#3019. 18--19世紀の「たしなみ」としての手紙書き[lmode][prescriptivism][history][sociolinguistics]


 英文学史上,18--19世紀は "the Age of Prose", "the great age of the personal letter", "the golden age of letter writing" などと呼ばれることがある.人々がいそいそと手紙をしたため,交わした時代である.近年,英語史的において,この時代の手紙における言葉遣いや当時の規範的な文法観が手紙に反映されている様子などへの関心が高まってきている.とりわけ社会言語学や語用論の観点からのアプローチが盛んだ.
 18--19世紀に手紙を書くことが社会的なブームとなった背景について,Tieken-Boon van Ostade の解説を引こう (2--3) .

Letter writing became an important means of communication to all people alike, largely as a result of the developments of the postal system. With the establishment of the Penny Post throughout Britain in 1840, postage became cheaper and was now paid for by the writer instead of the receiver. The result was phenomenal: while according to Mugglestone (2006: 276) 'some 75 million letters were sent in 1839', they had increased to 347 million ten years later. Just before the widespread introduction of the Penny Post, the average person in England and Wales received about four letters a year (Bailey 1996: 17), which rose to about eight times as many in 1871, and doubled further at the end of the century. The effects on the language were significant: more people write than ever before, either themselves or, as with minimally schooled writers, through the hands of others who had had slightly more education. Letter-writing manuals, such as The Complete Letter Writer (Anon., 2nd edn 1756), had been appearing in increasing numbers since the mid-eighteenth century, and they gained in popularity during the nineteenth, both in England and in the United states.

 16世紀から19世紀までの手紙の資料については,Tieken-Boon van Ostade による Correspondences のページを参照.

 ・ Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid. An Introduction to Late Modern English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2009.

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