昨日の記事 ([2015-10-27-1]) に引き続き，英語史研究上の Anglo-French の再評価についての話題．Rothwell は，英語語彙や中世英語文化の研究において，Anglo-French の役割をもっと重視しなければならないと力説する．研究道具としての MED の限界にも言い及ぶなど，中世英語の文献学者に意識改革を迫る主張が何度も繰り返される．フランス語彙の「借用」 (borrowing) という概念にも変革を迫っており，傾聴に値する．いくつか文章を引用したい．
The MED reveals on virtually every page the massive and conventional sense and that in literally thousands of cases forms and meanings were adopted (not 'borrowed') into English from Insular, as opposed to Continental, French. The relationship of Anglo-French with Middle English was one of merger, not of borrowing, as a direct result of the bilingualism of the literate classes in mediaeval England. (174)
The linguistic situation in mediaeval England . . . produced . . . a transfer based on the fact that generations of educated Englishmen passed daily from English into French and back again in the course of their work. Very many of the French terms they used had been developing semantically on English soil since 1066, were absorbed quite naturally with all their semantic values into the native English of those who used them and then continued to evolve in their new environment of Middle English. This is a very long way from the traditional idea of 'linguistic borrowing'. (179--80)
[I]n England . . . the social status of French meant that it was used extensively in preference to English for written records of all kinds from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. As a result, given that English was the native language of the majority of those who wrote this form of French, many hundreds of words would have been in daily use in spoken English for generations without necessarily being committed to parchment or paper, the people who used them being bilingual in varying degrees, but using only one of their two vernaculars --- French --- to set down in writing their decisions, judgements, transactions, etc., for posterity. (185)
昨日の記事では bachelor の「独身男性」の語義と apparel の「衣服」の語義の例を挙げた，もう1つ Anglo-French の補助線で解決できる事例として，Rothwell (184) の挙げている rape という語を取り上げよう．MED によると，「強姦」の意味での rāpe (n.(2)) は，英語では1425年の例が初出である．大陸のフランス語ではこの語は見いだされないのだが，Anglo-French では rap としてこの語義において13世紀末から文証される．
[A]s early as c. 1289 rape is defined in the French of the English lawyers as the forcible abduction of a woman; in c. 1292 the law defines it, again in French, as male violence against a woman's body. Therefore, for well over a century before the first attestation of 'rape' in Middle English, the law of England, expressed in French but executed by English justices, had been using these definitions throughout English society. rape is an Anglo-French term not found on the Continent. Admittedly, the Latin rapum is found even earlier than the French, but it was the widespread use of French in the actual pleading and detailed written accounts --- as distinct from the brief formal Latin record --- of cases in the English course of law from the second half of the thirteenth century onwards that has resulted in so very many English legal terms like rape having a French look about them. . . . As far as rape is concerned, there never was, in fact, a 'semantic vacuum' . . . .
Rothwell (184) は，ほかにも larceny を始め多くの法律用語に似たような状況が当てはまるだろうと述べている．中英語の語彙の研究について，まだまだやるべきことが多く残されているようだ．
・ Rothwell, W. "The Missing Link in English Etymology: Anglo-French." Medium Aevum 60 (1991): 173--96.
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