comparative linguisticsfor the narrower field of "comparative philology"."
Philology, derived from the Greek _gr. φιλολογία ("philologia" [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%23111282 "Philologia", Liddell and Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus] ] , from the terms _gr. φίλος "philos" meaning "loved, beloved, dear, friend" and _gr. λόγος "
logos" "word, articulation, reason") is a branch of the human sciencesdealing with languageand literature, specifically a literary canon, combining aspects of grammar, rhetoric, historical linguistics( etymologyand language change), interpretation of authors, textual criticismand the critical traditions associated with a given language. Classical philologyis the philology of the Greek, Latinand Sanskritlanguages [ [http://www.ucr.ac.cr/programas_grado.php University of Costa Rica] (link in Spanish) has a career in Classical philology that includes Sanskrit, Latin and Greek.] . Classical philology is historically primary, originating in European Renaissance Humanism, but was soon joined by philologies of other languages both European (Germanic, Celtic, Slavic etc.) and non-European (Sanskrit, Oriental languages such as Persian or Arabic, Chinese etc.). Indo-European studiesinvolves the philology of all Indo-European languagesas comparative studies. Any classical languagecan be studied philologically, and indeed describing a language as "classical" is to imply the existence of a philological tradition associated with it.
Because of its focus on historical development (diachronic analysis), philology came to be used as a term contrasting with linguistics. This is due to a 20th century development triggered by
Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis, and the later emergence of structuralismand Chomskianlinguistics with its heavy emphasis on spoken language (performance) and syntax.
The term "" itself enters the English language in the 16th century, from the
Middle French"philologie", in the sense of "love of literature". The Latin term "philologia" could mean "love of learning", like the original Greek term, _gr. φιλολογία, which described love of learning, of literature as well as of argument and reasoning, reflecting range of activities included under the notion of _gr. λόγος. The adjective _gr. φιλόλογος meant "fond of discussion or argument, talkative", in Hellenistic Greek also implying an excessive ("sophistic") preference of argument over the love of true wisdom, _gr. φιλόσοφος.
allegoryof literary erudition, "Philologia" appears in 5th century post-classical literature ( Martianus Capella, "De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii"), an idea revived in Late Medieval literature ( Chaucer, Lydgate).
The meaning of "love of learning and literature" was narrowed to "the study of the historical development of languages" (
historical linguistics) in 19th century usage of the term due to the rapid progresses made in understanding sound laws and language change, the "golden age of philology", taken to last throughout the 19th century, or "from Friedrich Schlegelto Nietzsche". [so Nikolaus Wegmann, Princeton University Department of German [http://german.princeton.edu/index.php?app=people&id=158] ] In British Englishusage, and in British academia, "philology" remains largely synonymous with "historical linguistics", while in US English, and US academia, the wider meaning of "study of a language's grammar, history and literary tradition" remains more widespread. [A. Morpurgo Davies Hist. Linguistics (1998) 4 I. 22.]
Branches of philology
One branch of philology is
comparative linguistics, which studies the relationship between languages. Similarities between Sanskritand European languageswere first noted in the early 16th century [This fact is noted in Juan Mascaro's introduction to his translation of the "Bhagavad Gita", in which he dates the first "Gita" translation to 1785 (by Charles Williams). Mascaro claims Alexander Hamilton stopped in Paris in 1802 after returning from India, and taught Sanskrit to the German critic Friedrich von Schlegel. Mascaro says this is the beginning of modern study of the roots of the Indo-European languages.] and led to the speculation of a common ancestor language from which all of these descended — now named Proto-Indo-European. Philology's interest in ancient languages led to the study of what were in the 18th century "exotic" languages for the light they could cast on problems in understanding and deciphering the origins of older texts.
Textual philology and text editing
Philology also includes the close study of texts and their history. It includes elements of
textual criticism, trying to reconstruct an author's original text based on variant manuscript copies. This branch of research arose in Biblical studies and has a long tradition, dating back to the Reformation. Fact|date=October 2008 Scholars have tried to reconstruct the original readings of the Biblefrom the manuscript variants that have come down to us. This method was then applied to Classical Studies and to medieval texts for the reconstruction of the author's original. This method produced so-called critical editions which provided a reconstructed text accompanied by a critical apparatus, i.e. footnotes listing the various manuscript variants available, thus enabling scholars to gain insight into the entire manuscript tradition and argue about variants. Fact|date=October 2008
A related study method, known as
higher criticism, which studies the authorship, date, and provenance of texts, places a text in a historical context. Fact|date=October 2008 These philological issues are often inseparable from issues of interpretation, and thus there is no clear-cut boundary between philology and hermeneutics. Fact|date=October 2008 As such, when the content of the text has a significant political or religious influence (such as the reconstruction of Biblical texts), it is difficult to find 'objective' conclusions.
As a result, some scholars avoid all critical methods of textual philology. Fact|date=October 2008 Especially in historical linguistics it is important to study the actually recorded materials. The movement known as
New Philologyhas rejected textual criticism because it injects editorial interpretations into the text and destroys the integrity of the individual manuscript readings, hence damaging the reliability of the data. Supporters of New Philology insist on a strict diplomatic, that is, faithful rendering of the text exactly as it is found in the manuscript, without emendations.
Another branch of philology,
cognitive philologystudies written and oral texts, considering them as results of human mental processes. This science, therefore, compares the results of textual science with those results of experimental research of both psychology and artificial intelligence production systems.
In the case of
Bronze Age literature, philology includes the prior deciphermentof the language in question. This has notably been the case with the Egyptian, Sumerian and Assyrian, Hittite and Luwian languages. Beginning with the sensational decipherment and translation of the Rosetta Stoneby Jean-François Champollionin 1822, a number of individuals attempted to decipher the writing systems of the Ancient Near Eastand Aegean. In the case of Old Persianand Mycenean Greek, decipherment of writing systems yielded records of languages already known from slightly younger traditions ( Middle Persian, Alphabetic Greek).
Work on the ancient languages of the Near East progressed rapidly. In the mid-19th century, Henry Rawlinson and others deciphered the
Behistun Inscription, which records the same text in Old Persian, Elamite, and Akkadian, using a variation of cuneiform for each language. The understanding of cuneiform script led to the decipherment of Sumerian. Hittite was deciphered in 1915 by Bedřich Hrozný. Linear B, a language used in the ancient Aegean, was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris, who demonstrated that the script recorded an early form of Greek, now known as Mycenaean Greek. Linear A, the writing system which records the still unknown language of the Minoans, resists deciphering, despite many attempts.
Work still continues on scripts such as
Maya script, with great progress made since the 1950s initial breakthroughs of the phonetic approach, championed by Yuri Knorozovand others.
American Journal of Philology
* [http://www.unizar.es/departamentos/filologia_inglesa/garciala/bibliography.html A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism, and Philology (ed. José Ángel García Landa, University of Zaragoza, Spain)]
* [http://ruthenia.ru/tiutcheviana/search/en/index.html Philology in Runet] -(A special web search through the philological sites of
* [http://ajif-ucm.com/ Asociación de Jóvenes Investigadores Filólogos de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (AJIF-UCM)]
* [http://w3.uniroma1.it/cogfil/homepage.html Rivista di Filologia Cognitiva]
* [http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Culture/coglit.html CogLit: Literature and Cognitive Linguistics]
* [http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/intro.htm Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts]
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