#3644. 現代英語は stress-timed な言語だが,古英語は syllable-timed な言語?[prosody][phonology][stress][vowel][typology][syllable][poetry]


 「#1647. 言語における韻律的特徴の種類と機能」 ([2013-10-30-1]) でみたように,英語は stress-timed なリズム,日本語は syllable-timed (or mora-timed) なリズムをもつ言語といわれる.前者は強勢が等間隔で繰り返されるリズムで,後者は音節(モーラ)が等間隔で繰り返されるリズムである.英語に近隣の言語でいえばドイツ語は stress-timed で,フランス語やスペイン語は syllable-timed である.
 英語に関していえば,ある見方からは確かに変化してきたといえる.現代英語の stress-timed リズムの基盤にあるのは曖昧母音 /ə/ の存在である.強勢のある明確な音価と音量をもつ母音と,弱く短く発音される曖昧母音とが共存しているために,前者を核とした韻律の単位が定期的に繰り返されることになるのだ.しかし,古英語では曖昧母音が存在しなかったので,stress-timed リズムを成立させる基盤が弱かったことになる.古英語はむしろ syllable-timed リズムに近かったともいえるのである.Cable (23--24) の議論を聞こう.

To begin with, Old English did not have reduced vowels. The extensive system of inflectional endings depended on the full values of the short vowels, especially [ɑ], [ɛ], [u], and [ɔ]; and in polysyllabic words these and other short vowels were not reduced to schwa. The surprising effect is that in its lack of reduced vowels Old English can be said to have similarities with the phonological structure of a syllable-based language like Spanish. In this respect, both Old English and Spanish differ from Late Middle English and Modern English. Consequently, Old English can be hypothesized to have more of the suprasegmental structure of syllable-based languages---that is, the impression of syllable-timing---despite our thinking of Old English as thoroughly Germanic and heavily stressed.

 Cable は,古英語が完全な syllable-timed な言語だと言っているわけではない.強勢ベースのリズムの要素もあるし,音節ベースのそれもあるとして,混合的なリズムだと考えている.上の節に続く文章も引用しておこう.

These deductions and hypotheses from theoretical and experimental phonology are supported in the most recent studies of the meter of Old English poems. Beowulf has never been thought of as a poem in syllabic meter. Yet the most coherent way to imagine Old English meter is as a precisely measured mix of "accentual" elements (as the meter has traditionally been understood), "syllabic" elements (which may seem more appropriate for French verse), and "quantitative" elements (which are most familiar in Greek and Latin). (Cable 24)

 ・ Cable, Thomas. "Restoring Rhythm." Chapter 3 of Approaches to Teaching the History of the English Language: Pedagogy in Practice. Introduction. Ed. Mary Heyes and Allison Burkette. Oxford: OUP, 2017. 21--28.

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