#4609. 英語史における標準語信仰と古代純粋語信仰[historiography][linguistic_ideology][language_myth]


 英語史に関する神話については,最近も「#4604. 伝統的な英語史記述の2つの前提 --- ゲルマン系由来と標準英語重視」 ([2021-12-04-1]),「#4605. 規範英文法ならぬ規範英語史」 ([2021-12-05-1]) などで考えてきた.内容としてはそれらの繰り返しでもあるのだが,Milroy が指摘している2つの重要な神話,すなわち「標準語信仰」と「古代純粋語信仰」について改めて考えてみたい.
 まず,Milroy (25) より「標準語信仰」について.

. . . the typical history has been influenced by, and sometimes driven by, certain ideological positions. The first of these implicitly suggests that the language is not the possession of all its native speakers, but only of the elite and the highly literate, and that much of the evidence of history can be argued away as error or corruption. The effect of this is to focus on what is alleged to be the standard language, but this is actually the language of those who have prestige in society, which may not always be a standard in the full sense. Of course, it may often be the same as the standard language, but this elitism can also mislead us into believing that speech communities are far less complex than they actually are and that the history of the language is very narrowly unilinear. We need a more realistic history than this.

 次に,Milroy (25--26) より「古代純粋語信仰」について.

The second position can be briefly characterised as an ideology of nationhood and sometimes race. This ideology requires that the language should be ancient, that its development should have been continuous and uninterrupted, that important changes should have arisen internally within this language and not substantially through language contact, and that the language should therefore be a pure or unmixed language. I have tried to show that much of the history of English is traditionally presented within this broad framework of belief. The problem, I have suggested, is that, prima facie, English as a language does not seem to fit in well with these requirements. For that reason much ingenuity has been expended on proving that what does not seem to be so actually is so: Anglo-Saxon is English, the development of English has been uninterrupted and the language is not mixed. The most recent strong defence of this position --- by Thomason and Kaufman (1988) --- is merely the latest in a long line. It demonstrates that this system of belief is --- for better or worse --- still operative in the historical description of English.

 しかし,1点気になることがある.最初の引用で Milroy が,否定的な文脈ではあるものの,"the language is not the possession of all its native speakers" と述べ,言語が母語話者の所有物という点を前提としている点だ.確かにたいていの言語はその母語話者の生活に最も多く寄与するものであり,まずもって母語話者の所有物であるという見解は一見すると妥当のように思われる.しかし,現代の英語のようなリンガ・フランカについて語る文脈にあっては,母語話者だけの所有物であることを前提としてよいのだろうか.非母語話者を含めた英語話者全体の所有物であるという発想は浮かばなかったのだろうか.Milroy は伝統的な英語史がエリートや知識人だけの英語を扱ってきたことを非難しているが,Milroy の英語史観とて,母語話者だけの英語を扱うことを前提としているかのように聞こえ,違和感が残る.

 ・ Milroy, Jim. "The Legitimate Language: Giving a History to English." Chapter 1 of Alternative Histories of English. Ed. Richard Watts and Peter Trudgill. Abingdon: Routledge, 2002. 7--25.
 ・ Thomason, Sarah Grey and Terrence Kaufman. Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988.

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