Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Click HERE for a document built on the correspondence with a Grade 4 teacher who emailed me excellent questions she, her students and  a fellow teacher perceived when they attempted to analyze the word <competition>, and the orthographic trail that led them on. 

This is a very productive discussion for those trying to get more confident with the "structure and meaning test" and the nature of morphological and etymological relatives.

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Comments (3)

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Wonderful post and exploration of <competition> as well as <repeat> and so many others. As Ellen mentioned <petulant> and <impetus>!

I would love to dig deeper into this question of <ite> and <it>. Perhaps we could explore the <ite> as a derivational suffix. Since derivational suffixes produce new lexical items, <compete> and <competition> verb to noun, might just be the <ite> suffix. Isn't great hypothesizing and not having to know the answer? Thanks for sharing, Mary McBride

mary mcbride
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Please dig away Mary!

I'd love to see some hypotheses grow from this string. You know that this is not going to be the only place where we can't sort out if a word has an <-it> or <-ite> suffix! In the process I'm sure I'll learn more about grammatical roles of suffixes and the role of etymology for questions about affixes.

Peter Bowers
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This is an excellent example of how to work through the "structure and meaning" test. I think it is difficult for teachers to be ok with not always knowing the "answer" and taking the journey. I love the way you guided (without giving them too much information) these students and how you connected their investigation to the scientific process. I especially liked this paragraph:
"What you have done is excellent scientific work. You analyzed as far as you could, and identified exactly what you don't know. And when you reached that point, you sought advice with a very clearly described question."

I still have questions about the spelling of "repeat". I could not find anything in the etymology that explained it so I will be thinking about that. I had forgotten that "petulant" and "impetus" belong to this word family. I would love to explore this base with students.

Thanks for sharing. Ellen

Ellen Meyer
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