My Korean pen pal wrote ‘우리는 언어학과 현상학에 산다.’ The translation: “We live in linguistics and phenomenology.” I know linguistics, but the word phenomenology is completely new to me.

I thought he was trying for the word ‘phenomenon’ (a situation you observe) or ‘phoneme’ (smallest linguistic structure), however he confirmed what he was trying to say by repeating it in Korean.

I’m clueless. It is one of the joys of having an international pen pal, being introduced to new concepts. I can of course do an internet search. Phenomenology is defined as “A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness.”

Can anyone give me some insight into phenomenology and what my pen pal might of been trying to say to me?

He might be making a point about how we perceive our world through the filter of our language.

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There are in fact quite a few definitions of the word.

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“Phenomenology (from Greek: phainómenon “that which appears” and lógos “study”) is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. As a philosophical movement it was founded in the early years of the 20th century by Edmund Husserl and was later expanded upon by a circle of his followers at the universities of Göttingen and Munich in Germany. It then spread to France, the United States, and elsewhere, often in contexts far removed from Husserl’s early work.”

If you see the word after linguistics, this might mean phenomenology in the field of philosophy. Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology is very famous, although many of us do not dare to read his works because he tries to explain very ‘simple’ things using extremely difficult logic.

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