Derivational Relations Stages
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Derivational Relations Stage Chapter 8
The term derivational relations refers to the type of word knowledge that more advanced readers and writers possess. Spelling and vocabulary knowledge at this stage develop primarily through processes of derivation in which new words result from the addition of prefixes and suffixes to a single base word or word root. Exploration of words at the derivational relations stage prompts more extensive experience in reading and writing skills. There is a close correlation between growth in vocabulary, spelling knowledge, and the amount of reading and writing that occurs in the derivational relations spelling stage
The derivational relations stage can be composed of students in upper elementary, middle school, and high school, as well as adults; therefore, most mistakes made will be at a “high level” of spelling competency. These mistakes will require a more advanced foundation in spelling and vocabulary to correct. It is imperative that individuals at the derivational relations stage explore the logic underlying the correct spellings of these words not only to help them learn and remember their correct spelling but also to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of how words work. Vocabulary development progresses through this understanding and appreciation of words and how they work.
An ever-expanding conceptual foundation and the addition of words that represent this foundation underlie the type of word knowledge that transpires through advanced reading and writing. Advanced readers have the capability to explore the Greek and Latin word elements that are the essential morphemes from which thousands of words are assembled. Linguists estimate that 60% to 80% of English vocabulary is built through the grouping of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Comprehending these processes will allow students to analyze and understand the unfamiliar words that they will encounter in the content area reading materials of middle school and high school. Students gain access to these words primarily through reading experiences. The advanced reader picks up morphemic chunks as well as syllabic chunks in polysyllabic words.
Words that are related in meaning are often related in spelling, despite changes in sound. Therefore, if you are uncertain how to spell a word, try to think of a word that is comparable in meaning that you do know how to spell. This concept presents a tremendous opportunity to integrate spelling and vocabulary instruction. In a group of related words a number of sounds may change, while the spelling remains the same. For this purpose, students need to be guided to first notice particular changes may that represent an increasing order of difficulty and abstractness.
Characteristics of Derivational Relations Spelling What Students Do Correctly
Early Derivational Relations Spell most words correctly
trapped, humor, sailor CONFUDENSE for confidence,
What is Absent
Unstressed vowels in derivationally related pairs – CONFUDENT
Note: No features are completely absent
Vowel patterns in accented syllables
Suffixes and prefixes
Doubling and e drop at syllable juncture
Others spelling meaning connections
OPISISION for oppostion
Middle Derivational Relations
What Students Use but Confuse
CRITISIZE / critic All of the above Common Latin suffixes and prefixes
CLOROFIL for chlorophyl
Some silent letters: emfasize for emphasize Greek and Latin elements
MEDISINAL for medicinal Late Derivational Relations All of the above OPOSITION for opposition DOMINENCE for dominance
Absorbed prefixes: SUCESSION, ILITERATE Advanced Latin suffixes: DEPENDANCE
Foreign borrowing: CROKAY for croquet
Word Study Instruction During the Derivational Relations Stage
Word study for advanced readers stresses active exploration of words and the use of word knowledge for spelling, vocabulary development, and the investigation of unknown words encountered in reading. Teachers can inform students that they are now going to be learning how spelling indicates meaning.
Sequence and Pacing See the table below for a general progression of word study in the derivational relations stage. The Greek and Latin word roots that occur with the greatest frequency should be studied initially. The knowledge of how elements merge within words provides a resilient foundation and prolific strategy for continuing vocabulary and spelling growth.
Consonant and Vowel Alternations 1. Consonant Alternations Silent/sounded sign/signal, condemn/condemnation, soften/soft /t/ to /sh/ connect/connection, select/selection /k/ to /sh/ music/musician, magic/magician /k/ to /s/ critic/criticize, political/politicize /s/ to /sh/ prejudice/prejudicial, office/official 2. Vowel Alternations Long to short crime/criminal, ignite/ignition, humane/humanity Long to schwa compete/competition, define/definition, gene/genetic Schwa to short local/locality, legal/legality, metal/metallic
3. Suffix Study Explore the addition of -sion, -tion, -ian to basewords.
Greek & Latin Word Elements Start with Greek number prefixes mono- (one), bi(two), tri- (three), and move to the Greek roots tele(far, distant), therm- (heat), photo- (light), and astr(star). (See lists in Appendix E. in the WTW Text). Move to frequent Latin roots with the aim of gaining a working understanding of a few frequent occurring roots with relatively concrete and constant meanings: -tract(draw, pull), -spect- (look), -port- (carry), -dict- (to say), -rupt- (to break), and -scrib- (to write). (See lists in Appendix E. in the WTW Text). Explore additional Latin and Greek prefixes, building on those already taught at the syllables and affixes stage.
Prefix Meaning Prefix Meaning inter- between sub- under intra- within pre- before super- over; greater anti- against counter- opposing demi- half
ex- our semi- half fore- before quadr- four post- after pent- five pro- in front of, forward
Explore common Greek suffixes 4. Explore common Greek suffixes Suffix Meaning -crat/-cracy rule -emia condition of the blood -ician specialist in -ine chemical substance -ism/-ist belief in; one who believes -logy/-logist science of; scientist -pathy/-path disease; one who suffers from a disease -phobia abnormal fear
Predictable Spelling Changes in Consonants and Vowels 1./t/ to /sh/ permit/permission, transmit/transmission 2./t/ to /s/ silent/silence 3./d/ to /zh/ explode/explosion, decide/decision 4./sh/ to /s/ ferocious/ferocity, precocity 5.Long to short vain/vanity, receive/reception, retain/retention 6.Long to schwa explain/explanation, exclaim/exclamation
Advanced Suffix Study
1.-able/-ible respectable, favorable versus visible, audible 2.-ant/-ance fragrant/fragrance, dominant/dominance -ent/-ence dependent/dependence, florescent/florescence 1.Consonant occurred, permitted versus traveled, benefited doubling and accent
Absorbed Prefixes 1.Prefix + base word in + mobile = immobile; ad + count = account 2.Prefix + word root ad + cept = accept, in + mune = immune
The difficulty of the word meanings, rather than the difficulty of reading the words, may restrict decisions about what features are taught in this stage. At this level it is okay to add some new vocabulary words to sorts, but the majority of words should be familiar in order for students to make generalizations, progressing from known to unknown words. Unlike the letter name alphabetic stage and the within-word pattern stage, there is less of a sense of urgency to progress through the derivational relations stage due to the fact that students and adults will be in the stage for a long time. As a matter of fact, word study for derivational relations is generally drawn out over the middle school and high school years and never really ends! However, it is of supreme importance that students study the spelling-meaning connections in order to boost students’ vocabulary.
Consonant alternation occurs when there are consonants that are silent in one word, but they may be “sounded” in a related word. The study of consonant alternations should begin with silent/sounded pairs, for instance hasten/haste and soften/soft. A good strategy to help students learn to remember the spelling of a word with a silent consonant is to try to think of a word that is related in spelling and meaning. Another consonant alternation pattern involves alternations which change the consonant sound by adding an ending, such as critic/criticize.
When affixes are added and the accented syllables change an alternation may occur in the sound of the vowel while the spelling of the vowel remains the same. This occurrence is called a vowel alternation. Vowel alternation patterns should be presented in a logical sequence in order for students to benefit most from their studies of these patterns. A good starting point would be the study of related words which comprise simple vowel alternations that change from long-to-short vowel sounds as suffixes are added, such as sane to sanity. Next, students should examine vowel alternations in which the vowel is reduced from the long sound to the schwa sound when a suffix is added, as in invite to invitation. Finally, students should analyze vowel alternations where the schwa sound is reduced to a short vowel, for instance local to locality.
To help students learn that vowels are heard most noticeably in the accented syllable, vowel alternation sorts should commence with the pairing of derived words and then grouping the pairs by the changes in the vowel sounds and stressed syllables. This technique will also help students remember that the spelling of the schwa in an unaccented syllable can be ascertained by thinking of a related word in which that syllable is accented.
Adding –ion to words
The suffix /shun/ can be spelled by several means and also influences the base word in fascinating ways. It could cause a vowel to alternate or a final consonant sound to change. The ending of the base word must be contemplated when spelling the /shun/ suffix. Listed below is a synopsis of the rules and the sequence of introduction for students.
Base words that end in -ct or -ss just add -ion (traction, expression).
Base words that end in -ic add -ian (magician).
Base words that end in -te drop the e and add -ion (translation).
Base words that end in -ce drop the e and add -tion (reduce/reduction).
Base words that end in -de and -it drop those letters and add -sion or -ssion (decide/decision, admit/admission).
Sometimes -ation is added to the base word but causes little trouble for spellers because it can be heard (transport/transportation).
Word sorts should be conducted in which students pair the base word with its derivative, followed by having students group the pairs by the spelling pattern and look for the type of vowel or consonant alternations that have taken place. Teachers need to develop word sorts that will help students observe the occurrence of multiple alternations in a group of related words.
Greek & Latin Elements Typically Greek and Latin elements (roots or stems) do not stand alone as opposed to base words, such as struct (“build”) in restructure. Greek roots may combine in different places in words; whereas, Latin stems tend to remain in one place, do not move around, and have prefixes and suffixes attach to them. The term “word root” can be used to introduce the concept of Greek and Latin word parts to students. Then, upon comprehension of the word parts and how they work, teachers can point out the distinction between Greek roots and Latin stems. Word roots rest inside a word and can be a much needed anchor to which prefixes and suffixes may attach. The spelling-meaning principle applies to roots in which words with similar meanings are usually spelled similarly. Also, it is essential that students know that spelling visually signifies the meaning of these elements and guards the meaning relationships among words that initially may appear quite different, for instance the constant spelling of -jud- in the words judge, prejudice, and adjudicate. Roots may initially be difficult to locate; however, their frequent spelling is crucial in identifying them and analyzing how they function within words.
Predictable Spelling Changes in Vowels and Consonants Once word roots and their derivational relatives have been explored, students can begin to study related words that have both sound and spelling changes. This alternation occurs regularly in word families. Students discover that base words with the ai or ei spelling will change to a or e for the derived word’s spelling. Students will come to this conclusion based on what they have learned from the spelling-meaning patterns. Base words can be paired with their derivative in word sorts, for instance receive/reception, exclaim/exclamation, and detain/detention. The words can then be sorted into pairs according to the specific spelling change that has taken place.
Advanced Suffix Study There are some suffixes that provide occasional difficulty for even advanced readers and writers, for instance -able/-ible seems to be misspelled frequently. A helpful generalization for these suffixes is: If the suffix is joined to a base word that can stand alone, it is typically spelled -able; if it is connected to a word root, it is generally spelled -ible. Base words that end in e will frequently drop the e and add able; whereas, soft c or g endings may be preceded by ible. The -ant/-ance and -ent/-ence can be understood by knowing the spelling of a word that ends in one of these suffixes. Also, the addition of inflected endings and consonant doubling is re-examined in the derivational relations stage for words containing polysyllables. The general rule for doubling the final consonant before adding ed is that if the last syllable of the base word is accented, the final consonant should be doubled. However, if the last syllable is not accented, you should not double the final consonant. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions to this rule, traveled and benefitted, that have occurred because, over time, many people have misspelled the word and this misspelling has worked its way into the dictionary as the accepted spelling of the word.
Absorbed Prefixes The study of prefixes begins in the syllable and affixes stage. Although most prefixes are easily located, there is a group that is somewhat disguised, as in the word illegal. The only indication of the prefix is the doubled letters. Such prefixes are known as absorbed or assimilated prefixes and cause the most challenging spelling trouble for students because they rely on extensive prior knowledge about other basic spellingmeaning patterns, processes of adding prefixes to base words, and simple Greek and Latin roots. Absorbed or assimilated prefixes are mainly Latin in origin and are prevalent in English.
Content Area Vocabulary In this stage students will not only need to master the systematic study of orthographic and derivational features, but also many words from content areas. Chapter 7 of the WTW text describes ideas about activating background knowledge and the use of graphic organizers. “More ideas can be found in books that deal specifically with vocabulary such as Bringing Words to Life (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002), Teaching Word Meanings (Stahl & Nagy, 2006), and the Vocabulary Handbook (Diamond and Gutlohn, 2006).” (p. 242)
Word Origins A strong knowledge base for learning spelling and vocabulary can be bestowed by exploring the origins of words and the processes of word creation, in addition to facilitating more effective reading and writing. Etymology, the study of word origins, could possibly cultivate into a lifelong fascination for many individuals. This groundwork can be set through the focused exploration of etymology as students examine word roots and affixes. A genuine sense of how words work at this level in addition to a general sense of how words can move through history is developed during this stage. The understanding of an unusually spelled word’s origins helps to provide students with the most powerful key to remembering the spelling of the word. To arouse students’ inquisitiveness about word origins you might read aloud selections from mythology, literature, or historical books when additional time is available. It may also create interest to examine words that have been imported from other countries. A fun activity to conduct in the classroom is to post a large world map on the wall and exhibit words according to their country of origin.