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Monday, March 15, 2010

ESL Student Blog: Para- in Paralympics and Other Related Words

Have you been watching the 2010 Paralympic Games? The athletic achievements of the participants have definitely been inspiring!

Paralympics evolved from a 1948 sporting event for war veterans with spinal cord injuries. Originally, the name Paralympics may have been related to the word ‘paraplegic’ (being paralyzed or unable to move lower part of the body), but is now universally viewed as an event running beside, alongside or parallel to the Olympic Games. Visually impaired athletes and the ones with intellectual disability are also represented in today’s Paralympics.

The affix para- has a similar meaning of ‘beside’, ‘alongside’ in a number of words in English:

paramedic - supporting or supplementing work of doctors, often the crew member on an ambulance

paralegal - supporting or supplementing work of lawyers

paramilitary - a force that functions like or assists military

parallel - event or situation happening at the same time
paraprofessional - assisting a professional (licensed) worker in a particular field

parasite - animal or plant that lives on or in another and gets food from it, ‘feeding beside’;  parasite can also be a person who lives off others and gives nothing in return.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 1:10 PM
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