IELTS Preparation Series 3, Episode 24: Word Formation
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Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.
A useful skill in all aspects of English is knowing how new words are formed with prefixes
and suffixes, and how adding those prefixes and suffixes changes the meanings of words.
First, let's watch this story about recycling wooden barrels - or kegs - for storing wine.
Listen carefully for words that have a prefix, or a suffix - or both:
Wine involves a great deal of recycling. Not recycling the wine itself, but the barrels
and the kegs that wine is stored in. The barrel's very important. The wood it's made from imparts
flavour and texture and character to the wine. But after a while the wood loses those qualities
and the barrel has to be taken apart, the wood refurbished, the barrel put back together.
From vineyards around Australia, tired old barrels arrive to be renewed. Glenn is a cooper,
practising an ancient craft with its own language.
Well, when they come in, we just start taking the ends out of the barrels, loosening the
hoops on one end, take the head out, retighten it, turn the barrel over and do the same thing
so that we've opened both ends of the barrel. And we use a grinder with a rotary planer
head on it to shave, say, four or five mill out of the inside of that barrel so that we
expose all the fresh oak flavours. The barrel is dismantled. You get different-width staves.
You get wider ones, you get narrower ones. But you might say, "Why don't they make a
square barrel?" Well, they have, and it didn't work. So coopering lives on.
A word that cannot be broken down into parts is called the root, or base word. A prefix
may be added to the beginning of a word, changing the meaning. And a suffix may be added to
the end of a word. Let's look at one example.
From vineyards around Australia, tired old barrels arrive to be renewed.
Let's look at the word 'renewed'. The base, or root word is 'new', the opposite of old.
It's an adjective. A prefix 're' can be added before the word. The word is now 'renew'.
Adding this prefix not only changes the meaning, it changes the function of the word. 'Renew'
is a verb. The prefix 're' means 'again'. So the new word is a verb that means 'to make
The suffix 'ed' has a grammatical function you probably know - it changes the tense of
the verb to simple past tense. So the meaning of 'renewed' is 'made new again'.
Tired old barrels arrive to be made new again.