The Joy of Language Learning

Beware of the Pedagogue!

Education of children was of enormous importance to the Greeks. They studied subjects like arithmetic, writing, music and even gymnastics in schools run by professional school masters. This is a far cry from schools these days where the only games class in a week is gobbled up by mathematics teachers.

The Greek word for education or child-rearing was paedia, which itself is an extension of pais meaning children. It’s hints are still visible in words like pediatrics (a branch of medicine that deals with children and their diseases.)

When away from home, Greek children were accompanied by slaves. These slaves were referred to as paidagogos which is made up of the words pais and agogos (leader) as it was they who led the children from home to school and back. They also acted as the children’s guardian, tutor and nurse. It inspired the term pedagogy in modern English which refers to the art of teaching or training. A related word, pedagogue, took upon the meaning of a teacher, especially one who is strict and a stickler for formal rules.

Greek Classes
Image Credit: Gordon Johnson
Pedant
Image Credit: Bill Vallicella/ Maverick Philosopher

A related word, pedant, refers to someone who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules. It can also at times refer to someone who is pompous and too inclined in displaying bookish knowledge. For instance, a person with pedantic concern for grammar is very fussy about every grammatical rule. This characteristic of being excessively concerned with minor details and rules is called pedantry and could be tiring for people around the pedant.

It was important for the education provided to the children to be holistic and spanning a variety of subjects. Thus a book that could fulfill a similar purpose began to be known as an encyclopedia (from Greek enkyklios, interpreted as general but the literal meaning being circular, and paideia meaning education). Moreover, the quality of possessing comprehensive information about a subject or variety of subjects came to be referred to as encyclopedic. Warren Buffet, for example, has an encyclopedic knowledge of investing.

Encyclopedia
Image Credit: Jarmoulk/ Pixabay

A quick look at the words again should prepare you well for the exercises ahead.


Table Summary:

PrefixWordSuffixMeaning
PediatricsThe branch of medicine that deals with children and their diseases
PedagogueA teacher who is very strict and formal
PedagogyThe art of teaching or training
PedantSomeone who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules
Pedant-icThe quality of being extremely concerned with details and rules
Pedant-ryExcessive concern with minor details and rules
EncyclopediaA book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject and typically arranged alphabetically
EncyclopedicPossessing comprehensive information about a subject or a variety of subjects

Welcome to your A Pedantic Quiz

The branch of medicine that deals with children and their diseases is called:
“Pedagogy” in the given headline means:
Pedagogy
Source: Hindustan Times
Being a ___________________, he is not very welcoming of the changes being brought about to music by the younger generation. (strict and formal teacher)
What does “pedantic” mean in the given headline?
Source: Notthinghampost.com
She recognizes the ______________ of the narrator’s style. (Quality of being concerned with small details)
“Encyclopedic” in the given headline means:
Encyclopedic
Source: www.townandcountrymag.com
What does “Encyclopedia” mean in the given headline?
Encyclopedia
Source: www.sportbible.com
Next

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