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pole/+ ite/ + ic + al political

early 15c., "pertaining to public affairs," from Middle French politique "political" (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus "of citizens or the state, civil, civic," from Greek politikos "of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life," from polites "citizen," from polis "city" (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as "prudent, judicious."

Some semantic interpretations:

Study the context in which Greta uses this word:

“At places like Davos people like to tell success stories but their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change we have to acknowledge that we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so. And the media has failed to create broad public awareness.”

How does the historical sense and meaning of this word linking to “citizen” inform Greta’s use of this word in this speech? I wonder if the fact that it also goes back to “city” can inform how we see government action on climate change. What do we see happening in terms of government action on climate change at the city level compared to the nation level?

Possible orthographic investigations include:

  • My analysis of <political> includes an <-ite> suffix that has its potential, final, non-syllabic <e> replaced by the vowel suffix <-al>. I wondered for a bit if that suffix might be an <-it>. There is evidence of the <-it> suffix in words like <credit> with this structure <crede/ + it>.
  • When I thought about other possible related words with the bound base <pole> I thought of a word that guided my choice of the <-ite> suffix. Do you agree with my analysis, or do you have a reason to propose <-it> as a more coherent analysis?
  • Etymonline identifies the word <police> is also from the same etymological family:

police (n.)

1530s, "the regulation and control of a community," at first essentially the same word as policy (n.1); from Middle French police (late 15c.), from Latin politia "civil administration," from Greek polis "city" (see polis).

My current hypothesis of the word <police> is that is has the structure <pole/ + ice>. I had to do some study to find evidence of the suffix <-ice> in other families.

I think I have evidence from word sums in the family of a fascinating bound base <st> for “stand” from the Latin root st(are)

sol + st + ice ➔ solstice
arm + i + st + ice ➔ armistice

You can find more about this base and even a single consonant letter base at this old Real Spellers post.

  • Can you construct a matrix that represents the words <political> and <police> and perhaps some other words with the <pole> base?

Comments (1)

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I recently received this lovely message from an environmental group called Sofar Ocean.

I was delighted to find they discovered this Real Spellers post that so clearly targets their interests and that the were asking about linking to each others' work. Absolutely! This kind of connection just reinforces the value of using structured word inquiry instruction as a means of deepening understanding of content areas.

Also, I've posted this comment in this special 'interactive format' of my original post that Real Spellers webmaster Matt Berman put together. The text of my original piece is the same, but Matt has created this format so that the reader can click on the identified words (at right) for resources, and those links can also be found in the text of the post. I hope to collaborate with Matt for more of these interactive kinds of posts. If you like to print off and study such documents on paper, you can go to the original post for the WordWorks Newsletter #99 at THIS LINK.

Below is the message from Sofar Ocean and the link to their work. Let's keep the col + labor + ate/ + ing going!

Hi there,

I’m Alexander from the Sofar Ocean editorial team. We connect the world’s oceans to provide insights to science, society, and industry for a more sustainable planet.

I’m reaching out because your post caught our attention as we were searching for ocean temperature, marine ecosystem, environmental disaster, climate crisis, coral reef ecosystem-related topics.

I was wondering if you can link it to our piece How Does Climate Change Affect the Ocean since we are of the same wavelength and have the same type of readers.

You may tag it/backlink it to any relevant text in any of your articles that you deem relevant. As a token of good faith, the Sofar Ocean team would be happy to campaign your website and content across our social media channels.

Let me know what you think.


Alexander Brown

Peter Bowers
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