Toward Deeper Vocabulary Study: a Peace Linguistics Look at Verbs in -FY

by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil


can be described, systematized, learned, taught in a myriad ways, but only recently, with the emergence of Peace Linguistics, has that core-system of language started being probed in deeply humanizing ways.What follows is a type of challenge in which users of English can engage, either individually or in groups .Aim:sensitize participants to do in-depth analysis of vocabulary, from a Human Rights perspective.

First task: In alphabetical order, list all verbsending in -fy

Suggested solution: amplify, beautify, clarify, classify, crucify, defy, deify, dignify, diversify, edify, electrify, fortify, glorify, gratify, horrify, humidify, intensify, justify, odify, mortify, nullify, ossify, petrify, purify, qualify, quantify, ramify, rarefy, ratify, rectify, satisfy, simplify, solidify, stupefy, stultify, terrify, verify, villify.

Second task: identify 6 verbs in -fy which may express or represent offensive, violent actions which human beings should avoid or should have avoided

Suggested solution: crucify, horrify, mortify (in the sense of humiliating), stultify, terrify, villify

Third task : List 8 verbs which may represent positive, constructive actions

Suggested solution: beautify, dignify, diversify, edify, fortify, glorify, sanctify, qualify

Fourth task: Choose one verb in -fy which conveys the action underlying Human Rights and Peace

Suggested solution: Dignify

A plea for further humanizing action

May the above practice encourage you, inspire you to probe the deeply humanizing features — as well as dehumanizing traits – characterizing our repertoire of verbs in-FY. Similar activities in other languages are also recommended.

May you learn not only to AMPLIFY your vocabulary but, most importantly, to DIGNIFY it.

(received October  2, 2010)

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