CLAS225  Scientific Terminology


2ND Semester 2002- 2003                                            Email

Capron Room, Wallace Hall 115                                  Office phone 309 457-2332

Virginia Hellenga, Instructor                                          Home phone 309 734-8758



Course Description:

 This course examines Greek and Latin word elements in a variety of scientific language contexts, including biology, chemistry, physics and medicine. It also considers ways to use technical dictionaries and Greek and Latin roots of the English language to understand and use scientific terminology. In this course you will become more conscious of words and their history, and will increase your English vocabulary by studying how words are formed, by learning Latin and Greek elements in English words, and by improving your ability to use a dictionary effectively.

This course is designed to supplement CLAS224 Word Elements, but CLAS224 is not a prerequisite for CLAS225. This course fulfills no general education requirement at Monmouth College, but does satisfy requirements for a major or minor in Classics.


Ayers, Donald M. Bioscientific Terminology. Words from Latin and Greek Stems. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1956.


Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.18th ed., Ed. Clayton L.Thomas, M..D., M.P.H., et al.. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, 1997 [or any edition after the 14th ed.]

Highly suggested: A dictionary of the English language which gives etymologies of words.

My favorite is The American Heritage Dictionary.


Class Format:

Classes meet  Monday and Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. until 12:50 p.m.

This course expects a great deal of student effort and participation. An effective way to steadily master course material (and to gain confidence ) is to study what is assigned for an hour as soon after class as possible (or in four 15-minute sessions), then to review and master this material one hour sometime before the next class period. In order for you to know how you are doing on a weekly basis, we will have a short quiz at the beginning of each class over what we covered the previous class. Plan to study two hours outside of class for every class period. This will greatly contribute to your success in handling scientific terminology.

There is a great deal of required memorization which can best be done on a daily basis. You are expected to keep up regularly with class assignments and to volunteer and participate in class.

Summary of Goals and Requirements:

Your final grade will be determined in the following way:

            25%     Homework

            25%     Quizzes

            20%     Mid-term Project

            30%     Final Project

In all your written course work you should pay attention to grammar and organization as well as the quality of your material. In analyzing words  and giving meanings of word parts, define a noun as a noun, and adjective as an adjective. You have the OPTION of resubmitting for reevaluation ALL written assignments (except quizzes). If you resubmit your work, you are expected to revise your work based not only on the instructor’s comments but also upon your own reevaluation of your initial work. If you resubmit work, you will receive the average of the first and second grades received on the assignment. Work submitted for reevaluation must be received within one week of its return by the instructor.


A diagnostic examination will be administered once at the beginning and again at the end of the semester. Your performance on this examination cannot affect your grade negatively. Improved scores on the second diagnostic exam can have a positive effect on final grades.

Homework and Quizzes:

There will be weekly quizzes [25% of final grade] and homework assignments [25% of final grade]. No make-ups for quizzes will be given, and homework will be accepted for a grade only on its due date. About one-tenth of the lowest quiz and homework grades will be dropped. The average of quizzes and homework will total 50% of the final grade.

Projects: One mid-term and one final creative project will demonstrate an understanding of linguistic concepts and an ability to apply the process of word analysis and derivation to a particular field, using your own originality and imagination. These projects may be either individual or small group efforts. The mid-term project will count 20% of the final grade; the final project will count 30% of the final grade. The average of the two projects will total 50% of the final grade.

Guidelines for creative projects will be handed out separately.


As we only meet twice a week, attendance is essential for success in this class. Two absences are allowed with impunity; each additional absence beyond this one will result in minus 1 percentage point on your final course grade. 

A word on plagiarism:

Plagiarism is copying someone else’s work without giving credit. Such copying–from a book, another classmate’s paper, or any other source–is dishonest. Any student submitting plagiarized work will receive a failing grade for that assignment. If two papers with identical or nearly-identical work are submitted by different students, both papers will receive a failing grade.


This syllabus is subject to revision by the instructor, provided that written or verbal notice is given in class.

First assignments:

We will begin with Part II of Ayers, “BIOSCIENTIFIC WORDS DERIVED FROM LATIN,”

LESSON 21.  Introduction to Latin Bases and Prefixes, p. 165