#1386. 近代英語以降に確立してきた標準綴字体系の特徴[spelling][grammatology][orthography][etymological_respelling][standardisation][loan_word][latin][greek]


 「#1332. 中英語と近代英語の綴字体系の本質的な差」 ([2012-12-19-1]) で略述したように,近代英語の綴字体系の大きな特徴は,より logographic だということだ.語や形態素を一定の綴字で表わすことを目指しており,その内部における表音性は多かれ少なかれ犠牲にしている.これは特徴というよりは緩やかな傾向と呼ぶべきものかもしれないが,的確な記述である.Brengelman (346) は,この特徴なり傾向なりを,さらに的確に表現している.

The specific characteristics of the theory of English spelling which finally emerged were the following: Each morpheme ought to have a consistent, preferably etymological spelling. Each morpheme ought to be spelled phonemically according to its most fully stressed and fully articulated pronunciation (thus n in autumn and damn, d in advance and adventure), and the etymology ought to be indicated in conventional ways (by ch, ps, ph, etc. in Greek words; by writing complexion---not complection---because the word comes from Latin complexus).

 要するに,形態素レベルでは主として語源形を参照して一貫した表記を目指し,音素レベルでは (1) 明瞭な発音に対応させるという方針と,(2) 語源を明らかにするための慣習に従うという方針,に沿った表記を目指す,ということである.近現代の綴字体系の特徴をよくとらえた要約ではないだろうか.
 興味深いことに,上の方針が最もよく反映されているのは,長くて堅苦しい借用語である.逆にいえば,初期近代英語期にラテン語やギリシア語からの借用語が増加したという背景があったからこそ,上の特徴が発生してきたということかもしれない.この点に関連して,Brengelman の2つの記述を読んでみよう.

Of all the improvements on English spelling made by the seventeenth-century orthographers, none was more important than their decision to spell the English words of Latin origin in a consistent way. Schoolmasters explained the process as showing the historical derivation of the words, but it did more than this: it showed their morphology. It is this development which makes possible a curious fact about English spelling: the longer and more bookish a word is, the easier it is to spell. No rules would lead a foreigner to spellings such as build or one, but he should easily spell verification or multiplicity. (350)

[E]nglish spelling began to be increasingly ideographic as early as the fourteenth century, and by the sixteenth, when the majority of readers and writers knew Latin, understanding was actually enhanced by Latinate spellings . . . . (351)


 ・ Brengelman, F. H. "Orthoepists, Printers, and the Rationalization of English Spelling." JEGP 79 (1980): 332--54.

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