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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2023-06-08

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2023-06-08 Thu

#5155. イギリスの方言蔑視は後期中英語期に萌芽がみられ後期近代英語期に本格化した [dialect][history]

 標題に関連する話題は「#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]) で取り上げたが,方言蔑視が生じ,昂じたタイミングについて補足したい.
 Horobin (105--06) は,方言蔑視が生じたのは15--16世紀,それが昂じたのは18世紀とみている.

It is in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that we witness the beginnings of dialect prejudice; an early instance can be tranced in the writings of a chronicler named John Trevisa, who complained that the Northumbrian dialect was so 'scharp, slitting [biting] and frottynge [grating] and unshape [unshapely]' that sotherners like himself were unable to understand it. In the early seventeenth century, Alexander Gill, writing in Latin, labelled 'Occidentalium' (or Western dialect) the 'greatest barbarity' and claimed that the English spoken by a Somerset farmer could easily be mistaken for a foreign language.
   Despite such remarks, the social stigmatization of dialect was not fully articulated before the eighteenth century, when a provincial accent became a badge of social and intellectual inferiority. In his Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724--27), Daniel Defoe reported his encounter with the 'boorish country speech' of Devon---known to the locals as jouring---which was barely comprehensible to ousiders. Having heard a schoolboy read the following lesson from Scripture: 'Chav a doffed me cooat, how shall I don't, chav a wash'd my veet, how shall I moil'em?' (Song of Solomon 5:3), Defoe records his astonishment at finding that the 'dexterous dunce' was reading from a copy of the standard text: 'I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on, I have wash'd my feet, how shall I defile them?' In this brief anecdote we witness many of the same assumptions and prejudices that are associated with dialect speech in English today.


 引用で触れられている John Trevisa は1326--1402年に生きた聖職者・翻訳家なので,厳密にいえば方言蔑視の淵源は14世紀末ということができそうだ.意外と早いという印象である.ただし,これは方言蔑視がイングランド社会において一般的な慣行だったということは必ずしも意味しない.あくまで後世の慣行につながる淵源とみられる例が,この早い時期に観察されるということだろう.
 以降,17世紀前半の Alexander Gill を含め,方言蔑視を示す証拠はあがってくるが,蔑視の風潮が明らかに色濃くなってくるのは18世紀のことだという.現代に直接つながるイギリスの方言蔑視の慣習は,18世紀におおよそ定着したといってよい.

 ・ Horobin, Simon. How English Became English: A Short History of a Global Language. Oxford: OUP, 2016.

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