Words Matter, Dynamic Literacy's newsletter.
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Welcome to issue #26 of Words Matter, our bi-weekly newsletter
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Here's the good stuff.
In it for the Long Haul
WordBuild includes lessons and examples for 99 suffixes and their variations. Those 99 suffixes allow readers of English to decode many thousands of words, and the WordBuild technique of identifying pieces of meaning allows lifelong learning, literacy, and love of words.
Suffixes continue to enter and enrich the English language through a variety of ways. For example, the famous Greek victory over 2500 years ago near the little town of Marathon (named for its surrounding fennel fields) continues to reverberate in our language today. The town name
became the word for the distance of 26.2 miles, which the legendary herald ran in order to announce the stunning victory. After the word marathon was used when the modern Olympics were introduced in Athens in 1896, marathons sprang up all over the world as national running contests.
By the 1930's in the U.S., the word was clipped and used as a suffix for other types of contests. English gained the new words, walkathon and skate-athon, and from then on, plethoric examples of -athon words were coined, often humorously, to name activities of endurance.
Most recently the suffix implies an extended time used for entertaining fundraising. Suddenly, there were talkathons, and
readathons, and, after television became a common household fixture in the early 1950's, telethons. There appeared swimathons, danceathons, and huggathons.
Though the Oxford Press and Fowler's Dictionary of Modern Usage frowned upon the new suffix (calling it a "barbarous extraction"), there was no stopping it. Rather than being stamped out, it was stamped into English as an example of how a living language operates. Schoolchildren have skipathons. Retirement homes hold rockathons on their front porches. Salons offer haircut-athons. Most recently, the word blogathon has emerged.
Be creative with how words come into existence and enjoy the realization that with a knowledge of how suffixes work, you can read and understand whatever -athon word-coiners can imagine. We'll enjoy more such affixes in future newsletters. --Doc Larrick
Morpheme of the week:The suffix HOOD
Enjoy this brief video that comes directly from WordBuild Foundations Level 2.
The suffix HOOD
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