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Welcome to issue #42 of Words Matter, our bi-weekly newsletter. Please feel free to share with a friend!
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Checking Past Experience
"Fred's Dad was a
You could understand this statement in two ways. Fred's Dad was a
veteran in armed service, or Fred's Dad was a
veterinarian who cared for animals.
English, like most other languages, has a habit of "clipping" longer words down to colloquial jargon, understandable in context or upon further inquiry.
Dynamic Literacy like to encourage learners of all ages to notice similarities in familiar words and to be curious about those similarities. What is there about a military veteran and an animal veterinarian that would cause the same root to show up in both words?
WordBuild users bring their thinking skills to the forefront to discuss possibilities, and the idea of "experience or age" is likely to emerge. Then they can verify their ideas by looking up the etymology, or word history, to discover that indeed both words come from the Latin word that means "experienced because of age".
A veteran of military campaigns has spent time undergoing the experiences of conflict. A veterinarian originally tended to or checked out animals, especially horses or cattle, that were old or had served their duty. Such animals were checked out to see if they were valuable or still capable of working.
Of course, over time, words can be applied in new ways, so that a veteran now need not be old, and a veterinarian might care for young kittens and puppies.
From there we can see what a political vetting is. To vet is to check out people's past experience,in order to examine the past years of their life for present-day suitability. Maybe the vetted person will be found to have been a veteran, or a veterinarian, or maybe even an inveterate gambler! -- R.D. "Doc" Larrick
Enjoy this brief student video that comes directly from WordBuildonLine Elements Level 3.
The root TANG
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