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14.12: Lesson Thirty-six

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More About Homophones and Near-homophones

1. Here are the sets of homophones and near-homophones with which you worked in the previous lessons:

&\text{advice, advise} && \text{loose, lose}\\&\text{cell, sell} && \text{mussel, muscle}\\&\text{cellar, seller} && \text{phase, faze}\\&\text{cent, sent, scent} && \text{please, pleas}\\&\text{cereal, serial} && \text{pries, prize}\\&\text{cite, sight, site} && \text{prose, pros}\\&\text{conscience, conscious} && \text{quarts, quartz}\\&\text{cymbal, symbol} && \text{recent, resent}\\&\text{decent, descent} && \text{refuse, refuge}\\&\text{device, devise} && \text{sects, sex}\\&\text{discuss, discus} && \text{sic(k)s, six}\\&\text{hiss, his} && \text{vice, vise}

2. Six of the sets contain a word that ends with one of the suffixes -s or -es. Write them into the left column below and analyse each into its stem and suffix. Then in the right column write in the other words in each of the six sets:

Word = Stem + suffix Other word in the set
pleas = plea + s please
pries = pr\cancel{y} + i + es prize
pro + s prose
quart + s quartz
sect + s sex
sic(k) + s six

3. In three of the words in the “Other words” column the final <e> is insulating an <\mathrm{s}> or a <z>. Write the three below:

please && prize && prose

4. In two of the words in the “Other words” column the letter <x> is spelling [ks]:

sex && six

5. The short paragraphs below describe six of the sets. Read each description and then after it write in the words that make up that set:

i. Cent comes from a Latin word that means “one hundred,” because there are a hundred cents in a dollar. The base cent occurs in other words that have the meaning “one hundred” or “one-hundredth”: century, centimeter, centennial, and percent Sent is the past tense and past participle of send, which also starts with <\mathrm{s}>. Scent “aroma, smell” used to be spelled <sent>. In the 17^\mathrm{th} century people began adding the <c>, and no one is quite sure why. The three words in this set are

cent && sent && scent

ii. Cereal “grasses and their grains used as food” comes from the name Ceres, who was the Roman goddess of agriculture. Serial analyzes to seri + al The base seri carries the root meaning “to join” and occurs in the word series, which also begins with <\mathrm{s}>. The two words in this set are

cereal && serial

iii. Mussel “a shellfish” used to be spelled just like muscle. The spelling with <ss> is quite recent. Both words derive from a Latin word that meant “little mouse.” The connection between mice and muscles is apparently that when you flex your muscles, it looks like little mice running under your skin. The connection between mice and mussels is apparently their color and shape. The two words in this set are

mussel && muscle

iv. Symbol “sign, representation” analyzes to sy\cancel{n} + m + bol and carries the root meaning “throw together with.” Cymbal “a musical instrument” comes from a Greek word that meant “bowl,” and a cymbal looks like a shallow bowl turned upside down. The two words in this set are

symbol && cymbal

v. Phase “a stage of development” comes from a Latin word that meant “appearance, show” and occurs in emphasis. It is related to the bases in words like phantom and phenomenon. Faze “to disconcert, to cause to be disturbed” is actually a form of an old word, feeze “drive,” which we no longer use. The two words in this set are

phase && faze

vi. Sight comes from an Old English word that meant “something seen.” Both sight and seen start with <\mathrm{s}>. The <gh> used to spell a sound somewhat like [j]. Site “location, place, position” also occurs in the word situate. Cite “to quote, honor” comes from a Latin word that meant “to set in motion, to call.” It also occurs in citation, excite, recite, and resuscitate. The three words in this set are

sight && site && cite

Teaching Notes.

Item 5iii. The pronunciation of muscle is unusual: The <c> before <l> should not be soft; it should be hard as it is, for instance, in barnacle and oracle. In past centuries some of the spellings indicate that the <c> was hard: muskle, muskel, musckle, muskell. Otto Jespersen observes that during the Middle English period [k] in the cluster [sk] was sometimes lost, as in muscle. He also suggests a parallel with the very old and common pronunciation of asked as [ast] rather than [askt]. Some dictionaries show [ast] as an accepted variant of [askt].

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Feb 23, 2012

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Apr 29, 2014
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