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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2024-06-19

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2024-06-19 Wed

#5532. ノルマン征服からの3世紀半のイングランドにおける話し言葉と書き言葉の言語 [me][norman_conquest][latin][french][reestablishment_of_english][bilingualism][diglossia][signet][writing][standardisation]

 中英語期のイングランドはマルチリンガルな社会だった.ポリグロシアな社会といってもよい.この全時代を通じて,イングランドの民衆の話し言葉は常に英語だったが,書き言葉は,書き手やレジスターや時期により,ラテン語,フランス語,英語のいずれもあり得た.しかし,書き言葉としての英語は,中英語後期にかけてゆっくりとではあるが,着実に存在感を示すようになってきた.
 Fisher et al. (xiii) は,イングランドにおけるこの3世紀半の言語事情を,1段落の文章で要領よくまとめている.以下に引用する.

Until the 14th century there was little association between Chancery and Westminster. Like the rest of his household, Chancery followed the King in his peregrinations about the country, and correspondence up to the time may be dated from York, Winchester, Hereford, or wherever the court happened to pause (as the King's personal correspondence---the Signet correspondence---continued to be throughout the 15th century). It is important to observe that in its movement about the country, the court as a whole must have reinforced the impression of an official class dialect , in contrast to the regional dialects with which it came in contact. For two centuries this court dialect was spoken French and written Latin; after 1300 it gradually became spoken English and written French. The English spoken in court then and for a long time afterward was quite varied in pronunciation and structure. But written Latin had been standardized in classical times, and by the 13th century written French had begun to be standardized in form and to achieve the lucid idiom that English prose was not to achieve until the 16th century. Increasingly as the 14th century progressed, this Latin and French was written by clerks whose first language was English. Latin was the essential subject in school, but the acquisition of French was more informal, and by the end of the century we have Chaucer's satire on the French of the Prioress, Gower's apologies for his own (quite acceptable) French, and the errors in legal briefs which betoken Englishmen trying to compose in a foreign language. By 1400 the use of English in speaking Latin and French in administrative writing had established a clear dichotomy between colloquial speech and the official written language, which must have made it easier to create an artificial written standard independent of the spoken dialects when the royal clerks began to use English for their official writing after 1417.


 なお,最後に挙げられている1417年とは,「#3214. 1410年代から30年代にかけての Chancery English の萌芽」 ([2018-02-13-1]) で触れられている通り,Henry V の書簡が玉璽局 (Signet Office) により英語で発行され始めた年のことである.

 ・ Fisher, John H., Malcolm Richardson, and Jane L. Fisher, comps. An Anthology of Chancery English. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1984. 392.

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