LINGUIST List 9.685

Sun May 10 1998

Disc: Philology vs. Linguistics

Editor for this issue: Elaine Halleck <>


  1. manaster, Re: 9.591 Philology vs. Linguistics

Message 1: Re: 9.591 Philology vs. Linguistics

Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 17:51:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: manaster <>
Subject: Re: 9.591 Philology vs. Linguistics

I think this an interesting question and perhaps a controversial one.
I think that what Francis refers to as 'Europe' may be just the UK,
since I do recall (being American) being puzzled by Clauson's use of
the term philology when he was talking about what I would call Turkic
comparative linguistics. To my mind, there is a field called
philology which deals with texts and in particular with the
relationships of different versions of the same text to each other and
to a possible putative Ur-text, and there is another field called
comparative linguistics which deals with languages and the
relationships of related languages to each other and to a putative
Ur-language. The two fields have rather similar methods and overlap
in other ways as well (since each has implications for the other) and
are often done by the same people, but are nevertheless fairly clearly


"Francis Barry, Jr." <> writes:

I have been told in the past that there is a difference between the
approach to comparative language studies in Europe (where, as I
understand it, it's called "philology") and the approach in the U.S.
(where the discipline is known as "linguistics"). Apparently this is
not just a matter of terminology, and the disciplines really do take
divergent paths. 
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue