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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2022-07-30

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2022-07-30 Sat

#4842. 英語は歴史の始まりからすでに混種言語だった? [variety][dialect][germanic][oe][jute][history][oe_dialect][anglo-saxon][dialect_contact][dialect_mixture]

 1860年代に出版された Marsh による英語史講義録をパラパラめくっている.Marsh によれば,アングロサクソン語,すなわち古英語は,大陸からブリテン島に持ち込まれた諸方言の混合体であり,その意味においてブリテン島に "aboriginal" な言語とは言えないものの "indigenous" な言語ではあると述べている.言語としては混合体ならではの "diversity" を示し,"obscure", "confused", "imperfect", "anomalous", "irregular" であるという.以下,関連する箇所を引用する.

§15. It has been already shown that the Anglo-Saxon conquerors consisted of several tribes. The border land of the Scandinavian and Teutonic races, whence the Anglo-Saxon invaders emigrated, has always been remarkable for the number of its local dialects. The Friesian, which bears a closer resemblance than any other linguistic group to the English, differs so much in different localities, that the dialects of Friesian parishes, separated only by a narrow arm of the sea, are often quite unintelligible to the inhabitants of each other. Moreover, the Anglo-Saxon language itself supplies internal evidence that there was a great commingling of nations in the invaders of our island. This language, in its obscure etymology, its confused and imperfect inflexions, and its anomalous and irregular syntax, appears to me to furnish abundant proof of a diversity, not of a unity, of origin. It has not what is considered the distinctive character of a modern, so much as of a mixed and ill-assimilated speech, and its relations to the various ingredients of which it is composed are just those of the present English to its own heterogeneous sources. It borrowed roots, and dropped endings, appropriated syntactical combinations without the inflexions which made them logical, and had not yet acquired a consistent and harmonious structure when the Norman conquest arrested its development, and imposed upon it, or, perhaps we should say, gave a new stimulus to, the tendencies which have resulted in the formation of modern English. There is no proof that Anglo-Saxon was ever spoken anywhere but on the soil of Great Britain; for the 'Heliand,' and other remains of old Saxon, are not Anglo-Saxon, and I think it must be regarded, not as a language which the colonists, or any of them, brought with them from the Continent, but as a new speech resulting from the fusion of many separate elements. It is, therefore, indigenous, if not aboriginal, and as exclusively local and national in its character as English itself.


 古英語の生成に関する Marsh のこの洞察は優れていると思う.しかし,評価するにあたり,この講義録がイギリス帝国の絶頂期に出版されたという時代背景は念頭に置いておくべきだろう.引用の最後にある "exclusively local and national in its character as English itself" も,その文脈で解釈する必要があるように思われる.
 古英語の生成については「#389. Angles, Saxons, and Jutes の故地と移住先」 ([2010-05-21-1]),「#2868. いかにして古英語諸方言が生まれたか」 ([2017-03-04-1]),「#4439. 古英語は混合方言として始まった?」 ([2021-06-22-1]) の記事も参照.

 ・ Marsh, George Perkins. Lectures on the English Language: Edited with Additional Lectures and Notes. Ed. William Smith. 4th ed. London: John Murray, 1866. Rpt. HardPress, 2012.

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