英語史において、現代の標準英語 (Standard English) の直接の起源はどこにあるか．「どこにあるか」というよりも，むしろ論者が「どこに置くのか」という問題であるから，いろいろな見解があり得る．書き言葉の標準化の兆しが Chaucer の14世紀末に芽生え，"Chancery Standard" が15世紀前半に発達したこと等に言及して，その辺りの時期を近代の標準化の嚆矢とする見解が，伝統的にはある．しかし，現代の標準英語に直接連なるのは「どこ」で「いつ」なのかという問題は，標準化 (standardisation) とは何なのかという本質的な問題と結びつき，なかなか厄介だ．
Crowley (303--04) は，標準英語の形成に関する論考の序説として "Renaissance Origins" と題する一節を書いている．標準化のタイミングに関する1つの見方として，洞察に富む議論を提供しているので，まるまる引用したい．Thomas Wilson, George Puttenham, Edmund Spenser という16世紀の著名人の言葉を借りて，説得力のある標準英語起源論を展開している．
The emergence of the English vernacular as a culturally valorized and legitimate form took place in the Renaissance period. It is possible to trace in the comments of three major writers of the time the origins of a persistent set of problems which later became attached to the term "standard English." Following the introduction of Thomas Wilson's phrase "the king's English" in 1553, the principal statement of the idea of a centralized form of the language in the Renaissance was George Puttenham's determination in 1589 of the "natural, pure and most usual" type of English to be used by poets: "that usual speech of the court, and that of London and the shires lying about London, within lx miles and not much above" (Puttenham 1936: 144--5). In the following decade the poet and colonial servant Edmund Spenser composed A View of the State of Ireland (1596) during the height of the decisive Nine Years War between the English colonists in Ireland and the natives. In the course of his wide-ranging analysis of the difficulties facing English rule, Spenser offers a diagnosis of one of the most serious causes of English "degeneration" (a term often used in Tudor debates on Ireland to refer to the Gaelicization of the colonists): "first, I have to finde fault with the abuse of language, that is, for the speaking of Irish among the English, which, as it is unnaturall that any people should love anothers language more than their owne, so it is very inconvenient, and the cause of many other evils" (Spenser 1633: 47). Given Spenser's belief that language and identity were linked ("the speech being Irish, the heart must needes bee Irish), his answer was the Anglicization of Ireland. He therefore recommended the adoption of Roman imperial practice, since "it hath ever been the use of the Conquerour, to despise the language of the conquered, and to force him by all means to use his" (Spencer 1633: 47).
There are several notable features to be drawn from these Renaissance observations on English, a language which, it should be recalled, was being studied seriously and codified in its own right for the first time in this period. The first point is the social and geographic basis of Wilson and Puttenham's accounts. Wilson's phrase "the king's English" was formed by analogy with "the king's peace" and "the king's highway," both of which had an original sense of being restricted to the legal and geographic areas which were guaranteed by the crown; only with the successful centralization of power in the figure of the monarch did such phrases come to have general rather than specific reference. Puttenham's version of the "best English" is likewise demarcated in terms of space and class: his account reduces it to the speech of the court and the area in and around London up to a boundary of 60 miles. A second point to note is that Puttenham's definition conflates speech and writing: its model of the written language, to be used by poets, is the speech of courtiers. And the final detail is the implicit link between the English language and English ethnicity which is evoked by Spenser's comments on the degeneration of the colonist in Ireland. These characteristics of Renaissance thinking on English (its delimitation with regard to class and region, the failure to distinguish between speech and writing, and the connection between language and ethnicity) were characteristics which would be closely associated with the language throughout its modern history.
英国ルネサンスの16世紀に，(1) 階級的，地理的に限定された威信ある変種として，(2) 「話し言葉＝書き言葉」の前提と，(3) 「言語＝民族」の前提のもとで生み出された英語．これが現代まで連なる "Standard English" の直接の起源であることを，迷いのない文章で描き出している．授業で精読教材として使いたいほど，読み応えのある文章だ．同時代のコメントを駆使したプレゼンテーションと議論運びが上手で，内容もすっと受け入れてしまうような一節．このような文章を書けるようになりたいものだ．
上記の Puttenham の有名な一節については，「#2030. イギリスの方言差別と方言コンプレックスの歴史」 ([2014-11-17-1]) で原文を挙げているので，そちらも参照．
・ Crowley, Tony. "Class, Ethnicity, and the Formation of 'Standard English'." Chapter 30 of A Companion to the History of the English Language. Ed. Haruko Momma and Michael Matto. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. 303--12.
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