From: Andreas Katonis <lekatophil.uoa.gr>
Subject: Terms for Comparative Philology
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Query for this summary posted in LINGUIST Issue:
To my query about ''Comparative Philology'' (for a redefinition) I received
five answers. One of them sounds funny (''philophonolinguist'') and the
suggested term will have to be translated into Greek (since I work in
Greece). Although ''philo'' and ''phono'' are Greek, ''linguist'' is not
and should be translated. The problem, further, is that the register and
the semantic field (and also the pronunciation) between Classical and
Modern Greek may differ. This term, if translated, would have an even more
comic effect than it has in English. Theoretically, in some very specific
cases, something of the kind could perhaps be acceptable.
The other answers were encouraging but with reservations. One member said
that the term would be correct if understood mainly philologically. Another
wrote that philology, in several countries ''is gone'' although still
cultivated in some European countries like Germany. Another opinion was
that ''philology covers too much and ''Historical Comparative Linguistics''
should be used (unless literary interpretation is also included).
As I can see, this term is not very insightful in the US whereas in some
European Countries is (where first of all the engagement in texts is
meant). As a cross point, perhaps the usage in the UK is the one I mean and
need (a linguistic focus). As to what ''is gone'', as I see both philology,
classics and linguistics are endangered in some countries, and Greece
belongs to these. My ideal still remain classical studies backed by
relevant linguistics and vice versa. As to the redefinition, I am thinking
of using an adjectival form of ''Comparative Philology'' (two adjectives,
which are admitted by Greek), in an appropriate context, rather than an
adjective + a noun.
Thank you for your answers.
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