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Multiple Perspectives on English Philology and History of Linguistics

A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80 th Birthday


Edited By Tetsuji Oda and Hiroyuki Eto

This collection of articles covers a wide range of topics in English philology and history of linguistics. The volume proceeds from Old English studies offering a unique perspective and approach in literary and linguistic research into Anglo-Saxon England. Two articles deal with English phonology from both historical and contemporary standpoints, and another with a theoretical discussion of etymological inquiry. The last section contains three articles focusing on the history of linguistics or the history of ideas. The wide range of topics addressed in the 12 chapters of this volume reflects the diversity of interests in the research efforts of Shoichi Watanabe, professor emeritus at Sophia University, to whom this volume is dedicated by his former students. He is not only highly valued as a distinguished professor of English philology, but also acknowledged for his critique of civilization with his unique view of history and culture.


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KAZUNORI KUMADA Seventeenth-Century Classification of Consonants 205


KAZUNORI KUMADA Seventeenth-Century Classification of Consonants 1. Introduction In seventeenth-century England, under the influence of rationalism, a certain group of grammarians, acknowledged as ‘phoneticians’ by Dobson (21985: 1, 199), shifted their focus to the theoretical observa- tion and the systematization of sounds, and developed an interest in general phonetic alphabets rather than their particular languages. In- spired by the fervent desire for scientific investigation and the system- atic phonetic description of sounds, they “felt free to challenge and modify the grammatical model enshrined in” Greek and Latin gram- marians, such as Priscian and Donatus, the model which many gram- marians and spelling reformers had been kept shackled by (Robins 41997: 135). They labored to establish a different and improved pho- netic framework based on their own notion of sounds. Considered from the modern standard, their observation of sounds was still prem- ature, but they made a remarkable contribution to the development of modern phonetics (Lehnert 1938: 173, 163) as the ‘Precursors of Modern Approaches’ (Kemp 22006: 474-477). Of their outstanding description and classification of sounds to be observed as an intriguing object of research, our primary concern is their approaches to the classification of sounds, especially of conso- nants. In England, prior to the seventeenth century, their classification of sounds was still considerably affected by such Greco-Roman tradi- tional schemes as Priscian’s division of sounds into vocales, semivo- cales (f, l, m, n, r, s, x), and mutae (b, c, d, g, h, k, p, q, t) (Keil 1855: 2,...

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