philologist

A philologist is someone who studies the history of languages, especially by looking closely at literature. If you're fascinated with the way English has changed over time, from Beowulf to Beloved, you might want to become a philologist.

Linguistics is the study of language, and a philologist is a type of linguist. For a philologist, the most fascinating part of linguistics is the way the history of language, its grammar, and its meaning, can be studied by analyzing written texts and oral traditions of storytelling. Any philologist can tell you that the word comes from the Greek philologia, "love of learning, discussion, and literature."

Definitions of philologist
  1. noun
    a humanist specializing in classical scholarship
    synonyms: philologue
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    examples:
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    Frederick James Furnivall
    English philologist who first proposed the Oxford English Dictionary (1825-1910)
    Baron Karl Wilhelm von Humboldt
    German philologist noted for his studies of the relation between language and culture (1767-1835)
    Friedrich Max Muller
    British philologist (born in Germany) who specialized in Sanskrit (1823-1900)
    Sir James Augustus Henry Murray
    Scottish philologist and the lexicographer who shaped the Oxford English Dictionary (1837-1915)
    Rasmus Christian Rask
    Danish philologist whose work on Old Norse pioneered in the field of comparative linguistics (1787-1832)
    Walter William Skeat
    English philologist (1835-1912)
    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
    British philologist and writer of fantasies (born in South Africa) (1892-1973)
    Karl Adolph Verner
    Danish philologist (1846-1896)
    type of:
    humanist
    a classical scholar or student of the liberal arts
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