#3798. 古英語の緩い分かち書き[punctuation][writing][scribe][manuscript][distinctiones][anglo-saxon][orthography]


 英語表記において単語と単語の間に空白を入れる分かち書きの習慣については,「#1112. 分かち書き (1)」 ([2012-05-13-1]),「#1113. 分かち書き (2)」 ([2012-05-14-1]),「#1903. 分かち書きの歴史」 ([2014-07-13-1]) を始めとする distinctiones の各記事で取り上げてきた.この習慣は確かに古英語期にも見られたが,現代のそれに比べれば未発達であり,あくまで過渡期の段階にあった.実のところ,続く中英語期でも規範として完成はしなかったので,古英語の分かち書きの緩さを概観しておけば,中世英語全体の緩さが知れるというものである.
 Baker は,古英語入門書において単語の分かち書き,および単語の途中での行跨ぎに関して "Word- and line-division" (159--60) と題する一節を設けている.以下,分かち書きについての解説.

Word-division is far less consistent in Old English than in Modern English; it is, in fact, less consistent in Old English manuscripts than in Latin written by Anglo-Saxon scribes. You may expect to see the following peculiarities.

・ spaces between the elements of compounds, e.g. aldor mon;
・ spaces between words and their prefixes and suffixes, e.g. be æftan, gewit nesse;
・ spaces at syllable divisions, e.g. len gest;
・ prepositions, adverbs and pronouns attached to the following words, e.g. uuiþbret walū, hehæfde;
・ many words, especially short ones, run together, e.g. þær þeherice hæfde.

The width of the spaces between words and word-elements is quite variable in most Old English manuscripts, and it is often difficult to decide whether a scribe intended a space. 'Diplomatic' editions, which sometimes attempt to reproduce the word-division of manuscripts, cannot represent in print the variability of the spacing on a hand-written page.


Most scribes broke words freely at the ends of lines. Usually the break takes place at a syllabic boundary, e.g. ofsle-gen (= ofslægen), sū-ne (= sumne), heo-fonum. Occasionally, however, a scribe broke a word elsewhere, e.g. forhæf-dnesse. Some scribes marked word-breaks with a hyphen, but many did not mark them in any way.

 古英語期にもハイフンを使っていた写字生がいたということだが,この句読記号が一般化するのは「#2698. hyphen」 ([2016-09-15-1]) で述べたように16世紀後半のことである.

 ・ Baker, Peter S. Introduction to Old English. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007.

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