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最終更新時間: 2019-06-24 08:21

2017-10-10 Tue

#3088. アメリカ英語の一様性に関する18--19世紀のコメント [ame][witherspoon]

 「#591. アメリカ英語が一様である理由」 ([2010-12-09-1]),「#2784. なぜアメリカでは英語が唯一の主たる言語となったのか?」 ([2016-12-10-1]) でアメリカ英語の一様性について論じたが,このアメリカ英語の特徴については,早くも18世紀後半から気づかれており,さらに19世紀には何度も言及されている.Baugh and Cable (347) に,それらの言及が引用されているので,ここで紹介しよう.
 まず,1781年にスコットランド出身でプリンストン大学の学長 John Witherspoon は,イギリス人と比較してのアメリカ人の mobility に言い及び,次のように述べている(Witherspoon については「#2802. John Witherspoon --- Americanism の生みの親」 ([2016-12-28-1]) も参照).

[B]eing much more unsettled, and moving frequently from place to place, they are not so liable to local peculiarities either in accent or phraseology.


 次に,1822--23年にアメリカを旅行したイングランド人 Isaac Candler は,次のように書いた.アメリカでは,広く「標準的な」英語が話されているという所感である.

The United States having been peopled from different parts of England and Ireland, the peculiarities of the various districts have in a great measure ceased. As far as pronunciation is concerned, the mass of people speak better English, than the mass of people in England. This I know will startle some, but its correctness will become manifest when I state, that in no part, except in those occupied by the descendants of the Dutch and German settlers, is any unintelligible jargon in vogue. We hear nothing so bad in America as the Suffolk whine, the Yorkshire clipping, or the Newcastle guttural. We never hear the letter H aspirated improperly, nor omitted to be aspirated where propriety requires it. The common pronunciation approximates to that of the well educated class of London and its vicinity.


 1828年には,アメリカ人 James Fenimore Cooper も同趣旨のことを述べている.

If the people of this country were like the people of any other country on earth, we should be speaking at this moment a great variety of nearly unintelligible patois; but, in point of fact, the people of the United States, with the exception of a few of German and French descent, speak, as a body, an incomparably better English than the people of the mother country. There is not, probably, a man (of English descent) born in this country, who would not be perfectly intelligible to all whom he should meet in the streets of London, though a vast number of those he met in the streets of London would be nearly unintelligible to him. In fine, we speak our language, as a nation, better than any other people speak their language. When one reflects on the immense surface of country that we occupy, the general accuracy, in pronunciation and in the use of words, is quite astonishing. This resemblance in speech can only be ascribed to the great diffusion of intelligence, and to the inexhaustible activity of the population, which, in a manner, destroys space.


 引用の最後で Cooper は,アメリカ英語の一様性の原因として知の伝播と人々の移動力を挙げている.Cooper のコメントには愛国主義的な響きも感じられるが,いずれにせよアメリカ英語の一様性が19世紀までに広く認識されるようになっていたことは確かなようだ.

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

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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.

Referrer (Inside): [2019-03-03-1] [2017-10-09-1]

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2016-12-28 Wed

#2802. John Witherspoon --- Americanism の生みの親 [ame][americanism][terminology][webster][lexicography][witherspoon]

 「アメリカ語法」を表わす Americanism という語を初めて用いたのは,初期のプリンストン大学の学長 John Witherspoon (1723--94) である.Witherspoon はスコットランド出身で,アメリカにて聖職者・教育者として活躍しただけでなく,独立宣言の署名者の1人でもある.
 この語が造られた経緯について Baugh and Cable (380--81) に詳しいが,Witherspoon は1781年に Pennsylvania Journal 9 May 1/2 において Americanism という語を初めて用いたという.彼がこの表現に与えた定義は "an use of phrases or terms, or a construction of sentences, even among persons of rank and education, different from the use of the same terms or phrases, or the construction of similar sentences in Great-Britain." である.定義に続けて,Witherspoon は,"The word Americanism, which I have coined for the purpose, is exactly similar in its formation and signification to the word Scotticism." と述べている.実際,Scotticism という語は,OED によると時代的には1世紀半近く遡った1648年の Mercurius Censorius No. 1. 4 に,"It seemes you are resolved to..entertain those things which..ye have all this while fought against, the Scotticismes, of the Presbyteriall government and the Covenant." として初出している.
 Witherspoon は Americanism という語を最初に用いたとき,そこに結びつけられがちな「卑しいアメリカ語法」という含意を込めてはいなかった.彼曰く,"It does not follow, from a man's using these, that he is ignorant, or his discourse upon the whole inelegant; nay, it does not follow in every case, that the terms or phrases used are worse in themselves, but merely that they are of American and not of English growth." ここには,イギリス(英語)に対して決して卑下しない,独立宣言の署名者らしい独立心を読み取ることができる.
 タイトルに Americanism の語こそ含まれていなかったが,最初のアメリカ語法辞書が著わされたのは,造語から35年後の1816年のことである.John Pickering による A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases which have been supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America である.しかし,この辞書はむしろイギリス(英語)寄りの立場を取っており,アメリカ語法が正統なイギリス英語から逸脱していることを示すために用意されたとも思えるものである.同じアメリカ人ではあるが愛国主義者だった Noah Webster が,Pickering の態度に業を煮やしたことはいうまでもない.この Pickering と Webster の立場の違いは,後世に続く Americanism を巡る議論の対立を予感させるものだったといえる.

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

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