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3.13: Lesson Thirteen

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Compounds Like Blackbird and Catbird

1. Compound words like somebody and anyplace simply combine two separate word into one: What used to be some body combines to become somebody; any place combines to become anyplace. Two words become one.

But notice this pattern: A blackbird is a bird that is black.

The compound blackbird doesn't just combine black and bird into one word. It gives us a short way to say “bird that is black.”

There are several compound words that fit this same pattern. Fill in the blanks:

A bird that is black is a blackbird.

A bird that is blue is a bluebird .

A berry that is black is a blackberry .

A board that is black is a blackboard .

A print that is blue is a blueprint .

A room that is dark is a darkroom.

A man who is English is an Englishman .

A cat that is wild is a wildcat .

Lands that are wet are wetlands.

Paper that is waste is wastepaper.

2. Now try some the other way around:

A blackbird is a bird that is black .

A redbird is a bird that is red .

A hothouse is a house that is hot .

A nobleman is a man who is noble.

A madman is a man who is mad.

Lowlands are lands that are low .

A longhouse is a house that is long.

Bluegrass is grass that is blue.

A flatcar is a car that is flat .

Gentlewomen are women who are gentle.

A wildfire is a fire that is wild .

3. Now think about this pattern: A catbird is a bird like a cat.

To understand the compound catbird you need to understand how a catbird is like a cat.A catbird has several calls, one of which sounds like a cat's mewing. So a catbird is a bird that is like a cat because of the way it sounds.

See if you can figure out these:

If a catbird is a bird that is like a cat because of its sound, then a starfish is a fish that is like a star because of its shape.

A firefly is a fly that is like a fire because of its light .

Try some the other way around:

A fish that is like the sun because of its color is a sunfish

A fish that is like a cat because of its whiskers isa catfish .

A fruit that is like bread because of its texture is breadfruit.

Teaching Notes.

Work with compound words adds a semantic factor to the kind of analysis students do in many of their tables and in Watch the Middles. It also can help them see that words do have a logic and a structure to them. It can help them see unity and patterning where most likely they did not see it before.

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1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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CK.ENG.ENG.TE.1.Basic-Speller.3.13

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