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Together Step

My little thought for the day.

My daughter, in Grade 5, 10 1/2 years old, has a creative teacher whose experiential teaching background (think LAUSD meets Outward Bound) comes up with all sorts of inventive ways to challenge the kids forward.  One of the exercises (pre-pre SAT prep, really) is looking at word derivations and roots.  He’s using word roots so the kids get an understanding of vocubulary construction. 

Our Friday morning drive to school includes me quizzing her on her words, since Friday is test day and a chance to win stars.  Enough stars and you can cash them in for anything from a prize from his secret goodie box, up to being teacher for a day.  So my daughter, who likes the idea of being in charge (wonder who she gets that from…) is very motivated to get her 60 stars and be teacher for a day.  I say the words, my daughter tells me the meaning.  This past week was about walking and stepping.  In-gress.  E-gress.  Di-gress.  Con-gress. 

Being somewhat politically astute, “congress” caught my attention and hit my sarcasm bone, which used to be a funny bone until about mid-2009.  It’s word roots are “con” meaning “together” and “gradi” meaning “walk or step”.  Congress literally means “together step”.  When you think of the US Congress, the idea is that together, the two bodies — the House and the Senate — step our country forward. 

However, when you look at the past couple of years, in fact, it might, should, perhaps be renamed Digress.  Or “away step”.  No?

1 comment to Together Step

  • frish

    Word origins are important. Here’s a heinous example!

    spirit – the root word means to breathe.

    As in “in-spire” (in breath), “ex-spire” (out breath).

    However, somehow a misinterpretation occurred along the way.

    When translating “the spirit left the body” (in other words, no more breathing, the spirt (breath) left the body, and they died), somehow “spirit” became an entity unto itself.

    So, now people “believe” that along with a body they also have a soul, there is a force known as the “holy spirit”, that one’s spirit “goes” somewhere after life ceases, etc.

    All of which, in this commenter’s mind, is total balderdash, and the simple reason is, what evolutionary pressure would provide/allow/seek such a situation? There isn’t any. Sorry to shatter a global myth, but you are what you appear to be, a fragile container of mostly water, or, a mobile mineral.

    How unfortunate that not enough people take a class on word origins and therefore don’t know what they are talking about!

    I took a college class entitled “Latin and Greek word origins” and spent about 8 hours a night with my nose in a dictionary. The Prof was an expert in ancient French, and let us know his name meant “big beak” in that language…

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