#4881. 書記体系を広く見渡した上での結論5点[writing][spelling]


 Sampson による書記体系に関する著書の最後の2ページで,同著で繰り返し議論されてきた一般的なテーマとして5点が挙げられている.書記体系を広く見渡した上での結論らしきものといってよいだろう.それぞれを抜粋して紹介する.

First, scripts are diverse. . . . A logographic script really is a different kind of thing from an alphabetic script, and syllabic scripts are different again. (265)


Second, spoken languages are diverse, and sometimes scripts differ because different kinds of writing suit different kinds of language. Logographic writing works well for Chinese, where morphemes are clearly separate in the spoken language. It would be much harder to adapt to a "synthetic" language such as the European classical languages, where it is difficult to decide just what morphemes an inflected word includes. Syllabic writing is a natural approach for a language whose syllables are mainly of the CV type, but the Linear B example shows that it is not easy to make it work for a language with a more complicated phonological structure. Vowel-less writing works for Semitic languages, but would work less well for European languages. (265)


This second point should not be pressed too far. I do not suggest that differences between script types are always explainable in terms of difference between the spoken languages they record. . . . Many properties of scripts result from external historical causes unrelated to language structure. (265--66)


Finally, contrary to what is often supposed, the history of writing systems does not support the assumption that the ideal script for a language is one that records speech sounds with perfect fidelity. (266)


And, as one implication, English spelling may suit English-speaking societies better than is often supposed. (266)


 ・ Sampson, Geoffrey. Writing Systems. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Equinox, 2015.

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