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Medical terminology can be defined as a language that defines various aspects of the human body. This involves the body parts and functions being described in a scientific way. The language is suitable to be used in the medical and the nursing fields. In most cases, medical terminologies have various aspects. This includes the use of prefixes and suffixes on word roots. In medicine, the meaning and the etymology of words are informed of the source or the language of origin (Willis, 9).
Can one letter change the meaning of a word?
In medical terminology, when a single letter is changed, the denotation of the word is transformed. Notably, the word parts are used in relation to others. This is meant to come up with medical terms. In creating medical terms, four word parts may be used. The word-parts include word roots, combining vowels, suffixes and prefixes.
Most medical terms take word roots as a foundation. They cannot stand on their own hence need for a suffix to complete the term, or a prefix placed at the beginning of the word when necessary. Combining vowels are critical in medical terminologies. They are placed between the word root and the suffix . In most cases, the letter O is used as a combining vowel.
For instance, cardi/o (heart); ‘cardi’ is a word root whereas ‘O’ is a combining vowel. Without one letter for cardi/o, the word root or the combining vowel, the term cardio will not have any meaning in medical terminology. A suffix is added after a word root to complete a medical term. In most cases, suffix indicates the procedure, condition, disorder, or disease. For instance, tonsill/o, which means tonsils, can be added with a suffix.
This is done to complete the term. It can also tell something about the terminology. If the suffix ‘itis’ is added to make it tonsillitis, it will mean an inflammation of tonsils. If any part is removed from tonsillitis, it will bring a new meaning. If a prefix is added at the beginning of a word, it will automatically influence the meaning of a medical term. From the combination of these word parts in medical terminology, it is clear that removal of any letter changes the meaning of a word (Rosdahl and Kowalski, 132).
Should spelling count in Medical Terminology?
Spelling of words is critical in medical terminology. A medical dictionary is very vital in learning. In this case, it facilitates the knowledge of medical terms. Incorrect spelling can alter the meaning or make a medical term to be meaningless. With the help of a medical dictionary, one can spell the medical terms correctly.
For instance, if a letter sounds like ‘F’, it may begin with ‘F’ or ‘PH’. For example, flatus (FLAY-tus) and phlegm (FLEM). If it sounds like ‘K’, it may begin with ‘C’. For example, crepitus (KREP-ih-tus) or ‘CH’ cholera (KOL-er-ah), or K for kyphosis (kye-FOH-sis), or QU for quadriplegia (kwad-rih-PLEE-jee-ah) among others. Words like hepatoma and hematoma have different meanings. Others are ilium and ileum, ureters and urethra and many others (Ehrlich and Schroeder, 11).
Medical terminology best used in the medical and the nursing fields. Letter change and incorrect spelling can alter the meaning of words in medical terminology. In creating medical terms, four word parts may be used. The word-parts include word roots, combining vowels, suffixes and prefixes. Spelling matters a lot in medical terminology.
Ehrlich, Ann, and Carol L. Schroeder. Introduction to Medical Terminology. Clifton Park, N.Y: Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2004. Print.
Rosdahl, Caroline B, and Mary T. Kowalski. Textbook of Basic Nursing. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. Print.
Willis, Marjorie C. Medical Terminology: The Language of Health Care. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. Print.