Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
In the post on learning strategies, I had mentioned Root words which helps to improve your vocabulary by memorising newly learnt words for CAT preparation. Throughout this series on words, we had focused on learning new words by grouping them – confusing words, similar words, idioms etc. Root words are just another way you can group words.
A lot words in the English language have originated from Latin (others have their roots in Greek, Sanskrit, German etc.). But why bother learning root words? Will it be of any help in CAT or any other exam (XAT, IIFT, SNAP etc.) The answer is: Yes, it could help during the exam in certain cases.
There are tonnes of words in the English language. From an exam perspective, knowing the word and its meaning will not help much because no direct question is asked in a format where a word is given and you have to find out what it means. But you may find yourself in a situation where if you know the root, you can make an educated guess of what the word actually means. In the following section, a word root is specified followed by a list of words based on the root. The idea is you should memorise what the word root means and you should be familiar with the words derived from the root so that if you see a new word you can identify the root and make a guess about what it means.
This list is in no way exhaustive. This exercise is to familiarise you with some root words followed by a few words based on the root. I highly recommend that you use word roots for your revision of the new words you learn or for a better understanding of the new words you learn. Also, when you look up a new word, or when you are revising newly learnt words, find out its root, look for other words sharing the same root. This will help you remember the meaning better.
Let’s go through the list below and find out more.
Genealogy: The study of families. Genealogists study pedigree or bloodlines of families and trace the line of descent from ancestors to the most recent generation.
Genesis: It is the origin or birth of something. For e.g. “This tale had its genesis in fireside stories”.
Genre: A particular kind of literature, music or art. In music, the different types of the genre would be things like Rock, Jazz, Blues, Classical etc.
Genus: A general kind of something. It is the broad level of classification that gives you an idea of what family or kind something belongs to. For e.g. One example of a plant genus containing many species is Rosa, which contains more than 100 species of roses.
Progeny: the offspring of a person, animal or plant. For e.g. “the progeny of mixed marriages”.
Aristocracy: A form of government run by the most privileged people. For e.g. “the ancient Polish aristocracy had hereditary right to elect the king”
Autocracy: A government run by a single individual. For e.g In some islands hereditary autocracy prevailed; in others the government was elective.
Kleptocracy: Literally, it refers to a government run by thieves. But it general, Kleptocracies are generally associated with dictatorships or other forms of autocratic and nepotistic governments in which external oversight is impossible or does not exist.
Stratocracy: Simply put, it is a government run by the military chiefs. But Stratocracy is not the same as a military dictatorship. Rather, the state and the military are the same entity, and government positions are always occupied by commissioned officers and military leaders. So in a way, it is not necessarily autocratic and dictatorial in nature.
Plutocracy: a state or society governed by the wealthy. It is generally used as to describe or warn against an undesirable condition.
Circumlocution: Using more words than necessary in a talk. We had discussed its synonyms in the earlier posts – verbose and verbiage. For e.g. “he used a number of poetic circumlocutions”
Colloquial: A word that is used in an informal talk. Something very informal and used in everyday conversations. For e.g. reckon instead of suppose (“I reckon I ought to get home”) is one of the best examples of colloquial usage.
Colloquium: It means an academic conference or seminar. Earlier it was used to mean conversation or a talk, but now, it is used for meaning conferences, which is essentially an event where people talk.
Elocution: I’m sure you know elocution competitions that usually held in schools. Elocution means the art of speaking/talking clearly. It is the skill where you express clearly, with the correct pronunciation and articulation.
Eloquent: If someone is eloquent, it means he or she talks fluently. You could say an eloquent person is a good orator.
Interlocution: A dialogue or a talk. This word is frequently used in the formal sense in diplomacy and international relations. For e.g. The UN may appoint a team of interlocutors to help resolve the differences between two countries.
Soliloquy: An act of talking out loud to oneself. It is usually used in the context of plays where the character talks out loud.
Ventriloquism: Even if you don’t know what this means, you may have seen a ventriloquist perform in a circus or a street magic show. In the art of ventriloquism, a person (a ventriloquist) changes his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from a puppet sitting on his or her lap.
Idiograph: A personal signature. It could also be something that marks characteristic of or peculiar to a particular person or an organisation. It could also be a logotype or trademark.
Idiolect: It means speaking in a peculiar way – vocabulary or pronunciation. Doing an impression of someone forces you to work out their idiolect. Think about how you would imitate your teachers or actors or just some sound.
Idiomatic: You know what an idiom is, right? Idiomatic means containing or using many idioms. It could also mean using expressions that are peculiar to native speakers of that language. Eg. Idiomatic French or having a distinct style or character. For e.g. The idiomatic composer.
Idiopathy: A disease that appears spontaneously and develops on its own. Also, -pathy itself is a suffix that can act as a grouping. It comes from the Greek word ‘patheia’ meaning suffering or in general feeling. Words with -pathy suffix include apathy, antipathy, sympathy etc.
Idiosyncrasy: Peculiar trait to someone. For e.g. “one of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first”