Discussion Questions & Activity
Vocabulary & Etymology Activity
In this lecture, Dr. Perrin provides several examples of how vocabulary and etymology illuminate ideas about classical education. These examples included liberal, arts, and rudimentary. How often do you consider the nuanced meanings or histories of words you use on a regular basis? Take several minutes to complete the following activity:
- Choose a word that you use frequently in the classroom, or choose a word that you enjoy. (If you need help, here is a quick list: vocabulary, etymology, observation, grammar, dictionary, reading, insight, illumination, problem, joy, or difficult).
- Once you have chosen your word, look up its etymology on a website such as the Online Etymology Dictionary. Is it Latin, Greek, Germanic? What does the etymology tell you about the meaning of the word? Did you learn anything new?
- Do the same with an online dictionary, such as the English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Have you been using the word correctly? What did your search reveal?
Once you learn a word’s origin and clear meaning, you are free to use that word in a variety of new ways. Additionally, you now understand the word in a deeper, richer way.