+ Latin “Connective i” Construct: Decoding Strategies

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From the Winter 2011 issue of “Academy News,” the newsletter of the Orton Academy (AOGPE), Theresa Collins speaks to teachers of more advanced and ELL learners. 

Collins tells us that

Knowledge of the Latin connective i construct is the key to reading sophisticated Latin-based words. 

 More explicitly:

  •  Pronunciation: the connective  i is pronounced as long /e/ before a vowel suffix (“imperious”).
  • Pronounce connective i as  /y/ after l or n  (“million,” “genious”).
  • Pronounce connective  i  as short /i/ before a consonant (“lexical” or “adventitious”).
  • Teach that the i connective also helps a reader to identify the accented syllable (for example, always the syllable before the connective i.)
  • Spelling tip:  if you can identify a Latin connective, you’re alerted that this is a Latin word.  So you have clues to spelling the rest of the word.  (e.g. if the word you’re spelling is “victorious,” you know that you shouldn’t  choose an Anglo-Saxon k or ck as you spell it.)
  • More spelling: when you hear /y/ before a suffix, spell it with i.  When you hear long /e/ before a suffix, spell it with i .
  • When the Latin connective i comes after the letters t, c, s, or x, the combination is pronounced /sh/ or /zh/ (as in “nutritious,” “official,” “confusion” and “anxious”).
  • The ti, ci, si, and xi combinations are always used to spell /sh/ in Latin words.
  • Syllable stress:  always place the stress in these words on the syllable directly before /sh/.  For example: “delicious,” “obnoxious.”
  • A, O, U: these vowels  are always long when they precede /sh/ or /zh/.  Says Collins: these vowels “hold more sound,” and you can hear them when you say (for example) “palatial,” “ferocious,” “crucial.”
  • E:  this vowel  is “only half full” and can therefore be pronounced long OR short before the sound /sh/ or /zh/.  Tell students to try saying both to determine the correct choice: “precious,’ “completion.” 
  • I: this vowel is always short before the /sh/ sound in (for example) “judicious,” “malicious.”  Writes Collins, you can tell your students it is “little and wimpy and cannot hold any long vowel sound!”

Collins says if  you and your students  are armed with these logical generalizations, you should be ready to decode any Latin-based word.

sole source: Article in the Winter 2011 AOGPE “Academy News,” by Theresa Collins, F/AOGPE, Director of language Training, The Kildonan School.

The purpose of AOGPE (the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators) is to establish and maintain the highest professional standards for practice of the Orton-Gillingham Approach; to certify practitioners and accredit O-G training programs; and to be active in professional development and public awareness.

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NOTE: Errors are mine! I have supplied some of the above word usage examples where Collins gave none.   I may be incorrect in some of these choices. Please let me know where, why and how to improve those examples!

tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021  or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

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