In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

The Fundamentals of Learning

Write neatly: Name, date, and homeroom in the upper, right-hand corner; one inch margins. We have, after all, to draw the line somewhere.

These are the basics — the be-all and end-all of the educational process — that from which we have strayed and to which we are constantly entreated to return.

What exactly is the basis for the emphasis on basics? It's the Greek basis, a "step" or "stepping stone." Taking these steps, should quickly return us to the fundamentals.

The fundamentals solidly reside in the Latin fundus, "bottom," and fundare, "to base firmly." This created the fundament, "a groundwork" or "underlying principle." It also describes the part on which we are most firmly based — our "seat," our "buttocks," or "behind."

It in turn helps explain why both our coaches and teachers stress the fundamentals by primarily "kicking our ass."

It's really as basic as all that.