#2714. 大母音推移の社会音韻論的考察[gvs][sociolinguistics][vowel][diphthong]


 大母音推移 (gvs) がいかにして始まり,進行したかは,長らく熱い議論の対象となってきたが,近年は,社会言語学の立場から音韻変化を研究する社会音韻論を用いた説明がはやりのようである.説明自体は込み入っているが,Gramley (134) の英語史概説書に短めに要約されているので,引用しよう.

A second socially more plausible scenario attributes initiation of the shift to the fact that London English originally had four long front vowels . . . . The lower classes in London were merging meat /ɛː/ and meet /eː/ into the higher vowel /eː/. The socially higher standing may then have raised their /eː/ toward /iː/ and their /oː/ toward /uː/, possibly following the model of French, which was also raising these vowels. But in any case the effect was to set themselves off from the lower orders . . . . In addition, newcomers in London such as the East Anglian cloth-traders migrating to London in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had only three long front vowels: they did not distinguish /ɛː/ and /eː/. In their move to accommodate to London speech they would have raised and differentiated their mid-vowel, making London /ɛː/ into /eː/ and London /eː/ into /iː/ . . . .

 異なる社会集団の話す異なる変種がロンドンという地で接触し,集団間の離反や近接という複雑な社会心理的動機づけにより,再編成された,というシナリオである.現代と異なり,過去の社会言語学的状況を復元するのは難しいため,歴史社会音韻論にはいかに説明力を確保するかという大きな課題がついて回る.しかし,近年,様々な論者がこの見解を支持するようになってきている.Fennell (160--61) や,さらに詳しくは Smith の2著の該当章も参照されたい.

 ・ Gramley, Stephan. The History of English: An Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge, 2012.
 ・ Fennell, Barbara A. A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.
 ・ Smith, Jeremy J. Sound Change and the History of English. Oxford: OUP, 2007.
 ・ Smith, Jeremy J. An Historical Study of English: Function, Form and Change. London: Routledge, 1996.

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