Language Root Learning

Do Roots Help To Read Faster?

Most words of a language can be classified in word families and many word families are based on the same root. So for example 20.000 words can be from only 2000 word families which are based on just 400 word roots or stems. Dutch "begrijpelijk" (understandable) comes from the word family / verb stem "begrijp" (understand) which in turn is based on the root "grijp" (grasp). We can all grasp the meaning of this.

Once you have encountered enough words within a word family you can sort of guess the root. Or vice versa, if you learn the root you will understand or guess the formation of multiple word families and you will master new words faster.

Root Learning Supports Reading

However, just learning roots and corresponding word families will not get you to the finish line. You will be stacking unconnected words in your memory cells. An organic language consists of interconnected sentences containing totally different words belonging to totally different word families but being used in one sentence.

The use of these words together forms the language. Root learning may help you understand whole groups of words faster but it will not make you understand the actual language. Only reading will do that. But root learning will help you guess word meanings in context much faster, because apart from the grappling hooks that the other words in the sentence or the other sentences, or the whole story offer, you now also have the extra information that your knowledge of the root or stem of the new word gives you.