New Indian Express: Etymology 101
What is Etymology Education?
Etymology Education is a system of study that enables students to learn the concepts of various academic disciplines through an understanding of words, and their roots, which constitute the subject. Words are the fundamental units of knowledge, and a strong grounding in the nature of words will greatly facilitate knowledge acquisition. It is a mode of experiential learning where the focus is on logicality, word formation and understanding.
Is Etymology different from Etymology Education?
Yes. Etymology is the general study of the origin of words. Etymology Education is a teaching methodology that uses knowledge of this field to deliver an understanding of language to students of different age groups, in classroom settings. Instead of teaching words independently, we instruct the learner in word construction itself.
How did you get inspired to design Etymology Education as a methodology for learning vocabulary?
While studying psycholinguistics at university, I conducted English vocabulary lessons for students. I noticed that English drew from Greek or Latin. My students benefited from this realisation and it helped us succeed. This soon grew into a passion, which steered me to Ireland, where I learnt Ancient Classical Latin. On my return, I founded Logophilia Education.
How does Etymology Education impact the way a student studies?
Students often devote a needless amount of time to memorising word meanings, spellings and pronunciation, overlooking the intuitive patterns that, once recognised, greatly simplify learning and make rote memorisation redundant. Etymology Education helps students to ‘etymologise’ (trace the origins of) words by ‘breaking’ them up. Once etymologised, the meaning, spelling and pronunciation all become obvious. In Greek, for example, the P is silent before a consonant; also, ‘psych’ in Greek means mind. If a student knows this when processing words like psychology, psyche, psychiatry, the meaning, spelling, and pronunciation become easier.
How many students have you been able to reach out to?
After 70 short and 32 long workshops in just over three years across six States (UP, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, TN, Karnataka and Delhi) Logophilia has a pan-Indian presence. We have done sessions in two high schools in South Dakota, USA. We have reached an estimated 1,00,000 students in India, a few hundred in America, and countless more virtually.
Your last word on how and why Etymology Education should be adopted and adapted to as a part of our education system.
A functional understanding of etymology can impart a large vocabulary to a student, and since words are fundamental to knowledge, it strengthens his/her knowledge whilst also saving time. We are preparing Etymology Education curricula to empower students with different curricula. We insist that every subject should have an Etymology Education supplement, so that students never have to resort to rote memorisation.
We live by the motto:
Teach a word, you will help for a day;
Teach Etymology, you will help for a lifetime!
(We plan to carry a Logophilia Vocabulary Feature on a regular basis in the Student Edition. Don’t miss it.)