One of the most important debates in all of Philology is when philology becomes linguistic one. John Bosch is one of the most eminent scholars of ancient Greek language and history. He argued that all previous classical languages were derived from a common “linguistic tradition”, a tradition that had developed over time. According to him, all previous languages were based on grammar, syntax, and word formation that stemmed from the grammatical structure of Greek, which itself was developed over the years, first by its literary language and then by the phonetic/syntactic language of Greek in spoken form.
This view is extremely valuable when considering the development of language throughout the entire history of mankind. However, the facts that are adhered to in his arguments do not support his conclusions. It appears that he regards all previous grammatical structures as grammatical evolution, a process whose historical beginnings are beyond the reach of his analysis. As such, his major work The Grammar of the Greek Language is really a history of philology and not a study of grammatical development.
Another eminent linguist, Alexander Smith, also accepts the view that all grammatical theories are derived from a common grammatical theory. However, Smith goes a step further to state that all grammatical theories are grammatical theories that have been worked out by someone. So, the fact that two grammatical theories A and B were worked out by different people does not make one of them an “ancestor”. Rather, each of these theories has been worked out by someone independent of all others. So when philology becomes a linguistic study, it is not necessary to assign the work of Parmenides or Herodotus to the ancients.
On the other hand, when philology becomes a linguistic study, one needs to be very careful about how the grammatical theories are modified by other elements of a language. For instance, in English, the prefix “to” has various meanings, depending on the gender of the person speaking, whether the person is male or female, and the tense in which the root is used (as in the sentence “The man loves his dog”). In some languages the prefixes also have gender-specific significance, while in others they do not. Hence, a grammatical argument written in such a grammatical theory would state, when used as an argument in a court of law, that the phrase “A man loves his dog” in the sense of “used with an intention to impress” should mean “The man loved his dog when he was a boy”.
It is obviously impossible to give a precise definition of grammatical theory in this paper. However, we can say that all grammatical facts concerning languages are related to grammar, and that grammar gives rise to all grammatical facts. Therefore, we can say that grammatical theory is the language itself, and that its grammatical facts are language objects. Thus, a grammatical argument in English can be seen to be an assertion about the existence in the language of some language objects that are not in the vocabulary of the language.
The ideas of grammar are closely related to ideas about truth. As philology becomes linguistic it is also closely connected to the idea of truth. The idea of the reality of a grammatical fact may be understood as a claim concerning the reality of truths in general. And it is one of the central thesis of linguistics that all truth-findings are grammatical facts.
One of the problems with regard to the relationship between grammar and philology has been the reliance on empirical evidence to support grammatical claims. It has been argued that the use of literary studies, together with philological studies, had effectively demonstrated the reality of grammatical facts. But critics argue that empirical work is too diffuse and too inconsistent to provide firm grounds on which to criticize a whole theory like the reality of grammatical truth. This controversy has been one of the preoccupations of linguists since the dawn of modern science. However, linguists have agreed on one thing: the importance of philology for understanding language.
The problem of grammatical information and the difficulty of establishing its validity date back to the very beginnings of the twentieth century. The question of how to study grammatical truth was addressed by scholars interested in both grammar and philology. The controversy regarding the relationship between language and philology developed into a literary art that challenged academic supremacy. Some linguists took part in literary researches to show that grammatical arguments are independent and do not support a particular grammatical theory. These critics showed that literary works do not support grammatical descriptions of reality.
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