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    Word Matrix: Leve

    Word Matrix: Leve

    I always misspell the word <relevant> as <*relavant> based on a thinking that <relevant> is related to <relative>. I recently decided to look up <relevant> to do a word study in the hopes of teaching myself the correct spelling. If SWI could help me remember the spelling of <tomorrow> by learning that <To + Morrow -> tomorrow>, then SWI could also help me remember the spelling of <relevant>.

    I started my study by looking <relevant> up on Etymonline. The word comes from Middle French <relevant> meaning “depending upon; helpful,” which came from Medieval Latin <relevantem> (nominative <relevans>), from the stem of the Latin <relevare> “to lessen, lighten.” The entry also told me to see the entry for <relieve>. I learned that <relieve> comes from the prefix <re> meaning “gain, back, anew, against” and the Latin <levare> meaning “to lift up, lighten.”

    I then looked up <levare> in a Latin dictionary. Bases derive from the 2nd and 4th principal parts of a Latin verb. The 2nd and 4th parts of <levare> are <levare> and <levatus>. The <-are> and <-atus> are the endings, which leaves <lev>, which become the English bases <leve>. The replaceable <e> is needed for the English spelling.

    Returning to the Etymonline entry for <relieve>, I see that the word ultimately comes from the PIE (Proto-Indo-European) <*legwh-> meaning “not heavy, having little weight.” Words built from the same <leve> base as <relevant> include <alleviate>, <elevate>, <elevator>, <levee>, and <lever>.

    I had to investigate the etymology of <relevant> in order to understand the spelling. When I thought about sounds alone, I falsely linked <relevant> and <relative>. I pronounce <relevant> as [ɹɛləvənt] and <relative> as [ɹɛlətɪv]. The vowel in the second syllable is [ə], so I falsely assumed the grapheme <a> spelled the vowel in both words. But the primary function of English spelling is to represent meaning, not sound. Sounds are still important, but meaning is primary. The word <relevant> is spelled with an <e> in the second syllable because of the base <leve>.

    <Leve>
    ‪”lighten, lessen, relieve” from Latin levare

    Word Sums

    Leve + er -> lever
    Leve + er + s -> levers
    Leve + ee -> levee
    Leve + ee + s -> levees
    Leve + y -> levy
    Leve + y + es -> levies
    Leve + i + ty -> levity
    Leve + i + ty + es -> levities
    Leve + ate + or -> levator
    Leve + ant -> Levant
    Leve + it + ate -> levitate
    Leve + it + ate + s -> levitates
    Leve + it + ate + ed -> levitated
    Leve + it + ate + ing -> levitating
    Leve + it + ate + or -> levitator
    Leve + it + ate + or + s -> levitators
    Leve + it + ate + ion -> levitation
    Leve + it + ate + ion + s -> levitations
    Leve + it + ate + ion + al  -> levitational

    al + Leve + i + ate -> alleviate
    al + Leve + i + ate + s -> alleviates
    al + Leve + i + ate + ed -> alleviated
    al + Leve + i + ate + ing -> alleviating
    al + Leve + i + ate + or -> alleviator
    al + Leve + i + ate + or + s -> alleviators
    al + Leve + i + ate + ion -> alleviation
    al + Leve + i + ate + ion + s -> alleviations
    un + al + Leve + i + ate + ed -> unalleviated

    e + Leve + ate -> elevate
    e + Leve + ate + s -> elevates
    e + Leve + ate + ed -> elevated
    e + Leve + ate + ed + s -> elevateds
    e + Leve + ate + ing -> elevating
    e + Leve + ate + or -> elevator
    e + Leve + ate + or + s -> elevators
    e + Leve + ate + ion -> elevation
    e + Leve + ate + ion + s -> elevations
    re + e + Leve + ate -> reelevate
    re + e + Leve + ate + s -> reelevates
    re + e + Leve + ate + ed -> reelevated
    re + e + Leve + ate + ing -> reelevating
    Super + e + Leve + ate -> superelevate
    Super + e + Leve + ate + s -> superelevates
    Super + e + Leve + ate + ed -> superelevated
    Super + e + Leve + ate + ing -> superelevating
    Super + e + Leve + ate + ion -> superelevation
    Super + e + Leve + ate + ion + s -> superelevations

    re + Leve -> releve
    re + Leve + s -> releves
    re + Leve + ance -> relevance
    re + Leve + ance + s -> relevances
    re + Leve + ance + y -> relevancy
    re + Leve + ance + y + es -> relevancies
    re + Leve + ant -> relevant
    re + Leve + ant + ly -> relevantly
    non + re + Leve + ant -> nonrelevant
    ir + re + Leve + ance -> irrelevance
    ir + re + Leve + ance + s -> irrelevances
    ir + re + Leve + ance + y -> irrelevancy
    ir + re + Leve + ance + y + es -> irrelevancies
    ir + re + Leve + ant -> irrelevant
    ir + re + Leve + ant + ly -> irrelevantly

    Relatives

    relieve
    relief
    leaven
    legerdemain
    carnival
    champlevé, from French <champlevé>, from <champ> “field” + <levé> “levee”

    Word Matrix: Leve

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