See how language shapes and influences literature through Germanic philology.
Learn how language and literature are inextricably linked.
Germanic philology is the comparative and historical study of Germanic languages, modern and ancient and everything in-between. Signum University wants to restore the connection between the study of language and literature that philology once provided.
Why Study Germanic Philology?
According to Dr. Tom Shippey, comparative philology was “one of the breakthrough subjects of the nineteenth century, and for a while had a claim to being the nearest thing the humanities possessed to a hard science.” As a discipline, philology is the study of languages, in particular the relationships between them, as well as their historical development. This is done through the examination and comparison of texts from the earliest times through today.
Germanic philology focuses specifically on the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. This includes modern languages such as German, English, Swedish, Dutch, Icelandic, and others, as well as their ancient counterparts such as Anglo-Saxon (i.e., Old English), Old High German, Gothic, Old Norse, and many more. Exploring the connections and common lineages of these languages allows for insights and revelations that otherwise would not be possible.
Philological study also provides a way of looking at literature that has largely fallen out of favor in the modern world. In his 1959 Valedictory Address at Oxford University, J.R.R. Tolkien stated, “The right and natural use of Language includes Literature, just as Literature includes the study of the language of literary works.” Even at that time, more than a half century ago, Tolkien lamented the fact that the study of language and literature had been split into separate disciplines. His own creative work grew out of his love of language, and he believed that literature as a whole also grew out of the language in which it is steeped.
Making Old Connections New Again
Signum University wants all students to recognize the relationship between language and literature. As part of our premier degree program, the M.A. in Language & Literature, this concentration in Germanic Philology offers students an opportunity to revive the study of language and literature together.
Germanic Philology Lecturers
Dr. Tom Shippey
Dr. Nelson Goering
Dr. Michael Drout
Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson
Dr. Corey Olsen
Dr. Paul Peterson
Germanic Philology Courses
Currently, Signum University offers seven courses for the Germanic Philology concentration. Students seeking a M.A. or Certificate with a concentration in Germanic Philology must take at least five of these courses.
|ID||Course Name||Duration||Start Date|
|LNGC 5302||Beowulf in Old English||12 weeks||May 6, 2019|
|LITD 5301||Chaucer I: Visions of Love||12 Weeks||August 31, 2020|
|LITD 5302||Chaucer II: The Canterbury Tales||12 Weeks||January 11, 2021|
|LNGC 5311||Eddic Poetry in Old Norse||12 weeks||August 31, 2020|
|LITC 5305||Germanic Myths and Legends||12 weeks||August 26, 2019|
|LNGC 5301||Introduction to Anglo-Saxon||12 Weeks||January 14, 2019|
|LNGC 5390||Introduction to Germanic Philology I||12 weeks||August 26, 2019|
|LNGC 5391||Introduction to Germanic Philology II||12 weeks||January 13, 2020|
|LNGC 5310||Introduction to Old Norse||12 weeks||May 4, 2020|
|LNGC 5320||Introduction to the Gothic Language||12 weeks||January 11, 2021|
|LITC 5304||Norse Myths and Sagas||12 weeks||January 14, 2019|
|LNGA 5301||Philology Through Tolkien||12 Weeks||August 27, 2013|
At least one Germanic Philology course will be offered each semester. Courses will be offered on a rotating basis every 2 – 3 years. Course order, frequency, and availability may change without notice. Links to course descriptions above may go to an older version of the course. For current course offerings, visit the Signum course catalog.