#4109. boil, loin, point --- 中英語 ui から綴字発音へ[diphthong][vowel][centralisation][phoneme][french][anglo-norman][spelling_pronunciation]


 昨日の記事「#4108. boy, join, loiter --- 外来の2重母音の周辺的性格」 ([2020-07-26-1]) で触れたように,2重母音 /ɔɪ/ は歴史的に注目すべき背景を有している.この話題について,もう少し掘り下げてみたい.
 現代英語の /ɔɪ/ に連なる中英語での実現形は, [oi] あるいは [ui] だった.これらが結果的に現代の /ɔɪ/ へ一本化していったわけだが,特に中英語 [ui] についてはスペリングとの関係でも興味深い歴史的背景がある.Minkova (269--70) を引用しよう.

The original [ui] has an unusual history in that, like the more recent history of /h-/ . . . , it is one of the rare well-documented instances of a sound change in progress inhibited and partially reversed by the influence of spelling. Many of the words with PDE <oi> --- loin, boil, coy, oil, join, point, choice, poison --- had variant pronunciations with [oi] and [ui], the latter commonly from Anglo-Norman. The 'normal' development of [ui], involving lowering and centralisation of the first element of the diphthong . . . , was towards [əi], which in the seventeenth and into the eighteenth century was also a possible realisation of historical [iː]. That the two etymologically distinct entities were treated as identical is shown by rhymes like loin: line, boil: bile, point: pint as late as the second half of the eighteenth century. In spelling the [ui] > [əi] words alternated between <ui> and <oi>. Eventually the centralised pronunciation [əi] for historical [ui] was abandoned in favour of [ɔi], no doubt supported by the spelling and pronunciation of the majority of the loanwords in that group.

 中英語 [ui] は通常の音変化のルートに乗っていれば,近代では [əi] となっていたはずであり,実際にそうなっていたのだが,後期近代以降,綴字が <oi> として保たれていたこと,そして <oi> ≡ [ɔi] が多くの単語において確立していたことから,ある種の人為的な [əi] > [ɔi] という変化が生み出されたという.要するに,綴字発音 (spelling_pronunciation) の例である.

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