#3086. アメリカの独立とアメリカ英語への思い[ame][witherspoon][academy][webster][american_revolution][history]


 アメリカの独立前後から,アメリカ人による「アメリカ語」の国語意識が現われてきた.自分たちの英語はイギリスの英語とは異なるものであり,独自の標準をもつべき理由がある,という多分に愛国的な意見である.昨日の記事でも引用した John Witherspoon は,アメリカ独立期に次のように述べている.

Being entirely separated from Britain, we shall find some centre or standard of our own, and not be subject to the inhabitants of that island, either in receiving new ways of speaking or rejecting the old. (qtd. in Baugh and Cable 354)

 次の例として,1774年1月の Royal American Magazine に掲載された,匿名の「アメリカ人」によるアメリカ英語アカデミー設立の提案を取り挙げよう.

   I beg leave to propose a plan for perfecting the English language in America, thro' every future period of its existence; viz. That a society, for this purpose should be formed, consisting of members in each university and seminary, who shall be stiled, Fellows of the American Society of Language: That the society, when established, from time to time elect new members, & thereby be made perpetual. And that the society annually publish some observations upon the language and from year to year, correct, enrich and refine it, until perfection stops their progress and ends their labour.
   I conceive that such a society might easily be established, and that great advantages would thereby accrue to science, and consequently America would make swifter advances to the summit of learning. It is perhaps impossible for us to form an idea of the perfection, the beauty, the grandeur, & sublimity, to which our language may arrive in the progress of time, passing through the improving tongues of our rising posterity; whose aspiring minds, fired by our example, and ardour for glory, may far surpass all the sons of science who have shone in past ages, & may light up the world with new ideas bright as the sun. (qtd. in Baugh and Cable 354)

 「#2791. John Adams のアメリカ英語にかけた並々ならぬ期待」 ([2016-12-17-1]) でみたように,後のアメリカ第2代大統領 John Adams が1780年にアカデミー設立を提案していることから,上の文章も Adams のものではないかと疑われる.
 そして,愛国意識といえば Noah Webster を挙げないわけにはいかない.「#468. アメリカ語を作ろうとした Webster」 ([2010-08-08-1]) で有名な1節を引いたが,今回は別の箇所をいくつか引用しよう.

The author wishes to promote the honour and prosperity of the confederated republics of America; and cheerfully throws his mite into the common treasure of patriotic exertions. This country must in some future time, be as distinguished by the superiority of her literary improvements, as she is already by the liberality of her civil and ecclesiastical constitutions. Europe is grown old in folly, corruption and tyranny....For America in her infancy to adopt the present maxims of the old world, would be to stamp the wrinkles of decrepid age upon the bloom of youth and to plant the seeds of decay in a vigorous constitution. (Webster, Preface to A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: Part I (1783) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 357)

As an independent nation, our honor requires us to have a system of our own, in language as well as government. Great Britain, whose children we are, should no longer be our standard; for the taste of her writers is already corrupted, and her language on the decline. But if it were not so, she is at too great a distance to be our model, and to instruct us in the principles of our own tongue. (Webster, Dissertations on the English Language, with Notes Historical and Critical (1789) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 357)

It is not only important, but, in a degree necessary, that the people of this country, should have an American Dictionary of the English Language; for, although the body of the language is the same as in England, and it is desirable to perpetuate that sameness, yet some difference must exist. Language is the expression of ideas; and if the people of our country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language. Now an identity of ideas depends materially upon a sameness of things or objects with which the people of the two countries are conversant. But in no two portions of the earth, remote from each other, can such identity be found. Even physical objects must be different. But the principal differences between the people of this country and of all others, arise from different forms of government, different laws, institutions and customs...the institutions in this country which are new and peculiar, give rise to new terms, unknown to the people of England...No person in this country will be satisfied with the English definitions of the words congress, senate and assembly, court, &c. for although these are words used in England, yet they are applied in this country to express ideas which they do not express in that country. (Webster, Preface to An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 358)

 ・ Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 6th ed. London: Routledge, 2013.

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