#1352. コミュニケーション密度と通時態[sociolinguistics][diachrony][weakly_tied][social_network][language_change][contact]


 Bloomfield (46) はアメリカを代表する構造言語学者だが,名著 Language では,歴史言語学や社会言語学が扱うような話題についても驚くほど多くの洞察に満ちた議論を展開している.感銘を受けたものの1つに,「コミュニケーション密度」 (the density of communication) への言及がある.「#882. Belfast の女性店員」 ([2011-09-26-1]) の例が示唆するように,「弱い絆で結ばれた」 ("weakly tied") 社会では,言語革新が導入されやすく,推進されやすいという傾向がある(関連して[2012-07-19-1]の記事「#1179. 古ノルド語との接触と「弱い絆」」も参照).これは,近年の社会言語学において言語変化を説明する力学として注目されている概念だが,Bloomfield は早い段階でその基本的なアイデアをもっていたと考えられる.
 Bloomfield のいう "the density of communication" は,巨大なカンバス上の点と線により表わされる.点として表現される個々の話者が互いに無数の矢印で結びつき合い,言語共同体のネットワークを構成しているというイメージだ.

Every speaker's language, except for personal factors which we must here ignore, is a composite result of what he has heard other people say. / Imagine a huge chart with a dot for every speaker in the community, and imagine that every time any speaker uttered a sentence, an arrow were drawn into the chart pointing from his dot to the dot representing each one of his hearers. At the end of a given period of time, say seventy years, this chart would show us the density of communication within the community. Some speakers would turn out to have been in close communication: there would be many arrows from one to the other, and there would be many series of arrows connecting them by way of one, two, or three intermediate speakers. At the other extreme there would be widely separated speakers who had never heard each other speak and were connected only by long chains of arrows through many intermediate speakers. If we wanted to explain the likeness and unlikeness between various speakers in the community, or, what comes to the same thing, to predict the degree of likeness for any two given speakers, our first step would be to count and evaluate the arrows and series of arrows connecting the dots. We shall see in a moment that this would be only the first step; the reader of this book, for instance, is more likely to repeat a speech-form which he has heard, say, from a lecturer of great fame, than one which he has heard from a street-sweeper. (46--47)

 太い線で結束している共同体どうしが,今度は互いに細い線で緩やかに結びついており,全体として世界がつながっているというイメージは,社会言語学者の描く "social network" (Aitchison 49) の図そのものである.
 ところが,歴史言語学の立場から見てより重要なのは,Bloomfield が上の引用の直後に,カンバスに対して垂直な軸である通時態をも思い描いていたという事実である.

The chart we have imagined is impossible of construction. An insurmountable difficulty, and the most important one, would be the factor of time: starting with persons now alive, we should be compelled to put in a dot for every speaker whose voice had ever reached anyone now living, and then a dot for every speaker whom these speakers had ever heard, and so on, back beyond the days of King Alfred the Great, and beyond earliest history, back indefinitely into the primeval dawn of mankind: our speech depends entirely upon the speech of the past. (47)

 共時態と通時態の区別は方法論上必要だろうが,Bloomfield のカンバスの比喩に照らせば,両者の間に明確な境界がないとも考えられる.両者の区別については,「#1260. 共時態と通時態の接点を巡る論争」 ([2012-10-08-1]) ,「#866. 話者の意識に通時的な次元はあるか?」 ([2011-09-10-1]) ,「#1025. 共時態と通時態の関係」 ([2012-02-16-1]) ,「#1040. 通時的変化と共時的変異」 ([2012-03-02-1]) ,「#1076. ソシュールが共時態を通時態に優先させた3つの理由」 ([2012-04-07-1]) ほか,diachrony の各記事を参照.

 ・ Bloomfield, Leonard. Language. 1933. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1984.
 ・ Aitchison, Jean. Language Change: Progress or Decay. 3rd ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2001.

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