#4934. 英語綴字の(不)規則性の考え方[spelling][orthography][writing][spelling_pronunciation_gap][methodology]


 この問題について Crystal (284) が興味深い解説を与えている.

Regularity implies the existence of a rule which can generate large numbers of words correctly. A rule which works for 500 words is plainly regular; one which works for 100 much less so; and for 50, or 20, or 10, or 5 it becomes progressively less plausible to call it a 'rule' at all. Clearly, there is no easy way of deciding when the regularity of a rule begins. It has been estimated that only about 3 per cent of everyday English words are so irregular that they would have to be learned completely by heart, and that over 80 per cent are spelled according to regular patterns. That leaves some 15 per cent of cases where we could argue the status of their regularity. But given such statistics, the chief conclusion must be that we should not exaggerate the size of the problem, as some supporters of reform are prone to do. Nor minimize it either, for a great deal of confusion is caused by that 3--15 per cent, and some 2 per cent of the literate population never manage to resolve it . . . .


 ・ Crystal, D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. 3rd ed. CUP, 2018.

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