Why Students Should Study Greek & Latin Roots

July 30, 2019 0 Comments

Being a teenager is difficult.

Whether you are the teenager or a parent trying to manage one, it’s hectic trying to get through the developmental years. And it seems even more hectic when you need to begin thinking about education and how it will influence the future. Perhaps your teenager needs to take an exam for acceptance/class placement at a private high school. Maybe you are the student that has already begun attending high school, but needs to begin prepping for college entrance exams. You want to believe that a given education will be enough in mastering these specific exams and earning acceptance into competitive higher education programs. But is there anything else you’re missing out on?

Understanding roots and suffixes helps students learn multiple words at once. Rather than memorizing one fancy word, it is a way to increase the understanding of language for practical application.

One simple step you can take towards enhancing academic performance in language is by learning Greek and Latin roots and suffixes. Learning the meanings of roots and suffixes is beneficial for many reasons, but mainly it is a way to increase the understanding of language for practical application.

Unlike traditional vocabulary learning, understanding roots and suffixes helps a student learn multiple words at once. Rather than memorizing one fancy word that will hopefully influence higher level verbiage and could possibly appear on a standardized test, having an understanding of roots and suffixes will lead students towards understanding any word that contains a portion of the words they’ve come to know.  

Coming across a complex vocabulary word, especially on a high stakes test can be intimidating and discouraging. But if a student can break down a word and identify roots or a suffix, it is possible to determine the meaning without ever having studied it. For example, if a student comes across the word “monochromatic” and does not know the meaning, they could try to identify parts of the word they do know. The prefix “mono-“ means one or singular. “Chroma-“ like in the word chrome indicates color. And the suffix “-ic” indicates that something pertains to. The word meaning is likely pertain to one color.  

Many times, words are not so simply figured out. But by studying the Greek and Latin roots that dominate the English language, it is likely that a student could identify at least one part of a word to make an educated guess at its meaning, or use additional context clues to likely figure it out. For example, the suffix “-ist” stands as indicating a person who… So if a word contains “-ist” a student can at least understand that the word is at least a noun because it is describing a person, and their affinity is associated with the prefix of the word. As a result, a guess is at least directed towards proper understanding.

Standardized tests consistently test students on their vocabulary and it is easy to get lost in the dictionary of words recommended by testing administrators to study. But knowing roots and suffixes helps provide a broader understanding of language at its core. This becomes extremely beneficial beyond the scope of English as well. Greek and Latin roots dominate the English language, but a practical application of this knowledge can occur within the sciences. Science terminology, especially pertaining to the medical field, swells with Greek and Latin roots and suffixes. And if a student has any interest, they would likely benefit from knowing them, even if just for their own common knowledge base.

Additionally, you can always check with the school’s class guide to see if there is a Latin or Greek class available for you or your child. For many schools, this class fulfills a foreign language requirement necessary for graduation and/or higher education applications. Whether or not a student wants to fulfill multiple semesters or years within a Latin or Greek class may be a more finite detail to have a discussion about. However, if such a class may be taken as an elective course, most students, teachers, and programs find that the teachings provide a solid foundation for a student to navigate language and usage across multiple subjects.

Let Smart Edition Media be your test prep solution.
Check out our Helpful Articles tab and resources below for the information you need.

Test Your Knowledge!

Smart Edition Media has created our own set of flashcards for Latin and Greek roots, commonly seen on the standardized tests you’re preparing for. Click below to sample these flashcards and our products for English Language test prep.