Tag Archives: Word Up! The Vocab show

Word Up: Live!

Here is the most recent episode of Word Up: Live!

Though the class is still experimental, I have decided to extend it for one more week.  I am closer to extending it indefinitely.  But, I am a guy.  Commitment makes me nervous.

Anyway, if you want to join, and if you’re crazy enough to get up awfully early, this series remains free.  Recordings, however, Are only available to subscribers.  Join here:




Beyond Word Up…

I received this inquiry:

This looks like a great class. My high school daughters already have a full schedule, but are interested. What amount of homework will be included? Would you also suggest it for upper elementary?

Here is my reply:

I am still developing this class.  This is the first year, in fact.  There will be quizzes each week, but, I have not worked out the homework piece of the class yet.  

Initially, we were going to read “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis, but I had to abandon the book due to multiple inappropriate sexual innuendos.  I have not replaced the book yet.  

At this point, I am planning to simply include students in the writing process as I have already begun writing my own version of Word Power Made Easy.  

As for homework, though, I have little at this point.  Students will come weekly to class, and they will take a weekly quiz on my website.  Beyond that, at this point, there isn’t much.  There will be “recommended” reading.  I suppose that could count as homework.

I realize this is not much of an answer.  But, at the moment, it is the best I’ve got.

Intro to the Word Power class.

During this class, we will read through all of Word Power Made Easy, by Norman Lewis.

90% of the multi-syllable words in English derive directly from Latin.  In other words, 90% of our “big” words are the children of Latin. 

Much of our scientific and medical terminology derives from Greek.

These days, not many people know Latin and Greek.  Most of us do not immediately spot the connection our vocabulary has with these ancient languages.  Some of us never spot the connections.  Yet, the connections are there.  Those who know Latin and Greek often feel like they have discovered a “back-door” into the English language.

In this class, I am going to guide you through that “back-door.”  You will discover more about English vocabulary than you likely care to know.  In the process, you will also exponentially increase your own personal vocabulary.  Think of words as tools.  An electrician with a tool box full of tools is able to do more than the electrician with one screwdriver.  It is the same with words.  It just so happens, the more you know, the more you will be able to do.

If you do not yet have it, the book is available from Amazon here.

If you prefer a digital copy, simply add it to a google books account here.

Students will read about 15 pages a week from Word Power Made Easy, by Norman Lewis.  This may not seem like much, but, inside those 15 pages they will find plenty to challenge them. 

During class, we will discuss words, and quiz ourselves with the vocabulary we have learned.  I will also invite students into my “workshop.”  For years, I have posted a “word a day” on the Visual Latin facebook page.  I will include students in the process, showing them just how it’s done.

One warning.  The book, Word Power Made Easy, periodically deals with “adult” words.

However, this will be rare, and I will handle such concepts with as much taste and discretion as possible.  

As an example, I know that the word “gynaecologist” comes up in the book we will use, Word Power Made Easy.

The word comes from the Greek word for woman, γυνή (gune), and λογος (logos), meaning “word, or the study of something.”

I would explain this to the students this way.  Outside of the medical field, gynaecology is the study of women.  Inside the medical field, gynaecology is the study of female diseases and female reproductive organs.  

When terms like this arise, I will do everything I can to keep the conversation clinical and intellectual.  However, there is no way around it.  Some potentially shocking terms will come up in class.  

It is for this reason I recommend students are at least in high school. 

I believe this class will be loads of fun.  I really enjoy etymology and will do my best to pass this love onto my students.


Cognoscente: Someone possessing superior knowledge in a particular field, usually the arts; a connoisseur, an aficionado, a discerning expert. 

I get the feeling a “cognoscente” is likely a member of the Illuminati of the art world.  Or, based on modern art purchases, perhaps the “cognoscente” is simply a gullible person with a large checking account.

Cognoscente derives from its now obsolete Italian twin: cognoscente (now conoscente).  Naturally, the Italian word comes from the Latin verb cognosco (I know). 

The Latin cognosco comes from the Latin preposition con (with) and the Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) meaning, “I know.”


Connoisseur: A person well versed in any subject; a skillful or knowing person; a critical judge or master of any art, particularly of painting and sculpture.

From French connaisseur.  The French word derives from the verb connoître (acquainted, to know).  Father of the modern French verb is the Old French verb conoistre, itself from Latin cognosco (I know). 

Cognosco comes from the Latin word con (with) and the Greek word γιγνώσκω (gignosko) meaning, I know.