#297. 印刷術の導入は英語の標準化を推進したか否か[caxton][printing][spelling][standardisation][german]


 [2009-12-24-1]の記事で,15世紀後半に Caxton が England に印刷術をもたらした経緯について述べた.一般に,この印刷術の導入は,15世紀前半から徐々に進行していた英語の綴字の標準化を推進したとして解釈されている.英語史の古典の一つというべき Baugh and Cable は,印刷術の影響を次のように評価している.

A powerful force thus existed for promoting a standard, uniform language, and the means were now available for spreading that language throughout the territory in which it was understood. (Baugh and Cable 201)

 しかし,Caxton による印刷術の導入がすぐに綴字の標準化に貢献したかどうかは疑わしいという慎重論も出てきている.

The introduction of the press did not at first assist the adoption of the standard, but over time compositors became more familiar with it and helped to ensure its triumph. (Blake 205 as cited in Horobin 79)

. . . while the advent of the printing press was an important factor for the standardisation of written English, this was a gradual process which even by the close of the fifteenth century still remained unfinished. (Horobin 87)

 さらに,印刷術はむしろまだ残っていた綴字の variation を国中に広める役割を果たし,標準化に逆行する流れを生み出した,とする意見すらある.

. . . it is an irony in the history of the development of the standard that the orthography of early printing represented a backward step when compared with the established conventions of chancery English. (Görlach 24 as cited in Horobin 79)


The inflectional system remained unstable during the following Early New High German period. One of the major factors for the instability was ironically the growing standardisation of written language. To quote R. Keller, "the growth of a written standard language spread regional features to other areas and by making them supra-regional increased variation and thus morphological confusion" (German 410) (Hotta 27)

 英語の場合,上記いずれの意見が正しいかは,Caxton や初期の印刷事業者の spelling の使い方を詳細に分析してみるところから始めなければ明らかにならないだろう.この議論は,一つの文化史上の出来事に対して様々な評価が可能であることを示す例として興味深い.

 ・Horobin, Simon. The Language of the Chaucer Tradition. Cambridge: Brewer, 2003.
 ・Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 5th ed. London: Routledge, 2002.
 ・Blake, N. F. A History of the English Language. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996.
 ・Görlach, M. Studies in the History of the English Language. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1990.
 ・Hotta, Ryuichi. The Development of the Nominal Plural Forms in Early Middle English. Hituzi Linguistics in English 10. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo, 2009.
 ・Keller, R. E. The German Language. London: Faber, 1978.

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