Tag Archives: foreign languages

Tibetan Language

“Tibetan language: Sino-Tibetan language spoken by more than 5 million people in Tibet (Xizang), Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu provinces in China; Bhutan; northern Nepal; and Jammu and Kashmir Province in India and Pakistan. Since the occupation of Tibet by China in 1959, enclaves of Tibetan-speakers have dispersed to India and other parts of the world. Spoken Tibetan comprises a very diverse range of dialects, conventionally divided into several groups: Western, including Balti and Ladakhi in Jammu and Kashmir; Central, including the speech of Lhasa and most of the Nepalese dialects (including Sherpa); Southern, including the dialects of Sikkim and Bhutan; Khams, or Southeastern, including the dialects of the interior plateau, southern Qinghai, eastern Tibet, and parts of western Sichuan; Amdo or Northeastern, including the dialects of northern Qinghai, southern Gansu, and northern Sichuan. Most Tibetans share a common literary language, written in a distinctive scripts of disputed origin first attested in the 8th century AD.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Word Root Exercise: Sol

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word root sol. It means, of course, sun. This productive root in English (and all the Romance languages as well) bearing solar, but also solarium, circumsolar, and lunisolar.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Threshold Hypothesis

“threshold hypothesis: The belief among advocates of bilingual education that individuals with high levels of proficiency in two languages experience cognitive advantages in language skills and intellectual growth over those with low levels of proficiency in two languages, who have significant cognitive deficits.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Word Root Exercise: Pyr-o

Moving right along this morning, here is a worksheet on the Greek word root pyr-o . It means, as you already know, fire; but it also means heat and fever. This root yields the high-frequency English word pyromaniac, which does not appear on this document. Lower frequency words in use by educated people, however abound here: you’ll find empyrean, as well as pyre, and the solid scientific adjective pyrophoric.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Semi

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word root semi. It means “half” and “partly.” This root finds its way into common discourse in English–it can be used as a prefix to just about any adjective or noun to attenuate the full force of a word. So, in addition to the number of words this root grows in casual discourse (i.e. being attached to nouns and adjectives in everyday conversation), this root yields such high-frequency English words as semiannual, semicolon, semiconductor, and semifinal.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Phyto/o, -Phyte

Here is a worksheet on the Greek roots phyt/o and –phyte. They mean “plant” and “to grow.” If you teach in the hard sciences, particularly biology, this might be a useful document for you: these roots yield words such as chrysophyte, hydrophyte, and phytochrome among others.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Ram, Rami

On the first day of a very badly needed spring break, here is a worksheet on the Latin word roots ram and rami. They mean branch. This root does not produce a bumper crop of high-frequency English words: it gives us ramification, and therefore ramify–or vice versa, because there is a good chance the verb emerged first. This is a Latin root, and as we know from history, the Romans loved action. However, this root also sprouts biramous (“having two branches”) ramus (“a projecting part, elongated process, or branch,” “the posterior more or less vertical part on each side of the lower jaw that articulates with the skull,” and “a branch of a nerve”), which may actually have use for students interested in entering healthcare professions, and ramose (“consisting of or having branches”).

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Post

Moving right along on this spring morning, here is a worksheet on the Latin word root post. It means, of course, “after” and “behind.” I feel confident that I need not belabor the productivity of this root–and as I write this, I wonder why I didn’t include this root in the two yearlong (one lesson per week) cycles of word root lessons for building vocabulary I wrote for freshman and sophomore English classes. In fact, as you certainly know, post can be attached to just about any noun to form the meaning of “after something.”

This worksheet, in any case, asks students to infer the meaning of the root from such high-frequency English words as postdate, posterior (which also gives us posterity, which is not on this document), and posthumous.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Op, Ops, Opt/o, Opthalm/o, Opia, Opsy

Finally this morning, here is a worksheet on the Greek word roots op, ops,opt/o, opthalm/o,-opia, and opsy. They mean, variously, eye, visual condition, vision, sight, and inspection. This is a productive set of roots from which grow a diverse vocabulary that includes (on this document), autopsy, biopsy, ophthalmology, and synopsis.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mande Languages

“Mande Languages: Branch of the Niger-Congo family of African languages. Mande comprises more than 25 languages of West Africa with over 10 million speakers. The most significant subgroup is the Mandekan complex, a continuum of languages and dialects, including Malinke, Maninka, Bambara, and Dyula, spoken from Senegambia and Guinea east through Mali to Burkina Faso. Other major Mande languages are Soninke in Mali, Kpelle in Liberia, Susu in Guinea, and Mende in Sierra Leone.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.