Philology research

Scholars in our department have a long tradition of research and teaching in the area of Germanic philology, which we define broadly as the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Germanic peoples from the first centuries CE until around the end of the 14th century. Philologists study written and oral records, including literary texts—to establish their authenticity, describe their historical context, and speculate about their meaning.

Germanic Philology has traditionally been a strength of the Department, uniquely in North America. Chris Sapp currently has two major research projects. One is dating the poems of the Old Norse Poetic Edda on linguistic and metrical criteria. The other is the creation of a syntactically parsed corpus of German texts from 1100 to 1900. He teaches courses on the language and literature of Gothic, Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old High German, and Middle High German.

We collaborate closely with Tracy Alan Hall in Germanic linguistics as well as with other colleagues at Indiana University, and we participate in joint projects with scholars from all over the world—from Iceland to Australia—trying to involve our students as much as possible in our research.

Robert Fulk, emeriti adjunct professor in Germanic Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, continues to undertake research in early Germanic languages and literatures, especially Old English, Middle English, and Old Icelandic. His particular interests are in historical phonology and morphology, dialectology, metrics, manuscript studies, and textual editing. Professor Fulk has taught medieval English, Welsh, and Irish languages and literatures.

Meet our Philology faculty Learn about our graduate programs