Luanda

Hoje, misturam-se pelas ruas de Luanda o umbundo oblongo dos ovimbundos. O lingala (língua que nasceu para ser cantada) e o francês arranhado dos regrês. O português afinado dos burgueses. O surdo português dos portugueses. O raro quimbundo das derradeiras bessanganas. A isto junte-se, com os novos tempos, uma pitada do mandarim elíptico dos chineses, um cheiro a especiarias do árabe solar dos libaneses; e ainda alguns vocábulos do hebreu ressuscitado, colhidos sem pressa nas manhãs de domingo, em alguns dos mais sofisticados bares da Ilha. Mais o inglês, em tons sortidos, de ingleses, americanos e sul-africanos. O português feliz dos brasileiros. O espanhol encantado de um ou outro cubano que ficou para trás.

Se fosse uma ave, Luanda seria uma imensa arara, bêbada de abismo e de azul. Se fosse uma catástrofe, seria um terramoto: energia insubmissa, estremecendo, em uníssono, as profundas fundações do mundo. Se fosse uma mulher, seria uma meretriz mulata, de coxas exuberantes, peito farto, já um pouco cansada, dançando nua em pleno carnaval. Se fosse uma doença, um aneurisma.

José Eduardo Agualusa, As Mulheres do Meu Pai

 

Today the streets of Luanda see a mix of the elongated umbundo of the ovimbundos; Lingala — a language born to be sung — and the scratched French of the Congolese returnees. The refined Portuguese of the bourgeois. The deaf Portuguese of the Portuguese. The strange quimbundo of the last bessangana women. Together with this — in these new times — is a pinch of the elliptical Mandarin of the Chinese, a spice-market scent of the sunny Arabic of the Lebanese; and even some words of revived Hebrew, gathered at a leisurely pace on a Sunday morning in some of the most sophisticated bars of the Island. Plus English, in a variety of tones, from the English, the Americans and the South Africans. The happy Portuguese of the Brazilians. The enchanted Spanish of a Cuban who’s been left behind.

If it were a bird, Luanda would be a massive macaw, drunk on abyss and on blue. If it were a catastrophe, it would be an earthquake: ungovernable energy, shuddreing in unison the deepest foundations of the earth. If it were a woman, it would be a mulatta prostitute, with exuberant thighs, full breasts, now a little tired, dancing away naked in the middle of Carnival. If it were an illness, an aneurism.

José Eduardo Agualusa, My Father’s Wives (translated by Daniel Hahn)
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logy, logue, logia

Wordle: logia
Contrary to what you read in Wikipedia, -logy is not a suffix. If anything, it is a root. It is derived from Greek word logos (λόγος) which has a lot of meanings:

speech, oration, discourse, quote, story, study, ratio, word, calculation, reason.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary says:

-logy /ləʤɪ/ comb. form forming nouns denoting: 1 (usu. as -ology) a subject of study or interest (archaeology; zoology). 2 a characteristic of speech or language (tautology). 3 discourse (trilogy). [F -logie or med. L. -logia f. Gk (as Logos)] 

I like “a subject of study or interest” better than “science”, because “logies” in a sense (1) also include astrology, phrenology and pyramidology. (One former colleague of mine used to say that there are real sciences, like chemistry and physics, and phony ones, which all end on “ology”.) There is a tendency (at least as far as renaming of university departments goes) to substitute well-established terms of Greek etymology with pluralised English equivalents: “earth sciences” instead of “geology”, “life sciences” instead of “biology” and so on. I can’t help thinking that, by using plurals, they try to get more funding. But what on earth is “biological sciences” if not a tautology? Does not biology sound scientific enough? Apparently not.

Since there are too many fields of study and people know only so many Greek words, it is inevitable that quite a few “logy” (1) terms are hybrid words which mix Latin and Greek parts. For example, sociology (the corresponding Greek word is κοινωνιολογία) and scientology (both contemporary and early usages of which sound tautological). Similarly, Italian, Russian and other Slavic languages have a hybrid word algologia (альгология) — phycology, a branch of botany dealing with algae. The (non-hybrid) English term algology means something else: study of pain.

Then there is philology. It does not mean “study of love” but the other way round: “love of study”. Really, it should be logophilia, and indeed such a word exists, meaning “love of words”, with a vague hint of a medical condition.

“Logies” (2) include dilogy, palilogy, phraseology, terminology — you name it.

Apology and eulogy belong to the third group of “logies”. These two can be made into verbs (apologise, eulogise) — something you really cannot do with “logies” of (1) and (2) types. “Logy” (3) is very similar to -logue as in dialogue, monologue, catalogue, Decalogue

What about analogy and homology? They don’t belong to any of these three categories. They are derived from the same Greek root logos but use another meaning of it: ratio, proportion.

Many European languages retained the Greek spelling, -logia of their -logies (see the table below). In English, logia (Greek λόγια), a plural of logion, refers to collection of sayings of Jesus, especially those which did not end up in the Gospels. In Spanish, logia (from Italian word loggia) means either lodge (as in Logia Masónica) or, er, loggia.

English analogy pharmacology tautology trilogy
French analogie pharmacologie tautologie trilogie
German Analogie Pharmakologie Tautologie Trilogie
Greek ἀναλογἰα φαρμακολογία ταυτολογία τριλογία
Italian analogia farmacologia tautologia trilogia
Portuguese analogia farmacologia tautologia trilogia
Russian аналогия фармакология тавтология трилогия
Spanish analogía farmacología tautología trilogía