#4604. 伝統的な英語史記述の2つの前提 --- ゲルマン系由来と標準英語重視[historiography][indo-european][linguistic_ideology][language_myth]


 英語史という分野は,それ自体の歴史も長いので,伝統的な「英語史記述」というべきスタイルが確立している.英語史の著書は多くあるが,大多数の記述方針は一致している.英語が印欧語族のなかのゲルマン語派に属する言語であるところから始め,とりわけ近代以降に標準英語 (Standard English) という1変種にのみ注目して,現代までの歴史を描くというものだ.
 伝統的な英語史記述を批判的に評価するに当たって「#3897. Alternative Histories of English」 ([2019-12-28-1]) で紹介した同名の論考集より,第1章を執筆した Milroy (7) の冒頭の1段落を引用しておきたい.上にも触れたように,従来の主流派の英語史記述には,2つの前提があるという指摘だ.

The word 'history' is often understood simplistically to mean an accurate account of what happened in the past; yet, the writing of history can depend on differing underlying assumptions and can lead to differing interpretations. There can therefore be alternative histories of the same thing, including alternative histories of language. This chapter is about what may be called the conventional history of the English language, as it appears in many accounts, e.g. Jespersen (1962) and Brook (1958). This is seen as a particular version of history, which is one of a number of potential versions, and it is assumed that this version has reasonably clear and recurrent characteristics. The most prominent of these are: (1) strong emphasis on the early history of English and its descent from Germanic and Indo-European, and (2) from 1500 onward, an almost exclusive focus on standard English. Thus, the functions of this history are primarily to provide a lineage for English and a history for the standard language (in effect, the recent history of English is defined as the history of this one variety). Plainly, if we chose to focus on varieties other than the standard and if we did not accept the validity of the Stammbaum model of language descent, the version of history that we would produce would be substantially different.

 この書き出しからして,社会言語学者 Milroy による伝統的な英語史記述への疑念が生々しく伝わってくる.多くの英語史学習者(そして研究者)が前提としている2点について,もし疑ってみたら,どんな英語史記述になるのだろうか.英語が世界語となっている現在,この思考実験はとても重要である.

 ・ Milroy, Jim. "The Legitimate Language: Giving a History to English." Chapter 1 of Alternative Histories of English. Ed. Richard Watts and Peter Trudgill. Abingdon: Routledge, 2002. 7--25.

Referrer (Inside): [2021-12-09-1] [2021-12-05-1]

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