#4719. 歴史言語学の観点からみる方言学とは?[dialectology][historical_linguistics][variation][variety][hel][language_change]


 方言学 (dialectology) と聞けば,ある言語の諸地域方言について調査し,それぞれの特徴を整理して示す分野なのだろうと思われるだろう.もちろん,それは事実なのだが,それだけではない.まず,「方言」には地域方言 (regional dialect) だけではなく社会方言 (social dialect) というものもある.また,私自身のように歴史言語学の観点からみる方言学は,さらに時間という動的なパラメータも考慮することになる.より具体的にいって英語史と方言学を掛け合わせたいと考えるならば,少なくとも空間,時間,社会という3つのパラメータが関与するのだ.
 この話題について「#4168. 言語の時代区分や方言区分はフィクションである」 ([2020-09-24-1]) で論じたが,そこで引用した Laing and Lass の論考を改めて読みなおし,もっと長く引用すべきだったと悟った."On Dialectology" (417) という冒頭の1節だが,上記の事情がうまく表現されている.

There are no such things as dialects. Or rather, "a dialect" does not exist as a discrete entity. Attempts to delimit a dialect by topographical, political or administrative boundaries ignore the obvious fact that within any such boundaries there will be variation for some features, while other variants will cross the borders. Similar oversimplification arises from those purely linguistic definitions that adopt a single feature to characterize a large regional complex, e.g. [f] for <wh-> in present day Northeast Scotland or [e(:)] in "Old Kentish" for what elsewhere in Old English was represented as [y(:)]. Such definitions merely reify taxonomic conventions. A dialect atlas in fact displays a continuum of overlapping distributions in which the "isoglosses" delimiting dialectal features vary from map to map and "the areal transition between one dialect type and another is graded, not discrete" (Benskin 1994: 169--73).
   To the non-dialectologist, the term "dialectology" usually suggests static displays of dots on regional maps, indicating the distribution of phonological, morphological, or lexical features. The dialectology considered here will, of course, include such items; but this is just a small part of our subject matter. Space is only one dimension of dialectology. Spatial distribution is normally a function of change over time projected on a geographical landscape. But change over time involves operations within speech communities; this introduces a third dimension --- human interactions and the intricacies of language use. Dialectology therefore operates on three planes: space, time, and social milieu.


 ・ Laing, M. and R. Lass. "Early Middle English Dialectology: Problems and Prospects." Handbook of the History of English. Ed. A. van Kemenade and Los B. L. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 417--51.
 ・ Benskin, M. "Descriptions of Dialect and Areal Distributions." Speaking in Our tongues: Medieval Dialectology and Related Disciplines. Ed. M. Laing and K. Williamson. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1994. 169--87.

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