#473. 意味変化の典型的なパターン[semantic_change][sign][arbitrariness]


 語の意味が変わりやすいのは,語の形態と内容の間に論理的な関係がないことによる.記号表現 ( signifiant ) と記号内容 ( signifié ) の関係は本質的に恣意的 ( arbitrary ) であり,我々が自然と思っているある語とその意味との結びつきは慣習的なものにすぎない.恣意的とか慣習的とかいうことは一時的であることにも通じ,語とその意味の関係は軽微な契機で変化しうるということにもなる.語の意味は本来的に変化することが前提とされているようにも思える.
 意味変化には典型的なパターンがいくつかある.そのなかでも特によく取り上げられるのは,互いに関連する4つのパターンである.Brinton and Arnovick (77--80) を参考に例とともに列挙してみよう.

(1) 一般化 ( generalization ): 特殊性を示す限定的な要素が抜け落ちる変化

 ・ box: from "a small container made of boxwood" to "a small container"
 ・ butcher: from "one who slaughters goats" to "one who cuts and sells meat in a shop"
 ・ carry: from "to transport something in a vehicle" to "to move something while holding and supporting it"
 ・ crisis: from "a turning point of a disease" to "a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention"
 ・ holiday: from "a holy day" to "a non-work day"
 ・ sanctuary: from "a holy place" to "a safe place"
 ・ scent: from "animal odour used for tracking" to "a pleasant smell"

(2) 特殊化 ( specialization ): 集合内の特殊な一員を示す変化や限定的な意味に特化する変化

 ・ acorn: from "wild fruit" to "the nut of the oak tree"
 ・ adder: from "a snake" to "a type of poisonous snake"
 ・ hound: from "a dog" to "a type of hunting dog"
 ・ lust: from "desire" to "sexual desire"
 ・ meat: from "food" to "meat"
 ・ sermon: from "a speech, discourse" to "a talk given as part of a Christian church service"
 ・ stool: from "a seat for one person" to "a backless seat"

(3) 悪化 ( pejoration ): マイナス評価を帯びるようになる変化.特殊化を兼ねることが多い.

 ・ admonish: from "to advise" to "To warn or notify of a fault"
 ・ corpse: from "a body" to "a dead body"
 ・ cunning: from "knowledgeable" to "clever and good at deceiving people"
 ・ hussy: from "a housewife" to "a woman who is sexually immoral"
 ・ judgmental: from "inclined to make judgments" to "inclined to make uncharitable or negative judgments, overly critical"
 ・ poison: from "potion, drink" to "a substance that can cause death or serious illness"
 ・ villain: from "a low-born or common person" to "a vile, wicked person"

(4) 良化 ( amelioration ): プラス評価を帯びるようになる変化.特殊化を兼ねることが多い.

 ・ boy: from "a rascal, servant" to "a male child"
 ・ knight: from "a boy, a servant" to "a man who is given a special honor and the title of Sir by the king or queen of England"
 ・ nice: from "silly, simple" to "kind, polite, and friendly"
 ・ queen: from "a woman of good birth" to "the female ruler of a country"
 ・ shrewd: from "wicked" to "mentally sharp or clever"
 ・ steward: from "an overseer of the pig sty" to "someone who protects or is responsible for money, property, etc."
 ・ success: from "an outcome, a result" to "a correct or desired result"

 ・ Brinton, Laurel J. and Leslie K. Arnovick. The English Language: A Linguistic History. Oxford: OUP, 2006.

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