#2905. Benjamin Franklin に影響を受けた Noah Webster[spelling_reform][spelling_pronunciation_gap][webster][franklin][ame][orthography]


 昨日の記事「#2904. 英語史における Benjamin Franklin の役割」 ([2017-04-09-1]) に引き続き,Benjamin Franklin の話題.Franklin が綴字改革運動に関連して Noah Webster に影響を及ぼした旨にを述べたが,これについては Baugh and Cable (359--60) の記述が優れている.

Spelling reform was one of the innumerable things that Franklin took an interest in. In 1768, he devised A Scheme for a New Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling and went so far as to have a special font of type cut for the purpose of putting it into effect. Years later, he tried to interest Webster in his plan but without success. According to the latter, "Dr. Franklin never pretended to be a man of erudition---he was self-educated; and he wished to reform the orthography of our language, by introducing new characters. He invited me to Philadelphia to aid in the work; but I differed from him in opinion. I think the introduction of new characters neither practicable, necessary nor expedient." Indeed, Webster was not in the beginning sympathetic to spelling reform. . . . But, by 1789, Franklin's influence had begun to have its effect. In the Dissertations on the English Language, published in that year, Webster admitted: "I once believed that a reformation of our orthography would be unnecessary and impracticable. This opinion was hasty; being the result of a slight examination of the subject. I now believe with Dr. Franklin that such a reformation is practicable and highly necessary."

 結果としてみれば,Webster の心変わりは,英語史上非常に稀な綴字改革の成功をもたらした.成功とはいっても,綴字体系が大きく変化したわけではなく,せいぜいマイナーチェンジと呼ぶべきものだったわけだが,その水準での改革ですら,それまではほとんど達成されたことがなかったのである.こうして,Webster は(英語教育史上のみならず)英語史上にも名前を残すことになった.Franklin の「親父の小言」が,冷酒のように後から利いてきたという経緯に,当時の若きアメリカとそこに生きた Webster のエネルギーを感じざるを得ない.

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

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