Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Here are two books by Peter Smith, one on Latin roots and one on Greek. They are free from the University of Victoria. These materials are completely free - a bequest of the family of Peter Smith.

These books are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- 4.0 International license, which means that you are free to share, copy, distribute, modify, adapt, and transmit the content for noncommercial purposes, with attribution.

Under this license, anyone who redistributes or modifies this textbook, in whole or in part, can do so for free providing they properly attribute the book(s) as follows:

Smith, Peter. (2016). Greek and Latin Roots: for Science and the Social Sciences, Part I – Latin. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria is used under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Smith, Peter. (2016). Greek and Latin Roots: for Science and the Social Sciences, Part II – Greek. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria is used under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2016 by Estate of Peter Smith

Published by
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2 Canada
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For questions about this book, please contact the Copyright and Scholarly Communication Office, University of Victoria Libraries at
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Comments (3)

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Okay, I've started reading Part II of Peter Smith on Greek roots. I may not surface again for some time! This book is every bit as wonderful as the Latin one, and gives terrific historical background on the relationships between Latin and Greek and the paths through which Greek words entered English. It's also every bit as readable as the Latin book.

Gail Venable
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These two books from Peter Smith are, second only to the Latin Spellinars with realspelling, the best explanation I have seen of Latin and Greek for orthographers. Peter Smith was a classics professor at the University of Victoria who taught a class on Latin and Greek roots and judging from these materials he must have been an extraordinary teacher, knowledgeable, warm and funny! I haven't worked much with the Greek book yet, but I can rhapsodize about the Latin one.

I studied Latin in high school, and at the time, I enjoyed the class but lived for the last five minutes where when an occasional derivative might be presented. Fifty years later I went back to San Francisco State University to study Latin again, and to make a stab at Greek. My classes were really fascinating, but again, my professors were not much interested in the ways that Latin or Greek had affected English, and certainly not English spelling, which was a pity because many of my (much younger) classmates would have found the information extremely useful in their lives. My kindly and knowledgeable TA's tried to help, but I would often be referred to the one etymology specialist on the faculty or one grad student who was interested in etymology. Peter Smith is the person I was really looking for all along!

I have been studying real spelling for 11 years, and classical derivations are my particular passion. Take it from me - you don't have to bring a lot of experience to these books - you will definitely find rewards between their covers (and they do have covers - you can buy them as physical books as well if you prefer). Peter Smith does not analyze everything exactly the way I have learned to do. Not everything is analyzed as deeply as we might in this community. But there is so much depth here, and such great writing. If you dig into these pdfs, I know you will find a friend.

Comment was last edited about 3 weeks ago by Gail Venable Gail Venable
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Thank you Gail for sharing this wonderful resource- Marta

Marta Morris
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