Welcome and some suffixes
Welcome to the BBC Learning English blog! I’m sure that you’ll find it is a very friendly place to practise writing in English. I’ll be your ‘teacher blogger’ for this week and then I’ll hand over to someone else at the weekend.
I really look forward to learning more about Finland, your studies, work and family. I’ve done a little bit of teaching in a Swedish university, but never been to Finland. Though I did have a Finnish pen pal when I was at school!
I have just done an internet search for Rovaniemi and found out that tomorrow the sun rises at just before 2 a.m. and sets at half past midnight there. So you have only 90 minutes of darkness? Wow! My children grew up in Indonesia, near the Equator, where the sun sets at six o’clock in the evening every day, all year round. When we moved back to the UK, they found it very difficult to sleep in the summer. “But it’s still light!” they would say when I insisted they go to bed!
Your English is great by the way and I look forward to working with you for the rest of this week. I’m going to talk today about word formation, because there are lots of correct examples in your writing and one example which needs attention.
Here we go…. Sometimes new words come into English from other languages (for example, these food words: pizza, salsa, satay, tapas, chapatti). But more frequently, new words are formed from existing words in one of four main processes: adding a prefix (pro-Europe, decriminalise); adding a suffix (ageism, stardom, booklet); changing a word from one word class to another (a visit to Finland is an absolute must – verb to noun, can we microwave it – noun to verb); and compounding (helpline, award-winning, lifelong).
I want to focus on suffixes here. You correctly use several suffixes in your post to change the class of a word. For example:
properly = in a suitable or correct manner. Here the suffix changes the word proper from an adjective to an adverb (see also: slowly, quietly)
vocational = preparing for a job. Here the suffix changes the word vocation from a noun to an adjective (see also: criminal, traditional)
suitable = the right type or quality for a particular person, purpose or thing. Here the suffix changes the word suit from a verb to an adjective (see also: readable, workable)
management = the practice of managing a business or money. Here the suffix changes the word manage from a verb to a noun (see also: tourism, education, competition and employee)
It’s also possible to use a suffix to change the meaning of the base word. For example:
employer, interviewer = person or organisation that does the action
employee, interviewee = person or organisation that has the action done to them
host, actor = male
hostess, actress = female (though today most people use the ‘male’ form for both genders, or use a non-gender specific phrase, for example flight attendant instead of air steward and air stewardess)
booklet, kitchenette = small book, kitchen
So by now, you’ve probably guessed what my correction is! Instead of:
When I got the reply from the employee I was shocked.
When I got the reply from the employer I was shocked.
OK, that’s all for today. I look forward to hearing more from you soon Taru!
Comments on the comments:
Ana Paula (from Brazil) – I am glad to have found a desk-organisation-style soulmate! Actually, one of my piles of papers fell over today, so now my desk has a fresh new look for June. Hurrah! Hope your exam went well!
James Wu (from Taiwan) – glad you liked the videos! I always enjoy reading your comments.
Vladimir (from Ukraine) – I’d like to hear you imitating the accents you’ve picked up on your travels! The study of attitudes to accents is an academic field called perceptual dialectology. There is a lovely website about research into US attitudes to different accents here: Perceptual Dialectology in the USA.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a brilliant book, isn’t it? Partly because she is so good at representing the speech of her characters; reading her book is almost like eavesdropping on her characters' lives.
Toni (from Barcelona, Spain) – thanks for your comments!
Marianna (from Slovakia) – I agree with you and also agree that you deserve to go to the ball!
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.