Tip 8: Dictionary Links

A276 – Learning Latin – Targeting Vocabulary – Tip 8



pater, patris (3m), father

By now you’ve no doubt learned this word as ‘patr-‘ meaning ‘father’. Now grab yourself an English dictionary and turn to words which start with ‘patr-‘. You’ll find a fair few linked to the idea of ‘father’…

patriarch, patriarchal, patriarchy, patricide, patron, patriot, patriotic, patrician…

and, of course…

paternal, paternity

which very neatly reminds you that ‘pat-‘ without the ‘-r-‘ can pop up, too, and also, still, mean ‘father’ as well.

And you’ve immediately got a matching set, too, for: māter, mātris (3f), mother: matriarch, matriarchal, matriarchy, matricide, matron, maternal, maternity…

Here’s an index card I rustled up in half a minute or so. It doesn’t take long at all.

Index card


You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? If you do just TEN of these a day it’ll take you a mere FIVE minutes (once you’ve got the hang of it, of course; be prepared for a slow start and give yourself a few days in a row to build up to speed) and in a couple of weeks, Monday to Friday only, over the holidays, you’ll clock up ONE HUNDRED. Stretch it to three weeks and that’s ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY. Double your daily output and kapow! That’s THREE HUNDRED. That’s one for almost every word in the Consolidated Learning Vocabulary List at the back of the Language Reference Book.

The trick is to gauge what you can and can’t do. Which days are so busy that it’ll be a struggle to squeeze in just one? [IMPORTANT: you must, though, in order to maintain motivation and momentum (crucial!) do at least one – and never none at all – on any one day]. But then which days might you have an hour here and there to sit down and churn out a whole load? As long as you have a realistic daily average rate to aim for and can adjust, to fit that accordingly, what you can actually produce on any one day in particular, then you’ll be achieving something really worthwhile.

Just one word of caution: ORGANISATION! Ask yourself…

WHAT? Get yourself sorted straight away: index cards, pens, pencils, ruler, rubber, tippex… get them all together in one place, or in one container you can take from place to place, and make sure nothing’s forgotten, or going to run out.

WHEN? Two or three at each mealtime? One on the hour every hour? Five when you wake up and five before you go to sleep?

WHERE? Is everything going to be in one place so that you go there every time to write a card? Or do you need to take it all with you because you’ll be bobbing about a bit?

WHY? Err… you know that, don’t you? Because then you’ll do brilliantly! Yay!! J

HOW? Think for yourself how things will need to work for you day by day. The best plan is a flexible one which you can change easily, at short notice, to account for changing circumstances (expected and unexpected) and still keep on track with the goals you’re aiming for by the end of your holiday revision period.

One last word – the dictionary you use: big, small, old, or up-date; a ‘proper’ book, digital download, or online access version? It really doesn’t matter as long as it suits you and what you’re doing with it. Obviously an online version is no use if you end up somewhere with no internet connection. A massive multi-volume book version can’t be easily taken anywhere. A small pocket version may not have many of the more involved vocabulary that’s Latin-related. You may have to mix and match if you find yourself in very changeable circumstances over the course of your holiday revision period. But that’s no bad thing. Familiarising yourself with the different formats of a variety of dictionaries, and how to navigate them, is worthwhile in itself.

Linking Latin to English words like this is a brilliant way to revise; to review and refresh your knowledge. Aim for one really good memorable link-word in English to trigger your memory of the Latin and its meaning. If you’ve time, then go back and add some alternatives (like I’ve done above). Concentrate, especially, on the trickiest words which you find hardest to remember. And don’t waste any time at all on words you already know, instantly, without having to think. Put the effort in where it’ll make most difference.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ;-}

Grammar hints coming your way from January…

Steven Havelin (17.12.17)