Philology is the study of ancient texts and languages. The term originally meant a love (Greek philo-) Of learning and literature (Greek -logia). Philology was one of the 19th century's first scientific approaches to human language but gave way to the modern science of linguistics in the early 20th century due to the influence of Ferdinand de Saussure, who argued that the spoken language should have primacy.
One branch of philology is historical linguistics. Similarities between Sanskrit and European languages ??were first noted in the early 18th century and led to the discovery of Proto-Indo-European. Philology's interest in ancient languages ??led to the study of what were in the 19th century "exotic" languages ??for the light they could cast on problems in understanding and deciphering the origins of older texts.
Philology also includes textual criticism, which tries to reconstruct an ancient author's original text based on manuscript copies. Higher criticism is the study of the authorship, date, and provenance of texts.
Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin. Classical philology is historically primary, originating in European Renaissance Humanism, but was soon joined by philologies of other languages ??both European (Germanic, Celtic, Slavistics, etc.) and non-European (Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, etc.). Indo-European studies involves the comparative philology of all Indo-European languages.
Any classical language can 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 structuralism and Chomskyan linguistics with its emphasis on syntax.
The term philology is derived from the Greek ????????? (philologia), From the terms ????? (philos), Meaning "love, affection, loved, beloved, dear, friend" and ????? (logos), Meaning "word, articulation, reason", describing a love of learning, of literature as well as of argument and reasoning, reflecting the range of activities included under the notion of ?????. The term changed little with the Latin philologia, And later entered the English language in the 16th century, from the Middle French philologie, In the sense of "love of literature".
The adjective ????????? (philologos) Meant "fond of discussion or argument, talkative", in Hellenistic Greek also implying an excessive ( "sophistic") preference of argument over the love of true wisdom, ????????? (philosophos).
As an allegory of literary erudition, Philologia appears in 5th-century post-classical literature (Martianus Capella,), an idea revived in Late Medieval literature.
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 progress made in understanding sound laws and language change, the "golden age of philology" lasted throughout the 19th century, or "from Friedrich Schlegel to Nietzsche". In the Anglo-Saxon world, the term philology to describe work on languages ??and literatures, which had become synonymous with the practices of German scholars, was abandoned as a consequence of anti-German feeling following World War I. Most continental European countries still maintain the term to designate departments, colleges, position titles, and journals. J. R. R. Tolkien opposed the nationalist reaction against philological practices, claiming that "the philological instinct" was "universal as is the use of language". In British English usage, 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 .
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