Wednesday, April 17, 2013

WORDY WEDNESDAY: acceleration vs deceleration

The other day I looked down on my steering wheel to find these two abbreviations: accel and decel. I am sure that these are the formal abbreviations, and I also assume that the two are abbreviations for acceleration and deceleration.

The two words are perfect words for working on two of my favorite "wordy" sub-lessons: spelling and prefix/root studies.

As a self-declared bi-phonic woman, I love to point out spelling rules any time there is the slightest bit of phonetic consistency to them. And, it just so happens, that acceleration and deceleration have a little bit of consistency to their spellings:

1. Hard and soft c
     a. ac/cel/er/a/tion
        i. The first c says kuh because it is followed by a c. (When a c or g is followed by a, o, u, or most consonants, it says its hard sound---kuh or guh.)
        ii. The second c says suh because it is followed by an e. (When a c or g is followed by e, i, or y, it says its soft sound--suh or juh.)
     b. de/cel/er/a/tion--This word only contains one c, and that c makes its soft sound (suh) because it is followed by an e.

2. Both spelled the same from then on--syllable by syllable
    a. After our cel phonemes, the remainder of each word is spelled the same.
    b. Both can be spelled syllable by syllable at that point
       i. er
       ii. a
       iii. tion

3. Thus, you can easily remember how to spell both words.
    a. ac/cel and d/cel
    b. er/a/tion (for both)

+Note: If acceleration only had one c, the first two syllables would look ("sound") like this: a/sell (ay/sell).
+Note: If deceleration had two c's, the first two syllables would look ("sound") like this: dek/sell.

If you are not a lover of phonics or you learned to read and spell through sight words and memorization, you might be bored by now, so I will give you something you can take with you from this "wordy" lesson--deciphering meaning from roots and affixes (prefixes and suffixes).

First of all, remember this: You know more than you think you know!

Applying that to our two words: What do you already know about their meanings:

1. They have something to do with movement (on the steering wheel of a car; you hear them association with physics, etc.).

2. De is a prefix you are familiar with--it usually means the opposite.
   a. de-frost--unfrost
   b. de-value--not to value
3. tion--Tion (and sion words) words are usually nouns
   a. nation
   b. hypertension
   c. limitation

If you already knew those things (and now you do!), take what you already know and add it to what else you might learn about these two words:

1. ac--Prefix meaning toward

2. In physics, these two words have much more technical meanings that we do not need to concern ourselves with for this lesson. (A part of learning is knowing what you do not need to know!)

3. In medical terms, these two words have to do with getting hurt via a collision (still retaining the general meaning of movement).

4. The suffix cel can have something to do with movement or an action
   a. cancel
   b. excel

Okay, you have all of the information to unlock the definitions (and the spellings, thank-you very much!) of these two words.


A. They have something to do with movement (cel)
B. They are nouns (tion)
C. One means forward (ac--toward)
D. The other means backwards or not or undo (de).
E. Acceleration means to move forward.
F. Deceleration means to move backwards (de) or not to move.

Wasn't that fun? :)

*For complete steps on "dissecting" words, see the posts about Character Ink's teaching methods we call Definition Dissection. Here is a list of prefixes to get you started:

No comments:

Post a Comment