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最終更新時間: 2022-05-22 19:42

2022-04-14 Thu

#4735. なぜ Webster は綴字改革をなし得たか? [webster][spelling_reform][sociolinguistics][linguistic_ideology][ame][spelling][orthography][american_revolution]

 一般的にいって綴字改革 (spelling_reform) は成功しないものである.実際,英語の歴史で見る限り成功例はほとんどない.その理由については「#606. 英語の綴字改革が失敗する理由」 ([2010-12-24-1]),「#2087. 綴字改革への心理的抵抗」 ([2015-01-13-1]),「#634. 近年の綴字改革論争 (1)」 ([2011-01-21-1]),「#635. 近年の綴字改革論争 (2)」 ([2011-01-22-1]) などで触れてきた.
 英語史において綴字改革がそれなりに成功したとみなすことのできるほぼ唯一の事例が,Noah Webster によるアメリカ英語における綴字改革である(改革の対象となった単語例は「#3087. Noah Webster」 ([2017-10-09-1]) を参照).
 では,なぜ Webster の綴字改革は類い希なる成功を収め得たのか.この問題については「#468. アメリカ語を作ろうとした Webster」 ([2010-08-08-1]),「#3086. アメリカの独立とアメリカ英語への思い」 ([2017-10-08-1]) でも取り上げてきた.端的にいえば,ウェブスターの綴字改革は,反イギリス(綴字)という時代の勢いを得たということである.アメリカ独立革命とそれに伴うアメリカの人々の新生国家に対する愛国心に支えられて,通常では実現の難しい綴字改革が奏功したのである.もちろん,Webster 自身も強い愛国者だった.
 Webster の愛国心の強さについては上記の過去の記事でも言及してきたが,それをさらに雄弁に語る解説を見つけたので紹介したい.昨日の記事でも触れた Coulmas (267) が,アメリカ英語の歴史を著わした Mencken を適宜引用しながら,愛国者 Webster の綴字イデオロギーについて印象的な記述を施している.

   Webster was an ardent nationalist who had an intuitive understanding of the symbolic significance of the written language as a national emblem. Like many of his contemporaries in England and in the colonies, Webster promoted a reformed mode of spelling; however, what distinguished him from others is that he realised the political significance of claiming an independent standard for American English. Spelling to him was a way to write history. Webster's various publications on the English language were intended to further America's intellectual independence and to prove political nationalism with a manifest appearance for all to see and identify with. 'As an independent nation, our honor requires us to have a system of our own, language as well as government' (Webster 1789: 20).
   Reducing the number of letters, weeding out silent letters, and making the spelling more regular were general principles of reform in line with the Enlightenment's call for more rationality. While Webster subscribed to these ideals, to him the 'greatest argument', as Mencken put it, 'was the patriotic one: "A capital advantage of his reform in these States would be that it would make a difference between the English orthography and the American"' (quoted from Mencken 1945 [1919]: 382). Regulating spelling conventions since the Renaissance had been intended to advance homogeneity, but Webster's new spelling was, on the contrary, designed to bring about a schism. Reversing the printers' plea for as wide a distribution of print products as possible, he argued that 'the English would never copy our orthography for their own use' and that the alteration would thus 'render it necessary that all books should be printed in America' (Mencken 1945 [1919]: 382). The assumed economic advantages of a simpler spelling system that would accrue from savings in the cost of teaching as well as publishing books at home rather than buying them from England were an important part of his reasoning.
   Self-interest and nationalism thus prevailed over rationalism. Webster's new spelling could succeed because it was supported by a strong political ideology, because it was not so sweeping as to burn all the bridges and make literature in the conventional orthography unintelligible, and because the population concerned was favourably disposed to novelty and not strongly tied to a literary tradition, hailing to a large part from less-educated strata of society. If any generalisation can be drawn from this example, it would seem to be that in spelling reforms ideological motives are more important than correcting system-intrinsic flaws of the extant norm, although it is usually properties of this kind --- irregularity, redundancy, polyvalence --- that are first put forth by reform proponents.


 私が興味を引かれたのは,第2段落後半に言及がある印刷と本作りに関するくだりである.アメリカ綴字で印刷された本はイギリスでは売れない.それは結構なことである.アメリカ国内で印刷産業が育つことになり,イギリスから本を輸入する必要もなくなるからだ.この綴字改革の政治経済的インパクトを予見していたとすれば,Webster,まさに恐るべしである.

 ・ Coulmas, Florian. "Sociolinguistics and the English Writing System." The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System. Ed. Vivian Cook and Des Ryan. London: Routledge, 2016. 261--74.
 ・ Webster, Noah. Dissertation on the English language. Boston, MA: Isaiah Thomas and Co., 1789. Available online at https://archive.org/stream/dissertationsone00webs#page/20/mode/2up.
 ・ Mencken, H. L. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. 4th ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945 [1919].

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2017-10-09 Mon

#3087. Noah Webster [biography][webster][ame][spelling_reform][american_revolution][history][lexicography][dictionary]

 象徴的な意味でアメリカ英語を作った Noah Webster (1758--1843) について,主として『英語学人名辞典』 (376--77) に拠り,伝記的に紹介する.  *
 Noah Webster は,1758年,Connecticut 州は West Hartford で生まれた.学校時代に学業で頭角を表わし,1778年,Yale 大学へ進学する.在学中に独立戦争が勃発し,新生国家への愛国精神を育んだ.
 大学卒業後,教員そして弁護士となったが,教員として務めていたときに,従来の Dilworth による英語綴字教本に物足りなさを感じ,自ら教本を執筆するに至った.A Grammatical Institute of the English Language と題された教本は,第1部が綴字,第2部が文法,第3部が読本からなるもので,この種の教材としては合衆国初のものだった.全体として愛国的な内容となっており,国内のほぼすべての学校で採用された.第1部の綴字教本は,後に The American Spelling Book として独立し,100年間で8000万部売れたというから大ベストセラーである.表紙が青かったので "Blue-Backed Speller" と俗称された.この本からの収入だけで,Webster は一生の生計を支えられたという.
 Webster は,言論を通じて政治にも関与した.1793年,New York で日刊新聞 American Minerva (後の Commercial Advertiser)および半週刊誌 Herald (後の New York Spectator)を発刊し,Washington 大統領の政策を支えた.後半生は,Connecticut 州の New Haven と Massachusetts 州の Amherst で過ごした.
 言語方面では,1806年に A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language を著わし,1807年に A Philosophical and Practical Grammar of the English Language を著わした.Compendious Dictionary では,すでに綴字の簡易化が実践されており,favor, honor, savior; logic, music, physic; cat-cal, etiquet, farewel, foretel; ax, disciplin, examin, libertin; benum, crum, thum (v.) / ake, checker, kalender, skreen; croop, soop, troop; fether, lether, wether; cloke, mold, wo; spunge, tun, tung などが見出しとして立てられている.
 1807年からは大辞典の編纂に着手し,途中,作業のはかどらない時期はあったものの,1828年についに約7万項目からなる2巻ものの大辞典 An American Dictionary of the English Language が出版された.これは,Johnson の辞書の1818年の改訂版よりも約1万2千項目も多いものだった.Compendious Dictionary に採用されていた簡易化綴字の多くは,今回は不採用となったが,いくつかは残っており,それらは現代にまで続くアメリカ綴字となった.語源記述に関しては,Webster は当時ヨーロッパで勃興していた比較言語学にインスピレーションを受け,多くの単語に独自の語源説を与えたが,実際には比較言語学をよく理解しておらず,同辞典を無価値な記述で満たすことになった.
 性格としては傲岸不遜な一面があり,人々に慕われる人物ではなかったようだが,アメリカ合衆国の独立を支えるべく「アメリカ語」の独立に一生を捧げた人生であった.
 以下,Webster の主要な英語関係の著作を挙げておく.

 ・ A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: Part I (1783) [and its later editions: The American Spelling Book (1788) aka "Blue-Backed Speller"; The Elementary Spelling Book (1843)]: 綴字教本
 ・ A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: Part II (1784): 文法教本
 ・ A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: Part III (1785): 読本
 ・ Dissertations on the English Language, with Notes Historical and Critical (1789): 綴字改革の実行可能性と必要性を説く
 ・ A Collection of Essays and Fugitive Writings (1790): 独自の新綴字法で書かれた
 ・ A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806): 独自の新綴字法で書かれた
 ・ A Philosophical and Practical Grammar of the English Language (1807)
 ・ An American Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vols. (1828)
 ・ An Improved Grammar of the English Language (1831)
 ・ Mistakes and Corrections (1837)

 その他,Webster については webster の各記事,とりわけ「#468. アメリカ語を作ろうとした Webster」 ([2010-08-08-1]) と「#3086. アメリカの独立とアメリカ英語への思い」 ([2017-10-08-1]) を参照されたい.

 ・ 佐々木 達,木原 研三 編 『英語学人名辞典』 研究社,1995年.
 ・ Kendall, Joshua. The Forgotten Founding Father. New York: Berkeley, 2012.

Referrer (Inside): [2022-04-14-1] [2019-06-19-1]

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2017-10-08 Sun

#3086. アメリカの独立とアメリカ英語への思い [ame][witherspoon][academy][webster][american_revolution][history]

 アメリカの独立前後から,アメリカ人による「アメリカ語」の国語意識が現われてきた.自分たちの英語はイギリスの英語とは異なるものであり,独自の標準をもつべき理由がある,という多分に愛国的な意見である.昨日の記事でも引用した John Witherspoon は,アメリカ独立期に次のように述べている.

Being entirely separated from Britain, we shall find some centre or standard of our own, and not be subject to the inhabitants of that island, either in receiving new ways of speaking or rejecting the old. (qtd. in Baugh and Cable 354)


 次の例として,1774年1月の Royal American Magazine に掲載された,匿名の「アメリカ人」によるアメリカ英語アカデミー設立の提案を取り挙げよう.

   I beg leave to propose a plan for perfecting the English language in America, thro' every future period of its existence; viz. That a society, for this purpose should be formed, consisting of members in each university and seminary, who shall be stiled, Fellows of the American Society of Language: That the society, when established, from time to time elect new members, & thereby be made perpetual. And that the society annually publish some observations upon the language and from year to year, correct, enrich and refine it, until perfection stops their progress and ends their labour.
   I conceive that such a society might easily be established, and that great advantages would thereby accrue to science, and consequently America would make swifter advances to the summit of learning. It is perhaps impossible for us to form an idea of the perfection, the beauty, the grandeur, & sublimity, to which our language may arrive in the progress of time, passing through the improving tongues of our rising posterity; whose aspiring minds, fired by our example, and ardour for glory, may far surpass all the sons of science who have shone in past ages, & may light up the world with new ideas bright as the sun. (qtd. in Baugh and Cable 354)


 「#2791. John Adams のアメリカ英語にかけた並々ならぬ期待」 ([2016-12-17-1]) でみたように,後のアメリカ第2代大統領 John Adams が1780年にアカデミー設立を提案していることから,上の文章も Adams のものではないかと疑われる.
 そして,愛国意識といえば Noah Webster を挙げないわけにはいかない.「#468. アメリカ語を作ろうとした Webster」 ([2010-08-08-1]) で有名な1節を引いたが,今回は別の箇所をいくつか引用しよう.

The author wishes to promote the honour and prosperity of the confederated republics of America; and cheerfully throws his mite into the common treasure of patriotic exertions. This country must in some future time, be as distinguished by the superiority of her literary improvements, as she is already by the liberality of her civil and ecclesiastical constitutions. Europe is grown old in folly, corruption and tyranny....For America in her infancy to adopt the present maxims of the old world, would be to stamp the wrinkles of decrepid age upon the bloom of youth and to plant the seeds of decay in a vigorous constitution. (Webster, Preface to A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: Part I (1783) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 357)


As an independent nation, our honor requires us to have a system of our own, in language as well as government. Great Britain, whose children we are, should no longer be our standard; for the taste of her writers is already corrupted, and her language on the decline. But if it were not so, she is at too great a distance to be our model, and to instruct us in the principles of our own tongue. (Webster, Dissertations on the English Language, with Notes Historical and Critical (1789) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 357)


It is not only important, but, in a degree necessary, that the people of this country, should have an American Dictionary of the English Language; for, although the body of the language is the same as in England, and it is desirable to perpetuate that sameness, yet some difference must exist. Language is the expression of ideas; and if the people of our country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language. Now an identity of ideas depends materially upon a sameness of things or objects with which the people of the two countries are conversant. But in no two portions of the earth, remote from each other, can such identity be found. Even physical objects must be different. But the principal differences between the people of this country and of all others, arise from different forms of government, different laws, institutions and customs...the institutions in this country which are new and peculiar, give rise to new terms, unknown to the people of England...No person in this country will be satisfied with the English definitions of the words congress, senate and assembly, court, &c. for although these are words used in England, yet they are applied in this country to express ideas which they do not express in that country. (Webster, Preface to An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) as qtd. in Baugh and Cable 358)


 ・ Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 6th ed. London: Routledge, 2013.

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