Grade 6 teacher Karen at the Nueva School shared one of the ways she plans to have students dive into SWI this year with mini word analyses presentations. She shared a wonderful one with me on a fascinating word that was new to me <petrichor>. 

Here is a screen shot of an example of a word analysis of this word. Download the pdf HERE

Screen Shot 2015 09 07 at 8.39.25 PM

 

One thing I shared about this word that I was helpful for me is that it gives us clear evidence that there is no <petro-> or <petri-> element. If there were, the word here would have to be *<petroichor> or *<petriichor>. 

What we have evidence for is that the English base element from Greek petr(os) for 'stone, rock' is <petr> -- with NO final vowel letter. Take a look at what comes up on the Word Searcher when I search the letter sequence <petr>:

Search Results for "petr"
(24 matches)
petrel
petrol
petrels
petrify
puppetry
petrified
petrifies
petroleum
petrology
saltpetre
perpetrate
petrifying
petrolatum
perpetrated
perpetrates
perpetrator
petrodollar
perpetrating
perpetration
perpetrators
petrifaction
petrodollars
petrochemical
petrochemicals
 
 
While <puppetry> is one word that jumps out as being unrelated to the base element <petr> most of the rest of these words seem safely in he same etymological family -- and word sums could be used to show they beling in the same orthographic morphological family. 
 
But words like <petrify>, <petrochemical> and <petrichor> can only be shown to be in the same matrix when we use the <-o-> and <-i-> connecting vowel letters. 
 
petr + i + fy --> petrify
petr + o + chem + ic + al --> petrochemical
petr + ichor --> petrichor
 
Here's a little matrix for those three words...
 
Screen Shot 2015 09 07 at 8.53.57 PM
 
Besides being such a cool new word to me for the smell after the rain, what I love about <petrichor> is that in this case, the <i> is NOT a connector vowel, but the initial leter of the second element in this word!
 
A similar pattern is found with word sums in other families like:
 
bi + o + log + y --> biology
bi + ome --> biome
 
Does anyone know of other families with words that have letters that might be confused for connecting vowel letters that happen to be initial letters in an element?
 
 
 

 

Comments (1)

  1. Lisa Barnett

Thanks for breaking this word down~~ one of my daughters LOVES petrichor, she is also beginning to find interest in SWI --this will be perfect to discuss with her! Attached are a couple of pictures of petrichor I've sent her over the years. (funny....spellcheck wants me to fix this word, its offering psychometric :-o )

Lisa Barnett

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