- This article is about the history of the discipline, for linguistic phenomena, see Germanic languagesGermanic languagesThe Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...
and the navigation template below.
Germanic philology is the philological
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...
study of the Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...
particularly from a comparative
In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with common descent from a shared ancestor, as opposed to the method of internal reconstruction, which analyzes the internal...
or historical perspective.
The beginnings of research into the Germanic languages began in the 16th century, with the discovery of literary texts in the earlier phases of the languages. Early modern publications dealing with Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....
culture appeared in the 16th century, e.g. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus (Olaus Magnus, 1555) and the first edition of the
13th century Gesta Danorum
Gesta Danorum is a patriotic work of Danish history, by the 12th century author Saxo Grammaticus . It is the most ambitious literary undertaking of medieval Denmark and is an essential source for the nation's early history...
Saxo Grammaticus also known as Saxo cognomine Longus was a Danish historian, thought to have been a secular clerk or secretary to Absalon, Archbishop of Lund, foremost advisor to Valdemar I of Denmark. He is the author of the first full history of Denmark.- Life :The Jutland Chronicle gives...
), in 1514.
In 1603, Melchior Goldast
Melchior Goldast ab Haiminsfeld was a Swiss writer and an industrious though uncritical collector of documents relating to the medieval history and constitution of Germany....
made the first edition of Middle High German
Middle High German
Middle High German , abbreviated MHG , is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German...
poetry, Tyrol and Winsbeck, including a commentary
In philology, a commentary is a line-by-line or even word-by-word explication usually attached to an edition of a text in the same or an accompanying volume. It may draw on methodologies of close reading and literary criticism, but its primary purpose is to elucidate the language of the text and...
which focused on linguistic problems and set the tone for the approach to such works in the subsequent centuries. He later gave similar attention to the Old High German Benedictine Rule. In England, Cotton's studies of the manuscripts in his collection marks the beginnings of work on Old English language.
The pace of publication increased during the 17th century with Latin translations of the Edda
The term Edda applies to the Old Norse Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, both of which were written down in Iceland during the 13th century in Icelandic, although they contain material from earlier traditional sources, reaching into the Viking Age...
(notably Peder Resen's Edda Islandorum of 1665).
Germanic philology together with linguistics
History of linguistics
Linguistics as a study endeavors to describe and explain the human faculty of language.In ancient civilization, linguistic study was originally motivated by the correct description of classical liturgical language, notably that of Sanskrit grammar by , or by the development of logic and rhetoric...
as a whole emerged as a serious academic discipline in the early 19th century, pioneered particularly in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
by such linguists as Jakob Grimm. Important 19th century scholars include Henry Sweet and Matthias Lexer.
The structure of the modern university means that for the most part work on the field is focussed on medieval English studies, medieval German studies, etc. Only relatively few universities can afford to offer Comparative linguistics as a discrete field.
- The Journal of Comparative Germanic LinguisticsThe Journal of Comparative Germanic LinguisticsThe Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering theoretical linguistic research of the Germanic languages, published by Springer Netherlands. Its editors-in-chief are Susi Wurmbrand and Henk van Riemsdijk ....