“tele-” means…

Suffixes and prefixes are two important indications to infer what a certain word means. It is very effective to dissolve a word like antebellum into two parts (ante + bellum). If you know “ante” means “before” and “bellum” refers to “war” in Latin, you get to correctly infer the meaning of the word.

As is often the case with any rule, there are quite a few exceptions. Do you (non-native speakers of English) know the word “teleological”? Like it or not, most non-native speakers (including me) would focus on the first part of the word “tele” and incorrectly surmise that the word has to do with a transmission over a distance.

Power of our habits is so strong  and it dies hard. Once we think this has something to do with “a transmission over a distance”, when you see a sentence like “The complex structure of the human eye may imply a teleological origin.” you will be at a loss. (Look the word up in your dictionary, or see “Merriam-Webster’s the word of the day” just in case.)

One important example that sticking to one rule can turn out a failure.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s