Thursday, June 16, 2011

Analysis of the longer word misunderstanding.

Analysis of the longer word misunderstanding.

The word misunderstanding is composed of four major parts: The two prefixes mis- and under-, the

base word stand, and the suffix -ing.

The base word stand is composed of two simple parts, the initial consonant blend st plus the word

family sound -and. There are many common words that begin st- such as:

stop stand stick step stare

There are at least 87 common words that belong to the -and family such as:


band hands handed handing

sand sands sanded sanding

land lands landed landing

brand brands branded branding


hand hands handed handing

stand stands standing

The suffix -ing is one of the most commonly occurring suffixes in English.

The prefix under is a common word by itself and a common prefix as well. Even its parts are

common. -Un is a common base sound in the -un family with words like run, sun, fun, etc. -er is a

common sound occurring in both prefixes and suffixes such as per- and greater as well as common

words such as her. The medial sound /d/ in under is a common sound in initial positions in common

words such as dog, ending positions in common words such as bad.

The prefix mis- is a common and very important prefix in many commonly used words such as

mistake and misspell.

Going backwards — or from the end of the word it becomes clear that all the word parts of the long

word misunderstanding are short and are commonly occurring elements.

-ing 3 letters

and anding 3 letters + 3 = 6 letters

st standing 2 letters + 3 + 3 = 8 letters,

er erstanding 2.letters + 2 + 3 + 3 = 10 letters

d derstanding 1 letter + 2 +2 + 3 + 3 = 11 letters

un understanding 2 letters + 1+ 2 + 2 + 3 + 3 = 13 letters

mis misunderstanding 3 letters + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 3 = 16 letters.

Copyright © 1997 AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Inc.

When I first saw the Sequential Spelling technique demonstrated, I couldn’t believe what I saw with my own eyes. I watched Don McCabe take a woman who had to struggle to even put the letters s-a-d-r on paper when asked to spell the word scattered, and get her to spell that word correctly the next time he asked her to spell it.

At first, I felt like I was watching a magic show, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that what Don McCabe was doing made perfect sense. He was letting the woman discover for herself the phonics of our language by letting her learn from her mistakes the moment she made them. And all the time he was building her confidence using one of the oldest and best teaching gimmicks of all time -- praise.

The other aspect of his technique that appealed to me then and still does now, is that he quickly builds from a little sound such as “at” to interesting words or colorful words such as brat to powerful words such as flattery. The adult knows that the spelling words are not just for little children. Little children wouldn’t get words like these to spell in their spelling books. That’s for sure.

The best part of the entire program, as I see it, is the way the adult learners self-confidence is dramatically built. You should see the look in the eyes of adults when they discover that they can spell a word they don’t even recall ever having seen, but they know they have spelled it right because they know how to spell the sounds in the word.

Faye Lapp, Director

Tuscola County Literacy Volunteers,

March 1987

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