Curious Minds … apartheid and discrimination

As we continue our study of the Civil Rights Movement, interesting words keep popping up. So far we have looked at prejudice, segregation, and integration. During the research into those words, the words ‘apartheid’ and ‘discrimination’ surfaced. Intrigued, we began with the word ‘apartheid’. We read some information and recognized that there were some parallels to be drawn between the situation in South Africa from the late 1940’s to the 1990’s and the situation in the U.S. prior to the 1960’s. Then we wondered how the words ‘apartheid’ and ‘discrimination’ fit in with the other words (as far as meaning) that we have collected on the topic. It was time to investigate.
Two groups of students investigated the word ‘apartheid’. Here is what they found.

Three groups of students investigated the word ‘discrimination’. It was fascinating to listen to the hypotheses the students started with, and then the reasoning they used to alter them. It’s been pointed out to me by other orthographers that what I see happening while the students investigate and recap that investigation is the really worthwhile part of all this. I believe it.

While watching the following video, I thought of what the three groups found. Tomorrow each group will be asked to consider the following:

1) One of the groups found that ‘dis’ is a prefix and means away from. Can that be proven or disproven?
2) We know that ‘in’ is a prefix. Is it also a suffix? Check on WordSearcher for other words that end with ‘in’.
3) One group believes ‘ate’ and ‘ion’ are both suffixes in this word. Another group believes ‘at’ and ‘ion’ are the suffixes. How can we prove/disprove either of these?

5 thoughts on “Curious Minds … apartheid and discrimination

  1. Dear Peyton,
    First you need to research the word to find out the definition. After that you can try and find out the prefix, the suffix and the base word. If I had apartheid, I would split it up like this a+part+heid. Like you did but you have to find the meaning of the word part for it to be the base. And you need to make sure ‘a’ and ‘heid’ are affixes too!

  2. When we were researching the word discrimination,Haden, Cooper, and I were all looking at different parts of the word. Our hypothesis was dis+crim+in+at+ion=discrimination. We want to know if crim is the base word.

    • Hello Cleara!

      Before this post I had never really studied ‘discriminate’ before, so I am learning something myself from your work.

      The simplest possibility for the base element is ‘crimin’ (or possibly ‘crimine’). This is because I see from Etymonline that its Latin root is the verb ‘discriminare’.

      We must do some Latin together some time, but in the mean time here is what I see in ‘discriminare’:

      1. the prefix ‘dis-‘
      2. the Latin infinitive suffix ‘-are’ (two syllables).

      This means that the Latin root can be analysed as ‘dis + crimin + are’, which would give me my first analysis of the English ‘discrimination’ as this:

      dis + crimin + ation

      I must now ask myself whether this analysis is complete, and I see that it isn’t complete because I know the English verb ‘discriminate’ which I must analyse like this:

      dis + crimin + ate

      Now I see that in ‘discrimination’ there are two suffixes, the first of which is ‘-ate’ not just ‘-at’, and that the proper analysis must be this:

      dis + crimin + ate/ + ion → discriminate

      In that word sum you will see that the vowel suffix ‘ion’ has replaced the single final non-syllabic ‘e’ just before it. Do You know that suffixing pattern? If not, ask Mrs Stevens to work with you on Kit 1 Theme D page 10 of The Tool Box: “The effect of suffixes on the single non-syllabic ‘e’”. You should also download a copy of The Big Suffix Checker at this link.

      Let us know how you get on.

  3. Well …

    Old Grouch certainly has been looking at the films of your investigation – and he’s astonished at how brilliantly you are taking to lexical analysis.

    This is quite amazing because it’s difficult to believe that you’ve only been at it since a week or two ago.

    Your most important quality is that you are not just looking for a ‘correct’ answer (I bet you’d be disappointed if you found one straight away!), and you know that the properly investigated question, based on the evidence you have so far, is MUCH more important than any ‘answer’.

    Your discernment will inspire your readers – there will be no recriminations since it has nothing to do with discrimination except coincidence of spellling.

    My oh my! You really are becoming orthographic trail-blazers!

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