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IELTS Preparation Series 3, Episode 24: Word Formation


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0:13

Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.

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A useful skill in all aspects of English is knowing how new words are formed with prefixes

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and suffixes, and how adding those prefixes and suffixes changes the meanings of words.

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First, let's watch this story about recycling wooden barrels - or kegs - for storing wine.

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Listen carefully for words that have a prefix, or a suffix - or both:

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Wine involves a great deal of recycling. Not recycling the wine itself, but the barrels

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and the kegs that wine is stored in. The barrel's very important. The wood it's made from imparts

0:59

flavour and texture and character to the wine. But after a while the wood loses those qualities

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and the barrel has to be taken apart, the wood refurbished, the barrel put back together.

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From vineyards around Australia, tired old barrels arrive to be renewed. Glenn is a cooper,

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practising an ancient craft with its own language.

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Well, when they come in, we just start taking the ends out of the barrels, loosening the

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hoops on one end, take the head out, retighten it, turn the barrel over and do the same thing

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so that we've opened both ends of the barrel. And we use a grinder with a rotary planer

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head on it to shave, say, four or five mill out of the inside of that barrel so that we

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expose all the fresh oak flavours. The barrel is dismantled. You get different-width staves.

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You get wider ones, you get narrower ones. But you might say, "Why don't they make a

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square barrel?" Well, they have, and it didn't work. So coopering lives on.

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A word that cannot be broken down into parts is called the root, or base word. A prefix

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may be added to the beginning of a word, changing the meaning. And a suffix may be added to

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the end of a word. Let's look at one example.

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From vineyards around Australia, tired old barrels arrive to be renewed.

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Let's look at the word 'renewed'. The base, or root word is 'new', the opposite of old.

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It's an adjective. A prefix 're' can be added before the word. The word is now 'renew'.

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Adding this prefix not only changes the meaning, it changes the function of the word. 'Renew'

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is a verb. The prefix 're' means 'again'. So the new word is a verb that means 'to make

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new again'.

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The suffix 'ed' has a grammatical function you probably know - it changes the tense of

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the verb to simple past tense. So the meaning of 'renewed' is 'made new again'.

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Tired old barrels arrive to be made new again.