Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie-Menson: False Evidence Appearing Real

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Literacy…is it limited to reading and writing only?
Eugenia Tachie-Menson

The Greek origin is one of my favourites amongst the language origins that have influenced the English language.  There are at least 13 languages that have had a direct influence on the English language; the one that English language has borrowed the most from is Latin (my least favourite language origin but I have had to learn it anyway; sigh!).

I bet you didn’t know that English language has borrowed from other languages, huh?  Well, I also didn’t know until I started The Spelling Bee (TSB). In this programme, we get to understand how the English language works and how to spell tricky and tough words.  There is a simple way to learn how to spell correctly whilst boosting your word knowledge power- want to know?  You will have to join the programme to get these tips.

I was telling you about my favourite language origin, Greek; I love it because I find it quite straightforward.  To begin with, there is no ‘f’ in the Greek alphabet; the ‘f’ sound is spelt with ‘ph’.  Can you think of words that have the ‘f’ in them but are spelt with a ‘ph’?  Did I hear someone say graph? Photography? Sphinx? Ephesians?  Can you think of anymore? Any word that has the ‘ph’ spelling of the ‘f’ sound will most likely be of a Greek origin – one of the golden rules every Speller in TSB masters.  One word, (which can also be a suffix) of Greek origin which intrigues me most is phobia, (-phobia if it’s a suffix; the hyphen before the word tells you it’s a suffix).

Whilst in Ghana, the word phobia evokes spirited conversations and emotions (it’s the name of a football club), in other conversations the use of phobia gets people excited, anxious, agitated, and flat-out curious!  Phobia, is “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”.  In a nutshell, having a phobia of something means you have a level of abnormal fear that disrupts your everyday life.

Take the story of Ama who a very hardworking journalist.  She must go where the news is, but she goes to great lengths avoiding places that involve flying, within and out of Ghana.  Yes, you guessed right; she must have an irrational fear of flying and that is costing.  We all have one or two fears, but it becomes a phobia when it begins to cripple your life.

And my, oh my, are there phobias out there, some I hadn’t even hear of!  So, Jenna’s phobia?  That’s called aviophobia- an intense fear or dislike of flying.

Shall we pack a few more interesting phobia-related words?

1.Acrophobia: abnormal fear of heights. The ‘acro’, part of the word, was initially spelt akros and it means the ‘at farthest extreme’.

  1. Agoraphobia: the fear or avoidance of open or public spaces. In ancient Greek ‘agora’ was the marketplace; it is interesting to note that this fear also includes being in shops.

3.Anthropophobia: basically, it’s the fear of people or companionship.  The first part of this word is also Greek, Anthropo meaning or mankind or humankind.

  1. Claustrophobia:the abnormal fear of being in enclosed spaces. Usually, people who have this phobia avoid elevators, for instance. Did you notice this phobia is the exact opposite of phobia 3?
  2. Ergophobia:this describes the irrational fear of work. The first part of the word comes from Greek ergon, meaning work. People with ergophobia have a constant fear of work, finding it or being able to function properly at work.
  3. Germanophobia:yes, there is such a thing- an intense dislike or fear Germany and everything related to it. Wow isn’t that something?!
  4. Hydrophobia:The first part of this word, hydro, is a Greek word meaning water. Now check this, whilst hydrophobia means the morbid fear of water it also refers to the medical condition known as rabies. Rabies patients usually develop painful spasm in the throat and eventually cannot drink water.  Fascinating, won’t you say?
  5. Photophobia:no, it’s not the fear of pictures (thank God!). Photo is a Greek word root meaning light; photophobia, therefore, means the painful sensitiveness to strong light. Would that mean bats have photophobia?

Before we go, I have another one for you; triskaidekaphobia- it has something to do with the numbers 3 and 10.  Look it up!

>>>The writer is a passionate educator who makes learning fun for children under 18 through co-curricular programmes. Through her charity organisation, Young Educators Foundation (YEF) in Ghana, the programmes portfolios have expanded to include literacy programmes in local languages as well as public speaking programmes for the youth.

Based on her work in education and with children, Eugenia is the recipient of many nomination and awards such as a presidential award for the contribution to education over the past decade in 2018. In 2019, she was named as one of the 74 individuals in Those who Inspire Ghana, a global programme that identifies nationals whose experiences are worth sharing. Eugenia believes that children are not the ‘future’, but rather the ‘present’ and so the need to invest in their total development. She is a regular contributor on radio and television shows as well as various public fora on this and related topics.

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