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Greek and Latin Roots: Part I - Latin

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Peter Smith, University of Victoria

Pub Date: 2016

Publisher: BCcampus

Language: English

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Reviewed by Kirsten Day, Associate Professor of Classics, Augustana College on 11/15/18

Smith provides an impressively thorough overview of the many ways Latin has made an imprint on the English language. In doing so, he includes the grammatical principles of Latin that are essential to understanding how a knowledge of Latin roots,... read more


Table of Contents

Greek and Latin Roots for Science and the Social Sciences
Preface to 5th Edition
Chapter 1: Introduction

  • §1. The Fascination of Words
  • §2. What is Greek and Latin Roots (GRS 250)
  • §3. Why Latin and Greek?
  • §4. The Indo-European Family of Languages
  • §5. The Unique Nature of English
  • §6. Dictionary Practice
  • §7. Latin Pronunciation

Chapter 2: The Latin Noun (Declensions 1 & 2)

  • §8. Form and Meaning
  • §9. What is a Noun?
  • §10. Latin Nouns of the First Declension
  • §11. Interesting Words
  • §12. Latin Nouns of the Second Declension
  • §13. Interesting Words
  • §14. Patterns of Change in Form
  • §15. Patterns of Change in Meaning
  • §16. The Legacy of Latin: I. Old English
  • §17. Chapter 2: Exercises

Chapter 3: The Latin Noun (Declensions 3, 4, 5)

  • §18. Latin Nouns of the Third Declension
  • §19. Interesting Words
  • §20. Latin Nouns of the Fourth Declension
  • §21. Latin Nouns of the Fifth Declension
  • §22. Summary of the Five Latin Noun Declensions
  • §23. The Legacy of Latin: II. Middle English
  • §24. Chapter 3: Exercises

Chapter 4: Simple Latin Adjectives

  • §25. What is an Adjective?
  • §26. Latin Adjectives: 1st and 2nd Declension Type
  • §27. Latin Adjectives: 3rd Declension Type
  • §28. Interesting Words
  • §29. Comparative and Superlative Forms
  • §30. Latin Adverbs
  • §31. The Legacy of Latin: III. Modern English
  • §32. Chapter 4: Exercises

Chapter 5: Turning Latin Nouns into Adjectives

  • §33. The Process of Affixation
  • §34. Adjective-forming Suffixes in English
  • §35. The Latin suffix -ALIS (> E -al) / -ARIS (> E -ar or -ary)
  • §36. The Latin suffix -ILIS (> E -ile or -il)
  • §37. The Latin suffixes -ANUS (> E -an) and -INUS (> E -ine)
  • §38. The Latin suffix -ARIUS (> E -ary, -arium, -er)
  • §39. The Latin suffix -OSUS (> E -ous, -ose)
  • §40. The Latin suffix -LENTUS (> E -lent)
  • §41. Summary of Adjective-forming Suffixes
  • §42. Interesting words
  • §43. Word Analysis
  • §44. Chapter 5: Exercises

Chapter 6: Turning Latin Adjectives into Latin Nouns

  • §45. Noun-forming Suffixes in English
  • §46. The Latin suffix -ITAS (> E -ity); variant -ETAS (> E -ety)
  • §47. The Latin suffix -ITUDO (> E -itude)
  • §48. The Latin suffix -ITIA (> E -ice)
  • §49. Other Noun-forming Suffixes (-IA, -MONIUM)
  • §50. Interesting Words
  • §51. Chapter 6: Exercises

Chapter 7: Latin Diminutives

  • §52. What is a Diminutive?
  • §53. The Regular Latin Diminutive Suffixes -ULUS and -CULUS
  • §54. The Variant Latin Diminutive Suffixes -OLUS and -ELLUS
  • §55. Diminutive Adjective Derivatives in -ARIS
  • §56. Interesting Words

Chapter 8: Latin Prefixes

  • §57. An Introduction to Prefixes
  • §58. Prefixes Denoting Place
  • §59. A Summary of Latin Prefixes
  • §60. Interesting Words

Chapter 9: The Latin Verb System

  • §61. What is a Verb?
  • §62. The Two Keys to the Latin Verb
  • §63. Latin Verbs of the First Conjugation
  • §64. Latin Verbs of the Second Conjugation
  • §65. Latin Verbs of the Third Conjugation
  • §66. Latin Verbs of the Third I-STEM and Fourth Conjugations
  • §67. Interesting Words

Chapter 10: Turning Latin Verbs into Latin Nouns

  • §68. How Can Verbs Become Other Parts of Speech?
  • §69. The Perfect Participle as 2nd Declension Neuter Noun
  • §70. The Perfect Participle as 4th Declension Noun
  • §71. The Perfect Participle Base + suffix -IO as Abstract Noun
  • §72. The Perfect Participle Base + suffix -URA as Abstract Noun
  • §73. The Perfect Participle Base + suffix -OR as Agent Noun
  • §74. Other Noun-forming suffixes
  • §75. Chapter 10: Exercises

Chapter 11: Turning Latin Nouns into Latin Verbs

  • §76. What is a Denominative Verb?
  • §77. Denominative Verbs in -ARE, -ATUS, and their nouns in -AT -IO
  • §78. Interesting Words
  • §79. Turning Diminutive Nouns into Verbs

Chapter 12: Latin Present Participles and Gerundives

  • §80. How to Recognize a Present Participle (Latin -NT-)
  • §81. Participial Abstract Nouns in -NTIA (> E -nce or -ncy)
  • §82. English Derivatives from Latin Present Participles
  • §83. Interesting Words
  • §84. English Spelling Irregularities
  • §85. The Latin Gerundive: the -ND- form
  • §86. Chapter 12: Exercises

Chapter 13: Turning Latin Verbs into Latin Adjectives

  • §87. The Latin suffixes -BILIS (> E -ble) and -ILIS (> E -ile)
  • §88. Adjectives from the Present Base (-AX, -UUS, -ULUS, -IDUS)
  • §89. Adjectives from the Perfect Base (-ORIUS, -IVUS)
  • §90. Interesting Words

Chapter 14: Compound Words in Latin

  • §91. What is a Compound Word?
  • §92. General Principles of Latin Compounds
  • §93. Compounds Related to FACERE
  • §94. Other Verbal Compounds
  • §95. Interesting Words
  • §96. Chapter 14: Exercises

I. Key to Exercises (Latin)
Appendix I
Key to Exercises (Latin)
II. Summary of Vocabulary Tables (Latin)
Appendix II
Summary of Vocabulary Tables (Latin)

About the Book

Greek and Latin Roots: Part I - Latin is part one of a two part series. This series examines the systematic principles by which a large portion of English vocabulary has evolved from Latin and (to a lesser degree) from Greek. This book focuses on Latin roots. A link to the second part focusing on the Greek roots can be found below. Part I will try to impart some skill in the recognition and proper use of words derived from Latin. There is a stress on principles: although students will be continually looking at interesting individual words, their constant aim will be to discover predictable general patterns of historical development, so that they may be able to cope with new and unfamiliar words of any type that they have studied. They will be shown how to approach the problem by a procedure known as “word analysis,” which is roughly comparable to the dissection of an interesting specimen in the biology laboratory. The text assumes no previous knowledge of Latin, and does not involve the grammatical study of this language—except for a few basic features of noun and verb formation that will help students to understand the Latin legacy in English. Although there will be some attention paid to the historical interaction of Latin with English, this text is definitely not a systematic history of the English language. It focuses on only those elements within English that have been directly or indirectly affected by this classical language. In order to provide the broadest possible service to students, the text emphasizes standard English vocabulary in current use. The more exotic technical vocabulary of science and medicine can be extremely interesting, but is explored in only summary fashion. Nevertheless, this text should be of considerable value, say, to a would-be botanist or medical doctor, if only by providing the foundation for further specialized enquiry.

About the Contributors


Peter Smith (1933 – 2006) was founding Chair of the Classics Department (now named Greek and Roman Studies) and later served as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, both at the University of Victoria.