#5082. 語源的綴字の1文字挿入は植字工の懐を肥やすため?[etymological_respelling][emode][printing]


 Cordorelli による初期近代英語期の綴字に関する新刊の研究書を読んでいる.そこでは語源的綴字 (etymological_respelling) の問題も詳しく論じられているのだが,興味深い説が提示されている.語源的綴字の多くの例は,dout に対する doubtreceit に対する receipt のように1文字長くなることが多い.労働時間ではなく植字文字数(より正確には文字幅の総量)で賃金を支払われるようになった16世紀の植字工は,文字数,すなわち稼ぎを増やすために,より長くなりがちな語源的綴字のほうを選んだのではないかという.もちろん文字数を水増しする方法は他にもいろいろあったと思われるが,語源的綴字もそのうちの1つだったのではないか,という議論だ.Cordorelli (184--85) の説明を引用する.

With regard to remuneration, large-scale etymological developments were initially prompted, I suggest, by a change in the economic organisation of the printing labour. From the turn of the sixteenth century, the mode of remuneration changed in accordance with the pressures exerted by modernisation: printers no longer received time-based wages, but were generally paid according to their output . . . . For typesetters, wages were set taking into account the kind of printing form, the publication format, the typefaces and the languages that were used in the texts . . . . As a result of a first move towards a performance-based pay, compositors' output also began to be measured, rather roughly, by the page or by the sheet; later, a more accurate measurement by ens was adopted. One en corresponded to half an em of any size of type, and the number of ens in a setting of type was proportional to the number of pieces of type used in it . . . . With compositors' output being measured by page first, and by ens later, typesetters became increasingly more prone to using as many types as possible when composing a book, while also having to make sure that the overall meaning of the text would not be corrupted by this practice. As a rule, the more types were used on a given page, the more ens were likely to result, which in turn meant that compositors would be paid a higher rate for a given project. Making the most of each typesetting project was more important than one might think, especially during the first half of the sixteenth century, when the English printing industry was still growing on unstable economic ground . . . . The flow of jobs that characterised most staff roles in the EModE printing industry was variable and often irregular for everyone, especially for compositors. The irregularity of the market could keep compositors short of work for long periods of time, and forced them either into part-time employment with another printer or even into joining the vast reservoir of employed labour . . . .

 Cordorelli (185) 自身による要約となる1文も引用しておきたい.

From this point of view, etymological spelling would have worked as a convenient means to increase average pay, to such an extent that printers evidently compromised linguistic correctness with personal profit, accepting or perhaps even enforcing the diffusion of 'false' etymological spellings like phantasy and aunswar.

 ・ Cordorelli, Marco. Standardising English Spelling: The Role of Printing in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Graphemic Developments. Cambridge: CUP, 2022.

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