#3929. なぜギリシアとローマは続け書きを採用したか? (1)[alphabet][distinctiones][punctuation][reading][writing][latin][greek][indo-european][word]


 アルファベットの分かち書き (distinctiones) と続け書き (scriptura continua) の問題については,最近では「#3926. 分かち書き,表語性,黙読習慣」 ([2020-01-26-1]) で,それ以前にも distinctiones の各記事で取り上げてきた.
 Saenger (9) によると,アルファベットに母音表記の慣習が持ち込まれる以前の地中海世界では,スペースによるか点によるかの違いこそあれ,分かち書きが普通に行なわれていた.ところが,ギリシア語において母音表記が可能となるに及び,続け書きが生まれたという.これを時系列で整理すると次のようになる.
 分かち書きは現在では当然視されているが,母音表記を享受し始めた古典時代の間に,その慣習が一度廃れた経緯があるということだ.では,なぜ母音表記の導入により,私たちにとって明らかに便利に思われる分かち書きが廃用となり,むしろ読みにくいと思われる続け書きが発達したのだろうか.Saenger (9--10) によれば,母音表記と続け書きの間には密接な関係があるという.

The uninterrupted writing of ancient scriptura continua was possible only in the context of a writing system that had a complete set of signs for the unambiguous transcription of pronounced speech. This occurred for the first time in Indo-European languages when the Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet by adding symbols for vowels. The Greco-Latin alphabetical scripts, which employed vowels with varying degrees of modification, were used for the transcription of the old forms of the Romance, Germanic, Slavic, and Hindu tongues, all members of the Indo-European language group, in which words were polysyllabic and inflected. For an oral reading of these Indo-European languages, the reader's immediate identification of words was not essential, but a reasonably swift identification and parsing of syllables was fundamental. Vowels as necessary and sufficient codes for sounds permitted the reader to identify syllables swiftly within rows of uninterrupted letters. Before the introduction of vowels to the Phoenician alphabet, all the ancient languages of the Mediterranean world---syllabic or alphabetical, Semitic or Indo-European---were written with word separation by either space, points, or both in conjunction. After the introduction of vowels, word separation was no longer necessary to eliminate an unacceptable level of ambiguity.
     Throughout the antique Mediterranean world, the adoption of vowels and of scriptura continua went hand in hand. The ancient writings of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, and Israel did not employ vowels, so separation between words was retained. Had the space between words been deleted and the signs been written in scriptura continua, the resulting visual presentation of the text would have been analogous to a modern lexogrammatic puzzle. Such written languages might have been decipherable, given their clearly defined conventions for word order and contextual clues, but only after protracted cognitive activity that would have made fluent reading as we know it impractical. While the very earliest Greek inscriptions were written with separation by interpuncts, points placed at midlevel between words, Greece soon thereafter became the first ancient civilization to employ scriptura continua. The Romans, who borrowed their letter forms and vowels from the Greeks, maintained the earlier Mediterranean tradition of separating words by points far longer than the Greeks, but they, too, after a scantily documented period of six centuries, discarded word separation as superfluous and substituted scriptura continua for interpunct-separated script in the second century A.D.

 母音文字を発明してアルファベットを便利にしたギリシア人が,読みにくい続け書きにシフトしたというのは,何か矛盾しているように感じられる.実際,この問題は多くの論者を悩ませ続けてきたようだ (Saenger 10)
 ギリシア人による母音文字の導入という文字史上の画期的な出来事については,「#423. アルファベットの歴史」 ([2010-06-24-1]) や「#2092. アルファベットは母音を直接表わすのが苦手」 ([2015-01-18-1]) を参照.

 ・ Saenger, P. Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1997.

Referrer (Inside): [2020-02-01-1] [2020-01-30-1]

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