Hey all, I just received a question that is a surprisingly rich jumping off point for understanding. This question gets at a bound base that has only quite recently come to my attention. I don’t remember the story, but it’s quite possible that the insight into this bound base was discovered in our community because of a student’s hypothesis. 


I could have posted this in the "Orthography Forum" but my response is framed to help teachers make sense of steps to take when enountaring such questions. I hope it helps. I recently published this "structure and meaning test" to help teachers with the understanding necessary to take on this type of question. For those interested not just in the answer to this question, but how to go about answering such questions, I recommend visiting that link as well. 


I’ll share the question along with some hints:


Why does Recognise change to Recognition (with a t)?


We have to be careful not to accept the premise of a question. Is this really what happens? 


The starting point of any question about if and how two words might be connected are to make sure that we put the words through a process of a “structure test” and a “meaning test”.


The structure test (morphological test -- same written base?)

Can I make word sums that show the two words can be coherently analyzed with word sums that result in a base with a common spelling?


So my first suggestion to the questioners is to make word sums that go as deep into the structure of these words as they can. 


Here are some attested affixes that should be tested in the process of that task.


Prefixes: <re->, <co->

Suffixes: <-ise>, <-ite>, <-ion>


These are tools affixes that exist in the writing system. Could they exist in these words?  


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… start your word sum engines…


The meaning test (etymological test -- same root origin?)

To see if the two words under investigation actually share a common base -- they must also share a common root origin. 


So let’s check the etymology of these two words:


From Etymonline: 

<recognise> (Brit. spelling) <recognize> (US spelling)

recognize (v.) pastedGraphic.pdf

early 15c., "resume possession of land," from Middle French reconiss-, stem of reconoistre "to know again, identify, recognize," from Old French, from Latin recognoscere "acknowledge, recall to mind, know again, examine, certify," from re- "again" (see re-) + cognoscere "know" (see cognizance). Meaning "perceive something or someone as already known" first recorded 1530s. Related: Recognized; recognizing.


<recognise> (Brit. spelling) <recognize> (US spelling)

recognition (n.) pastedGraphic_1.pdf

late 15c., from Latin recognitionem (nominative recognitio) "act of recognizing," noun of action from past participle stem of recognoscere "to acknowledge, know again, examine" (see recognize).



Based on that information, we have no debate that these words are of the same etymological family. 


I leave you to analyze the words with word sums to determine whether they  share a common written base. Because we know these words share a common root origin, the production of word sums that include coherent affixes and a common base, provides evidence that these words are of the same orthographic morphological family. Until such word sums are presented, one would have to stay with the working hypothesis that they are etymologically but not morphologically related. 


I look forward to seeing the analysis presented by the community. I will admit that I have done my own morphological analyses of these words with the help of others in our community worked with words of this family. I would love to see hypothesized word sums from those that posed this question before I share what I know about these words.


And remember, anyone trying to get more practice with this process of conducting a “structure and meaning test” I recommend that you visit this post of a similar type of investigation with different words.