One of the reasons that I have chosen to teach ESL as a second career is because of my lifelong fascination with words. Words have brought me so much joy in my life. Reading has always been one of my favourite activities, first in print, and more recently in audiobooks. When I listen to music, I’m only drawn to songs with interesting lyrics. The harmony and melody are very important, but I’m only really interested when the words of a song are meaningful in some way. I only took Latin for 1 year, but I’ve always been grateful that my early teachers took time to point out the patterns in the English language. They helped to notice prefixes (word beginnings) and suffixes (word endings), and to recognize the roots of many common words. When we know a little bit more about the origins of a word, we can understand much more about its meaning, as well as pronunciation and usage. As I studied to teach ESL, I was fascinated to learn that most of our food and government vocabulary came from the Norman French when they controlled England.
I hope that this webpage will help you a bit in your journey to understand new words. Often, the new word will have some clues that will help you to guess at the meaning.