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Open Access European Philologies: Why Their Future Lives in Their Prehistoric Past

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This article aims to explain, on the basis of more than 20 years of research, the essentially prehistoric nature of modern European philologies, According to recent research, in fact, the emergence of Indo-European people in Europe and Asia must be seen as one of the major episodes of the emergence of Homo sapiens in Europe and Asia from Africa, and not as an event of recent prehistory. Cumulative evidence shows a complete continuity between the Paleolithic hunters and the Indo-European population known from texts: Celts, Germans, Slavs. In archaeological and paleontological terms, the only observable break corresponds to the transition from the Middle Paleolitihc (Neanderthal) to the upper Paleolithic (Cro-Magnon), and it is from this moment onward that a history of languages and cultures develops in an autonomous way. The differentiation process of IE languages from the Proto-IE common language, reconstructed by comparative linguistics, as well as that of their already separated branches (Proto-Celtic, Proto-Germanic, Proto-Italic, Proto-Balto-Slavic, Proto-Greek etc.) into their presently ‘substandard’, ‘dialect’ varieties, must have taken an extremely long time, and they must have been associated first with the varying episodes of the original migration from Africa, and then – with an increasingly faster tempo as social stratification and colonial wars began – with the varying cultural, social and political stages the new fragmented groups went through in the different settlement areas.

Keywords: Ethnophilology; Indo-European languages; Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm; national philologies as prehistoric philologies; stability of languages

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Philology is an international peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of human traditions as they emerge from oral, written, carved, painted, digital, performed, ancient, contemporary texts. The journal aspires to challenge and reformulate the expression of philological studies in the present day. We propose that the contemporary world be understood in its multicultural complexity, and thus that philology be re-founded as a relevant social science. To this end, we encourage constant dialogue with the methodologies of other disciplines, including linguistics, cultural anthropology, archaeology, paleoethnology, genetics and cultural biology. Philology promotes all efforts to go beyond the traditional boundaries of our habitual fields of enquiry, with the purpose of accomplishing anti-dogmatic and unprejudiced tools for facing the challenges of contemporaneity. The journal is open to a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches, from the study of linguistic evolution to literary interpretation, from textual criticism to the investigation of texts and ethnotexts, from etymological reconstructions to the cognitive analyses of archaeological facies. Philological problems exist in the grammar of signs inscribed on a prehistoric stone or a shamanic drum no less than they do in the transmission of a text from one old manuscript to another.
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