#2350. Prioress の Anglo-French の地位はそれほど低くなかった[anglo-norman][popular_passage][chaucer][sociolinguistics][contact]


 昨日の記事「#2349. 英語の復権期にフランス借用語が爆発したのはなぜか (2)」 ([2015-10-02-1]) で引用した Rothwell の論文では,標記の話題が扱われている.よく知られているように,The Canterbury TalesThe General Prologue (ll. 124--26) では,Prioress がイングランド訛りのフランス語 (Anglo-French, or Anglo-Norman) を話す人物として紹介される.

And Frensch she spak ful faire and fetisly,
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
For Frensch of Parys was to hire unknowe.

 伝統的に,このくだりは,正統なパリのフランス語を習得せず,洗練されていないイングランド訛りのフランス語のみを話す「田舎者」の気味を描写したもの解釈されることが多い.とすると,ful faire and fetisly には,正統なフランス語の使い手である Chaucer の視点からみて,ある種の皮肉が混じっていることになる.
 しかし,Rothwell は,この Prioress にしても,彼女の話すイングランドのフランス語変種にしても,言われるほど地位が低かったわけではないと擁護する.議論は2点ある.

 (1) 当時,パリの中央方言の威信が高まり,相対的に他のフランス語変種が低く見られるようになってきたのは事実である.しかし,この方言蔑視は Anglo-French に限らず,フランス国内の諸変種についても同様にあったのであり,Anglo-French がとりわけ軽視されたわけではない.Rothwell 曰く,

As far as continental French is concerned, it is important to recognize at the outset that disparagement and unfavourable comparison with the dialect of the Paris region --- francien --- were not confined to Anglo-Norman but were also the lot of outlying dialects of the continental mainland. Within the bounds of what is now northern France and Belgium dialectal variations were frowned upon as soon as a strong literary tradition began to develop in the Ile-de-France. (40--41)

Chaucer's quip at the expense of his Prioress is to be regarded then as a small reflection of the general movement towards the standardization of the French language that originated in Paris before the end of the twelfth century, a movement whose aim of making the language of the capital the norm for eventually the whole of France was to involve not only the subordination of the vigorous northern dialects, but also the eclipse of the brilliant literary civilization of Provence, built around the langue d'oc. (41--42)

 (2) むしろ,フランスの諸変種に比べて Anglo-French はイングランドという独立国によって書き言葉としてある程度制度化されていたのであり,イングランド内では社会的地位を保っていた.語彙や文法の面でも十分に「立派な」変種だったのであり,中央フランス語母語話者にとっても理解不能なフランス語の「崩れ」などではなかった.

It must be emphasized . . . that the general level of competence in most of the Anglo-Norman works that have come down to us is remarkably high, if judged not only by the accurate use of vocabulary, but in the far more searching test represented by the handling of syntax. (42)

There is no suggestion that the living French of England was unable to express with complete adequacy any of the ideas, objects, and shades of meaning required by the civilization it served. In fact, if we are to judge simply from material provided by the standard dictionaries of medieval French, it would appear that in certain technical areas such as the law, Anglo-Norman may well have been more highly developed at an earlier stage than the corresponding language on the continent. (43)

 結論として,Rothwell は,Anglo-French がしばしば言われるよりも,パリのフランス語から独立 (autonomous) していたことを主張し,中世英語英文学の研究においてもそのようなものとして再評価されるべきだと論じる.

Insular French, then, was for some considerable time after the Conquest no more than a normal and accepted part of French culture, but had gradually and imperceptibly moved into a position of increasing eccentricity by the time we reach the age of Chaucer. Yet it may perhaps be a mistake to view this apparently aberrant offshoot of French as no more than a failed and vanished imitation of francien. . . . [T]he standing of Anglo-French may well improve once it is viewed not as a peripheral dialect, the inferior linguistic medium of a transplanted culture, destined to disappear after a few centuries, but as an efficient vehicle of a highly-developed civilization, a language that did not really disappear but was absorbed into English, transforming the latter in the process. (45)

 ・ Rothwell, W. "Stratford atte Bowe and Paris." Modern Language Review 80 (1985): 39--54.

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