#3608. 中英語における <u> の <o> による代用 (4)[spelling][orthography][minim][vowel][spelling_pronunciation_gap][eme][me_dialect][lexical_diffusion]


 昨日の記事 ([2019-03-13-1]) に引き続いての話題.中英語における <u> と <o> の分布を111のテキストにより調査した Wełna (317) は,結論として以下のように述べている.

. . . the examination of the above corpus data has shown a lack of any consistent universal rule replacing <u> with <o> in the graphically obscure contexts of the postvocalic graphemes <m, n>. Even words with identical roots, like the forms of the lemmas SUN (OE sunne), SUMMER (OE sumor) and SON (OE sunu), SOME (OE sum) which showed a similar distribution of <u/o> spellings in most Middle English dialects, eventually (and unpredictably) have retained either the original spelling <u> (sun) or the modified spelling <o> (son). In brief, each word under discussion modified its spelling at a different time and in different regions in a development which closely resembles the circumstances of lexical diffusion.

 このように奥歯に物が挟まったような結論なのだが,Wełna は時代と方言の観点から次の傾向を指摘している.

. . . o-spellings first emerged in the latter half of the 12th century in the (South-)West (honi "honey" . . .). Later, a tendency to use the new spelling <o> is best documented in London and in the North.

 Wełna 本人も述べているように,調査の対象としたレンマは HUNDRED, HUNGER, HONEY, NUN, SOME, SUMMER, SUN, SON の8つにすぎず,ここから一般的な結論を引き出すのは難しいのかもしれない.さらなる研究が必要のようだ.

 ・ Wełna, Jerzy. "<U> or <O>: A Dilemma of the Middle English Scribal Practice." Contact, Variation, and Change in the History of English. Ed. Simone E. Pfenninger, Olga Timofeeva, Anne-Christine Gardner, Alpo Honkapohja, Marianne Hundt and Daniel Schreier. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 2014. 305--23.

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