This article argues that documentary linguistics’ focus on ‘direct representation of discourse’ requires a broader conceptualization of the field that moves beyond purely linguistic concerns. This article recasts documentary linguistics as a philology, broadly understood as the inquiry into ‘the multifaceted study of texts, languages, and the phenomenon of language itself’ (Turner 2014: ix). The article explores three areas of connection between documentary linguistics and various philological endeavors, namely textual constitution through commentary as relevant to audio-visual language documents, immersive and aesthetic experience of language events performed in an archive, and memory production. The paper touches upon a conception of text which focuses on the interdependency with its commentary, it touches upon the aesthetic qualities of ‘raw data’, and it touches upon the archive as the repository of passive cultural memory. The reconceptualization of documentary linguistics described in this article opens documentary linguistics to non-core linguistic types of language documentation efforts and situates the documentary activities more broadly in the humanistic enterprise of communicating, discussing, studying, and understand human achievements of other times and places.