An attractive pathway to increase vocabulary and one's understanding of the way words are built


A great many students enter an etymology course with only one goal -- to learn new words with the hope that they will be more successful in classwork, in standardized exams, or in a variety of work-related situations. In A Course on Words students will indeed learn new words, but, more important, they will gain an understanding of how words are built and how they can use this information to analyze new words that they will encounter outside the classroom. They will spend most of the time learning elements of words that will enable them to determine the meanings of many new words in the future. As one student put it, this book seems to "sensitize us to words and get us to think about words."

The book is unusual in that it offers both programmed and nonprogrammed material. Each type of material is designed to provide students with the maximum amount of involvement and practice. The students do not simply read definitions of words, as is the case with some courses. Rather, they engage in many different activities; not only defining words but analyzing and build­ing them, and learning to use context to derive meaning. The programmed approach enables students to do the work on their own and receive immediate checks of their answers. Classroom time, therefore, is free for review, reinforcement of programmed activities, work on the non­programmed material, and attention to the needs of individual students. The book also includes at the end a set of Supplementary Exercises for each unit. The nonprogrammed materials include "Review Exercises," "Words of Interesting Origin," "Easily Confused Words," and "Latin Phrases." These provide practice in concepts learned in the unit and an opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics, such as eponymous words and the literal meanings of Latin expressions used in English.

Waldo E. Sweet (1912-1922) was a Professor Emeritus of Latin and the Teaching of Latin at The University of Michigan. He received a B.A. from Amherst College, an M.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. 

Glenn M. Knudsvig (1940-1998) was a Professor of Latin and Coordinator of the Elementary Latin Division of the Department of Classical Studies at The University of Michigan. Professor Knudsvig received his bachelor degree in Classical Studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1962. He attended graduate school at The University of Michigan where he completed MA degrees in Classical Studies and in Behavioral Science in the School of Education. He received his Ph.D. in 1974.