrange these words in order in how they make up parts of words: suffix, root, prefix. (prefixes, roots, and suffixes)


What are affixes? (prefixes and suffixes)


Do all words include a prefix, root, AND suffix? (no)


Can a root be a word all by itself? (yes)


What is the definition or meaning of a “root”? (the origin, beginning of something, where it comes from)


Do both Latin and Greek languages influence our English language today? (yes, greatly)


Are there Latin and Greek roots in other languages besides English? (yes)


What are “romance” languages such as Italian, English, and Spanish often referred to as? (Latin-based languages)


What do the words biology, geography, cardiology, etymology, and geology all have in common? (the –logy suffix)


What does the suffix –logy mean? (the study of)


What does bio- mean? (life)


Therefore, what does biology mean? (the study of life)


What are cognates? (similar words or word parts)



Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC