improve your English

That wasn’t so scary, was it?

Last time I was talking about how recognising the core elements of a word can help students decipher new words containing the same elements.To illustrate, I posed a few examples:

obesophobia      bibliophobia      microphobia      zoophobia      dentophobia

Hopefully, you’ll have recognised obes from ‘obesity‘, and worked out that obesophobia is the fear of getting fat. Biblio links to books (e.g. bibliography), so bibliophobia is the fear of books. Microphobia is the fear of small things (micro), zoophobia is the fear of animals and dentophobia is the fear of dentists(!).

The second batch was a bit harder:

gynophobia      hydrophobia      somniphobia

If you think of ‘gynaecologist‘, then you’re halfway to realizing that gynophobia is a fear of women; hydrophobia is a fear of water (the hydra was a mythical Greek water beast) and somniphobia is the fear of falling asleep.

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Sharon Creese


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