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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

How to Learn the Basic Word List      227
with our word father; the first and last by comparing the Greek root
pod- or Latin ped~ with our foot\ the third by comparing the Latin
genus and genu with our kin and knee., and the last two by comparing
the Greek root hard- or Latin cord- with heart.
(i) p became/
(11) t became th (J>)
(111) g became k
(iv) k became the throaty Scots ch in loch, and subsequently the
simple aspirate k
(v) d became t
The reader who knows no Latin and is not likely to acquit e more
knowledge of Latin than can be got from the next chapter but one,
should not find it impossible to detect the same root in some English
words of Teutonic and of Latin or Greek origin Thus we recognize
the same root as foot in pediotre, and the same loot as heart in cardiac,
the same root in tnmty as in three, the same root in fire as in pyrex
glass, and the same root in flat as in plateau or platitude (a flat saying)
This piimittve or first sound-shift in the history of the Teutonic-
speaking peoples equipped English with sounds for which the Latin
alphabet had no precise equivalents For leasons sufficiently explained
in our survey of the alphabet, this fact has its practical application
With the exception of a few words derived from Greek, English words
c ntainmg th are Teutonic So also are words which begin with a; or y
or contain ^A These consonant, or combinations of consonant, symbols
are therefore signals which tell us whether we are likely to find a
recognizably equivalent or related word in a Teutonic language The
following is a list of five signposts of Teutonic word origin.
Words containing sh, e g sheep, shield, ship.
Words containing th, e g thaw, then, thin
Words containing gh, e g laughter, through, rough
Words with initial w, e g ware, wasp, wash
Words with initial sk, e g skin, skirt, sky
These five signposts help us to iccognize a very large number of words
of Teutonic origin as such, and many more can be identified by the
presence of characteristically Teutonic prefixes, of which the be- (in
belong or behead') is the most reliable, and suffixes of which the adjec-
tival -some (in lonesome), the diminutive -ling and the abstract endings
-dom, -hood or -head, -ship, -kind, and -craft are most diagnostic