Philology is the study of the systematic behaviour of and developments within a language or language family over time. As such, it deals with a great number of fields within linguistics, including (but not limited to) phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, etc.
In this department, students and staff focus mainly on Indo-European comparative philology and/or the study of one or more Indo-European daughter language(s), esp. Italic, Hellenic, Anatolian, Indo-Iranian, and Germanic.
In 2018, the department of Philology at Oxford is able to celebrate two important birthdays. Exactly 150 years ago, the University established the Chair of Comparative Philology (now the Diebold Professorship in Comparative Philology), which is thus, in some ways, the oldest “Chair in (a field of) Linguistics” at Oxford; the Chair, currently held by Prof. Andreas Willi, was first held by Max Müller (1868–1900), and later by other luminaries like Leonard R. Palmer (1952–71) and Anna Morpurgo-Davies (1971–2004).
The second cause for celebration is the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics.