Bound Bases and Assimilated Prefixes – Good Stuff!

I am always delighted when Old Grouch checks in on our studies and then takes our understandings to the next level.  (Please read his comment on our last post.)   I suspected that <gn> was a bound base in the word <cognition>, but didn’t feel as if I had enough evidence to draw that conclusion.  Old Grouch compared the word <cognition> to the very old word <agnize> and was able to identify the <a> as an assimilated form of the prefix <ad>.  After my students and I watched Dan Allen’s students learn about the assimilated prefix <im> earlier today, this discovery was timed perfectly to reinforce an idea new to us.  Well, if <a> is the prefix, and <ize> is an attested suffix (used in such words as colonize, itemize, energize, and sanitize), that leaves <gn> to be the bound base element.  It is a bound base element because it can’t exist as a word on its own.  It needs an affix (suffix or prefix) to be labeled as a word.

With the understanding that <gn> is the base, I walked the class through making a word matrix.  The columns to the left of the base <gn> are prefixes.  The columns to the right of the base are suffixes.  Looking at this matrix I could write the word sum <re> + <co> + <gn> + <ize/> + <able> –> recognizable.  Did you follow that?  Can you see other words to build?

Thank you Old Grouch!  Thank you Mr. Allen and students!

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