Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Word Origins 101 - Entertainment

Will Law and Order prevail sans-Meloni?
Premiere season 2011 is upon us. Wednesday prime time saw the season opener of ABC's Emmy award-winning Modern Family. At the same time, NBC premiered Law and Order, sans the good detective Elliot Stadler (Christopher Meloni). Thursday will bring on a slew of other premieres, including Community, Parks and Recreation, and The Office, and debut of the new show Whitney. Showtime, HBO and other premium networks are rolling out premieres of their hit shows, too.

So it seems like a fitting time to take a closer look at a word near and dear to us all: "entertainment." 

Enter comes from the French entre-, which itself derives from the Latin inter, meaning "among or within." The root tain is also Latin, and shows up in a lot of common words like contain, retain, maintain, and obtain. It means "hold." So, taken together, the two roots that make up the word entertain mean "hold within" or "hold among." Seems kind of obtuse at first, but it actually gives some insight into the nature of entertainment. Entertainment consists of all the things that we humans hold to be true, or funny, or sad, or suspenseful, or romantic. There is a communal, universal aspect to entertainment. No one ever wrote a play to appeal to one or two people. Plays and movies and sitcoms and one-liners are all written to appeal to us all, to the collective truths that we "hold among" ourselves. When we are entertained, our attentions are "held among" the universal dramas that ring true to us all.

Vote! What was the best premiere of the week?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pediatrics can be so Pedestrian (not really)

pod, ped
foot or child

Most of the time, roots make sense. Knowledge of roots helps student decode unfamiliar words. However, sometimes they don't make sense, or they have multiple meanings that cause confusion. Ped or pod is just such a root. Its origins are both Latin and Greek. Sometimes it means "foot" as in pedal or podiatrist. Sometimes it means "child," as in pediatrician. Confusing, right?

How can the same root mean two totally different things? The answer may tell us something about ancient Greeks' attitude toward children. In Greek, child is paidos. Paidos derived from podos. Apparently, they didn't think very highly of children because the word they chose for them derived from their word for "foot." A child was thought of as someone who was merely "at the foot" of someone else.

Words in which ped or pod means "foot"
pedal, bipedal, podiatrist, pedestrian, tripod, impede, podium, pedestal, peddler, pedicure, macropod, pedigree, pedometer

Words in which ped means "child"
pediatrics, pedagogy, pedophile, pediatrician, Pedialyte, pedagogue, pedagogy, pediatrician

Monday, September 5, 2011

Greek and Latin Roots Lessons, Mnemonics and More

TPT Teachers! Post links to your Greek and Latin roots products here! They can be free or priced products. Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Troubleshooting an Ornery Computer - Quick Reference for Students and Teachers

"Teacher, my computer is broken!" If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I would have a lot of nickels. So, I created this one-page (two-sided) reference card that takes students through the steps to resurrect a frozen computer. There are two options: one process may allow them to save any unsaved work. The other process will not preserve any unsaved work. Try it out for yourself!The reference for students is designed for PC computers running Windows. Troubleshooting a Mac will be addressed in a future article.Not only will this handout save you time, it will teach students the basics to troubleshooting a hung Windows computer - something everyone needs to know if this hyper-technical world.

 Troubleshooting Your Computer - PDF