#2792. Webster の発音への影響[pronunciation][ame][webster]


 Noah Webster (1758--1843) が,イギリス綴字とは異なるものとして,いくつかの単語でアメリカ綴字を提案したことはよく知られている.しかし,綴字教本の出版を通じて,間接的にアメリカ英語の発音にも影響を与えた可能性があるということは,あまり注目されない.Baugh and Cable (361) は,"Webster's Influence on American Pronunciation" という節を設けて,この点について議論している.

Though the influence is more difficult to prove, there can be no doubt that to Webster are to be attributed some of the characteristics of American pronunciation, especially its uniformity and the disposition to give fuller value to the unaccented syllables of words. Certainly he was interested in the improvement of American pronunciation and intended that his books should serve that purpose. In the first part of his Grammatical Institute, which became the American Spelling Book, he says that the system "is designed to introduce uniformity and accuracy of pronunciation into common schools."

 Webster の発音への影響とは,具体的には,上の引用文にあるように,多音節語における強勢のない音節の母音を完全な音価で明瞭に発音するというアメリカ発音の傾向に関するものである.例えば necessary, secretary はイギリス英語では典型的に necess'ry, secret'ry のように発音されて音節が縮まるが,アメリカ英語では当該の母音が完全な音価値で明瞭に発音される.関連して,アメリカ英語の centénary, labóratory, advértisement にみられる強勢位置も特徴的である.
 このような傾向は,単語を構成する各々の音節は明確に発音すべきである,というアメリカ的な教育的指導の結果と考えられ,その教育の現場で大きく貢献したのが Webster の The American Spelling Book (1783) だったというわけだ.以下は,18世紀末の当時,何千というアメリカの学校でみられたはずの授業風景の記述である.Baugh and Cable (362) が,Letter to Henry Barnard, December 10, 1860 より引いている文章である.

It was the custom for all such pupils [those who were sufficiently advanced to pronounce distinctly words of more than one syllable] to stand together as one class, and with one voice to read a column or two of the tables for spelling. The master gave the signal to begin, and all united to read, letter by letter, pronouncing each syllable by itself, and adding to it the preceding one till the word was complete. Thus a-d ad, m-i mi, admi, r-a ra, admira, t-i-o-n shun, admiration. This mode of reading was exceedingly exciting, and, in my humble judgment, exceedingly useful; as it required and taught deliberate and distinct articulation. . . . When the lesson had been thus read, the books were closed, and the words given out for spelling. If one was misspelt, it passed on to the next, and the next pupil in order, and so on till it was spelt correctly. Then the pupil who had spelt correctly went up in the class above the one who had misspelt. . . . Another of our customs was to choose sides to spell once or twice a week. . . . [The losing side] had to sweep the room and build the fires the next morning. These customs, prevalent sixty and seventy years ago, excited emulation, and emulation produced improvement.

 この教室風景については,「#907. 母音の前の the の規範的発音」 ([2011-10-21-1]) でも関連する話題に触れているので,参考までに.

 ・ Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 6th ed. London: Routledge, 2013.

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