History of the section dates back to 1970s, when by the initiative of Victoria Yartseva, then Director of the Institute of Linguistics, Andrey Korolev started studying Celtic languages (specifically, Old Irish) as part of the Germanic languages section. After some time Victor Kalygin, another prominent Old Irish specialist in Old Irish, was admitted to the section. Essentially, Andrey Korolev and Victor Kalygin, students of Victoria Yartseva, became the first Russian celtologists who were recognized by the global scientific community. Apart from Celtic studies, Andrey Korolev did extensive research on languages of Asia Minor. Vast knowledge and commitment to the issues of Indo-European studies also united two scholars. Their teaching activity produced a group of students of Anatolian and Celtic languages. By the initiative of Victor Kalygin, this group became a part of the section of Indo-European languages in 2003. In 2011 Andrei Sideltsev proposed to transform the group into the section of Anatolian and Celtic languages. Andrei Sideltsev is now the Head of the section.
The section is the only unit in the Russian linguistic community that deals with the study of the languages of two areas, the languages of the Anatolian Sprachbund and the Celtic languages. As for the Celtic languages, they had been studied by the Faculty of Philology of MSU before, but the Anatolian languages have become the focus of interest of an institutionalized group of scholars for the first time in the history of Russian science. The section remains one of the few organized research centers in the world. Research of Anatolian and Celtic languages is conducted both synchronically and diachronically, and covers typological, areal, and comparative-historical perspectives. At different points of the section's activity, its staff was engaged in studying almost all languages of the Anatolian Sprachbund and of the Celtic group. Hittite, Hattic, and Hurrian languages have been studied by Alexey Kassian, Andrey Sideltsev, Olga Popova, and Maria Molina, Irish has been studied by Tatyana Mikhailova, Welsh has been studied by Elena Parina, and Breton was studied by Anna Muradova. The group has become the main center in Russia for studying these languages and represents Russian Anatolian and Celtic studies world wide. The Anatolian part of the group often takes part in conferences devoted to problems of Hittitology: International Hittitological Congress (Rome 2005, Çщкгь 2008, Warsaw 2011) and Rencontre Assyriologique (Moscow 2007, Rome 2011). As for the Celtic specialists, they participated in the International Congresses of Celtic Studies (Cork 1999, Aberystwyth 2003, Bonn 2007, Maynooth 2011) as well as in the activities of the scientific organization Celto-Slavica. Since its establishment in 2004 by Victor Kalygin and Séamus Mac Mathúna, 5 colloquiums have taken place, including one in Moscow in 2006. Representatives of the group actively collaborate with their colleagues from foreign universities (Ulster University, University of Rennes 2).
Every scholar of the group is an independent researcher, which encourages the emergence of joint projects within the group and outside of it.
Every member follows the scientific paradigm of Victor Kalygin and Andrey Korolev that focuses on three things: 1) philological aspect of linguistics, 2) history of language, 3) complex approach to ancient and modern languages of the Indo-European languages in all manifestations.
Obviously, the closest cooperation occurs within language groups.
For example, Alexey Kassian and Andrei Sideltsev collaborated on writing a section 'Hittite' for a collective monograph 'Languages of the World', and they were also engaged in organizing the work on Anatolian part of the monograph. Earlier on, they had edited the collection of papers in memory of Andrey Korolev, and together with their teacher they wrote a monograph 'The Funeral Ritual' (2002).
Close cooperation occurs within the framework of Celtology. Students of Victor Kalygin and Andrey Korolev treat their scientific heritage with care, and in 2005 prepared extensive additions to the second edition of their book 'Introduction to Celtic philology'.
Vast majority of the section's staff (Tatyana Mikhailova, Anna Muradova, Andrei Sideltsev) took part in a project about spells and oral tradition.
The specific nature of the languages studied in the section (Anatolian languages are now extinct, and many of the Celtic languages are on the verge of extinction) defines the integrity of the research programme. Anna Muradova investigated the suppression of the Breton language using sociolinguistic methods. Lately Andrei Sideltsev has been studying the pragmatics and syntax of an extinct language on the example of Hittite.
Members of the section carry out research of the same type of phenomena in languages of different areas. For instance, Elena Parina and Andrei Sideltsev wrote a series of articles on clitic doubling in Celtic and Anatolian languages, thus contributing both to the general diachronic typology and to the intragenetic typology of Indo-European languages.
Alexey Kassian and Tatyana Mikhailova do research in etymology of Celtic and Anatolian languages, as well as of languages from a much broader Anatolian language union. Their research also includes the perspective of macro-comparative studies.
Elena Parina, Victor Bayda, and Andrei Sideltsev held a conference in honor of Tatyana Mikhailova's anniversary and released a collection of materials from the conference.
Part of research projects of the section are closely connected with the projects of the Department of Indo-European languages. For instance, Tatyana Mikhailova, Anna Muradova, and Elena Parina have been participating in various projects within programmes of Historical and Philological Studies Department of RAS, under the direction of Dr.habil. Chelysheva, the Department Head.
Members of the section actively collaborate with prominent universities of Moscow. Tatyana Mikhailova, Elena Parina, and Anna Muradova have been teaching Celtology courses at the Faculty of Philology at MSU and in the Institute of Linguistics at RSUH. Alexey Kassian used to teach a course of Hittite in the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies at RSUH. Andrei Sideltsev collaborated with the Faculty of History of MSU and consulted doctoral students specializing in Hittite history. He also worked for Insitute for Modern Linguistic Research under the direction of Anton Zimmerling at the Sholokhov Moscow State University for Humanities. Now he works at the Institute of Linguistics at RSUH. Together with professor Ekaterina Lyutikova from the Division of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at MSU, Andrey Sideltsev is carrying out a large-scale project to study grammar of the Hittite language in a formal theoretical perspective. Teaching activities continue to take place at the Institute itself. Maria Shkapa had a PhD thesis defense and got a postgraduate degree.
The section has a permanent Celtic-Anatolian seminar, which is the main platform for presentations on Anatolian and Celtic languages. Not only the members of the section take part in the seminar, but also their colleagues from other prominent universities of Moscow, as well as students and postgraduates who specialize in Anatolian and Celtic studies. You can find the archive of seminar news here.
- A.Korolev, V.Kalygin. Vvedenie v kel'tskuju filologiju [Introduction to Celtic philology]. Изд. 2-е. Moscow, 2005.
- V.Kalygin. Ètimologičeskij slovar' kel'tskix teonimov [Etymological dictionary of Celtic theonyms]. Moscow, 2006.
- A. Muradova. Kel'ty anfas i v profil' [Full-face and side-profile of the Celts]. Moscow, 2010.
- T.Mikhailova. Drevneirlandskij jazyk: kratkij očerk [Old Irish: a brief outline]. Мoscow, 2010.
- A.Sideltsev. Sintaksis prostogo predloženija v xettskom jazyke [Syntax of a simple sentence in Hittite]. Moscow, 2017. ISBN 978-5-9500661-1-5, 400 p.
- Slovo, znanie i učenie. Focal, fios agus foghlaim. Sbornik statej v čest' jubileja Tat'jany Andrejevny Mixajlovoj [Word, Knowledge, and Learning. Focal, fios agus foghlaim. A collection of articles in honor of Tatyana Mikhailova's anniversary] Moscow, 2020, 260 p.