Margin Notes



As I was scrolling through Twitter/X on the weekend, I came across two separate posts about words and language that were so interesting.

One post, by Dr. Tim Rasinski, included this image, on the right, from an issue of Reader’s Digest’s “Language Matters”.

I’m sure I’ve heard the term “Heteronyms” before, but I can’t be sure I remembered what it meant. I won’t forget now! These examples are so fun to read, and perfectly encapsulate why the English language really is so hard to learn.



Another post, this one by Nell K. Duke, delves even further into “word-nerd-dom” (as she calls it) and shows the all the semantic relationships that words can have in a handy anchor chart:

When I saw the definition of “oronym”, I immediately thought of the words “disgust” and “discussed”. For some reason, these two words fascinate me, but I didn’t know they were called “oronyms”.



Here are a few things you could try tomorrow:

  • Use the sentences from the Reader’s Digest’s “Why English is so Hard to Learn” as a warm-up. Have a discussion about what makes the sentences tricky to read.
  • Discuss the different types of semantic relationships (synonym, heteronym, etc.) in the anchor chart.
  • Talk about the word parts -nym (Greek for “name”), -phone (Greek for “sound”), -graph (Greek for “write”). How does knowing the meaning of those word parts help us understand the words’ meaning?
  • Create lists of words with -nym, -phone, -graph.
  • Create stories or poems using “oronyms”. Here are some mentor texts: Fun With Words. 

Have fun!

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