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#2693. 古ノルド語借用語の統計[lexicology][statistics][old_norse][french][loan_word][contact]

2016-09-10

 昨日の記事「#2692. 古ノルド語借用語に関する Gersum Project」 ([2016-09-09-1]) 紹介した Gersum ProjectNorse Terms in English: A (basic!) Introduction に,フランス語からの借用語と対比しながら古ノルド語からの借用語に関する数値などが言及されていた.

When it comes to numbers, French influence, mainly as a result of the Norman Conquest, is much more significant: approximately 10,000 words were borrowed from French during the Middle English period (of which around 7,000 are still used), whereas there are about 2,000 Norse-derived terms recorded in medieval English texts. Of them, about 700 are still in use in Standard English, although many more can be found in dialects from areas such as the East Midlands, Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cheshire. The significance of the Norse impact on (Standard) English lies instead in the fact that most of the Norse-derived terms do not have a technical character (consider, for instance, skirt, leg, window, ugly, ill, happy, scare, bask, die) and even include a number of grammatical terms, the most notable being the third person plural pronouns they, them and their (because personal pronouns are not easily borrowed between languages). The presence of these terms was probably facilitated by the similarity between Old English and Old Norse, both of which were Germanic languages. In fact, it seems very likely that the speakers of the two languages were able to understand each other by speaking their own language, of course with some careful lexical choices and a good deal of pointing and, when appropriate, smiling.


 借用語彙の統計は,語源の不確かさの問題などが絡み,いきおい概数にならざるを得ないが,与えられていれば参考になる.ここに挙げられている数値も,他書のものと大きく異なっていない.中英語期の借用語に限定して数えると,フランス語からはおよそ1万語(うち約7千語が現在まで残る)が入り,古ノルド語からはおよそ2千語(うち約700語が現代標準英語に残る)が入ったとしている.古ノルド語からの借用語は絶対数も現在までの残存率も相対的に低いといえるが,英語語彙のコアにまで浸透しているという意味で,質的な深さはある.また,イングランド北部・東部の諸方言を考慮に入れれば,現在使われている古ノルド語借用語の数は著しく増えるということも銘記しておきたい.古英語話者と古ノルド語話者がある程度通じ合えたとの積極的な指摘も注目に値する.
 その他,借用語に関する統計は cat:loan_word statistics の各記事を参照.

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