Supplementing each chapter of Dominik's Words and Ideas, are bibliographies, exercises, websites, and invaluable "Word for Word" cartoon strips. Words and Ideas can be read in almost any order or, if it's for personal interest, even randomly, but structured approaches would work better in the classroom. For this reason, Dominik suggests two structured approaches: either to focus first on the first three chapters to build up some basic understanding of word building before proceeding to the Greek and Roman culture and further word building sections or to study the first three chapters in conjunction with the remaining nine cultural chapters.
The first three chapters of Words and Ideas introduce word building, with essential, basic, explained terms like base, prefix, and suffix.
Starting with Chapter 4, Dominik focused on Greco-Roman culture, the differences between Greece and Rome, and the essential words used to describe first mythology, then medicine, politics and law, commerce and economics, philosophy and psychology, and history.
- the creation stories and major myths of the Greek gods and heroes,
- the change from magic to reason-based medicine,
- the development of the ancient city, democracy and the effect of Roman law on American and South African law,
- financial systems and trade, including slavery and ancient machinery,
- the concept of knowledge, with a quick look at individual pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, the Stoic, Epicurean and Cynic philosophers, with a Freudian excursis, and finally
- the contributions made by historians to our knowledge of times past with a look at and occasional passage written by the ancient historians Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Josephus, Caesar, Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus.
Words and Ideas may look confusing and not at all like your vision of a word builder, but if you dig through the wealth of clearly presented material and challenging exercises, I think you will agree that you have found a gem.