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Linguistic Tips

The -logy Suffix

Foreword
IPA Chart
Aspects of Language
The -logy Suffix
Binomial Collocations
As Idiomatic As English
Reduplication

Rami Al-Sa'di
English Instructor
Dept. of English, Derna University

The "-logy" Suffix

 

Affixation, the addition of an affix (i.e. a prefix or a suffix) to a word, has been and will almost certainly continue to be the most productive word-formation process in English. However, not all affixes have the same derivational productivity. Crystal (2005) posits that the Old-English th ending, for instance (found in breadth, length, warmth, depth, width, sixth, etc), "is hardly ever used now to create new words." By contrast, other suffixes, such as able, appear to lend themselves to a highly productive nature. The suffix able can potentially be annexed to most existing verbs in order to create an adjective meaning "can be" or "tending to." Equally productive is the lo­­gy suffix, which can be adjoined to a wide variety of free and bound morphemes to create the meaning of "the branch of science that deals with" or "the scientific study of." For instance, geology is the branch of science that deals with the earth, the geo part being a bound morpheme of a Greek origin meaning earth; biology is the science of life, the bio part again a bound morpheme of a Greek origin meaning life. The words audiology (audio+logy) and dialectology (dialect+logy) are each a combination of a free morpheme and the logy suffix. In point of fact, logy is now one of the most prolific English suffixes that is being used lavishly to tag technical (or technically sounding) names to newly explored arenas.

In this article, I have endeavoured to accumulate a large number of "logy" words (listed alphabetically below in a table) that the student of English may find useful to learn. To ensure maximum benefit, the student is strongly advised to do the exercise that follows the list.

NB: The meanings of the words given in the table below are the ones that serve our interest in this paper. It is worth noting that many of these logy words are polysemous, i.e. they have more than one meaning.

 

Reference:

 

Crystal, David (2005) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, CUP

 

 

Logy word

Branch of science that deals with…/

The scientific study of…

aerology

atmospheric conditions away from ground level

agriology

the history and customs of non-literate peoples

agrology

agriculture

algology

algae

anthropology

humankind

araneology

spiders

archaeology

human antiquities

astrology

prediction of natural phenomena

audiology

hearing

bacteriology

bacteria

biology

living organisms

cardiology

the heart

characterlogy

character, esp. its development and variation between individuals

choreology

the movements of dancing

chromatology

colours

climatology

climate

cosmetology

beautifying the face, hair, and skin

cosmology

structure and evolution of the universe

criminology

crime

cryptology

codes

dermatology

the skin

dialectology

dialects

ecology

organisms' relations to one another and the physical environment in which they live

egyptology

Egyptian antiquities

embryology

the development of an organism

entomology

insects

enzymology

enzymes

epistemology

the varieties, grounds, and validity of knowledge

ethnology

the characteristics of different peoples

etymology

the formation and development of a word

fungology

fungi

futurology

the future, esp. by the study of present trends in society

genealogy

lineage, pedigree, family stock

geology

earth

geomorphology

the physical features of the earth's surface

glaciology

the geological action of ice

graphology

written and printed symbols and of writing systems

gynaecology

physiology and diseases of women

haematology

the blood, esp. its disorders

historiology

history

hydrology

treatment by baths and waters

ideology

the origin and nature of ideas

immunology

resistance to infection in humans and animals

lexicology

words, their form, meaning, and (sometimes) history

malariology

malaria

mammalogy

mammals

meteorology

forecasting the weather

methodology

empirical research or the methods employed in it

micro-biology

micro-organisms

micrology

macroscopic organisms

mineralogy

minerals

morphology

change, formation, and inflection of words in language

musicology

music

neurology

anatomy, functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system

numerology

the occult or esoteric significance of numbers

oceanology

the human use of the sea

odontology

the structure and development of teeth

oncology

tumours

ornithology

birds

palaeontology

extinct and fossil animals and plants

pathology

diseases

pharmacology

drugs

philology

literary or classical scholarship

phonology

sound system in language

physiology

the normal functioning of living organisms

planetology

planets and their evolution

polemology

war

primatology

primates

psychology

the human mind and its functioning

psychopathology

mental illnesses and abnormalities

pyrology

fire and heat

radiology

X-rays and other forms of radiation

rheumatology

rheumatisms

seismology

earthquakes

semiology

linguistic signs and symbols

sociology

human society

sophiology

the relations between God and the world

spectrology

spectra

symbology

the use of symbols

technology

the mechanical arts or applied sciences

textology

the evolution of texts

thanatology

death

theology

God; divinity

thermology

heat

topology

the topography of a particular region

toxicology

poisons

trichology

the functions, structure, and diseases of the hair

typology

symbolism

virology

viruses

volcanology

volcanoes

zoology

animals

 

 

 

Exercise: Fill in each blank space with the correct name of the science.

1. _______________ is the science that serves to explain the relations between God and the world.

2. _______________ is the science that deals with the coloured bands into which a beam of light is split by means of a prism.

3. _______________ is the branch of religion that deals with symbolic representation.

4. _______________ is the scientific study of furred, warm-blooded animals.

5. _______________ is the science that tracks and record atmospheric changes.

6. Insects are the field of study of _______________.

7. _______________ is the branch of science that deals with the development of an organism.

8. The movements of dancing are the domain of _______________.

9. _______________ is the study of the varieties, grounds, and validity of knowledge.

10. _______________ is the organized body of knowledge dealing with the nature, attributes, and governance of God.

 

"Any semiology postulates a relation between two terms, a signifier and a signified. This relation concerns objects which belong to different categories, and this is why it is not one of equality but of equivalence."

 

Roland Barthes   (1915 - 1980)

French philosopher and writer.

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