#2102. 英語史における意味の拡大と縮小の例[semantic_change][semantics][hyponymy][semantic_field][lexicology]


 「#473. 意味変化の典型的なパターン」 ([2010-08-13-1]) で意味の一般化 (generalization) と特殊化 (specialization) について触れた.別の言い方をすれば,意味の拡大 (widening) と縮小 (narrowing) である.英語史からの意味の伸縮の例が一覧できると便利だと思っていたところ,Williams にいろいろと挙げられていたので掲載しよう.
 まず,縮小の例から (Williams 171--73) .かっこ内に挙げた意味(の推移)は,縮小を起こす前段階のより広い意味である.現在の主要な語義と比較されたい.

accident (an event)
accost (come alongside in a boat > to approach anyone)
addict (someone who devotes himself to anything)
admonish (advise)
affection (the act of being affected > any affection of the mind)
argue (make clear)
arrest (stop)
artillery (any large implement of war)
carp (talk)
censure (judge)
condemn (pass sentence)
corn (any grain)
cunning (knowledge, skill)
damn (pass sentence)
deer (any animal)
denizen (a citizen of a country or city)
deserts (whatever one deserves, good or bad)
disease (discomfort)
doom (judge)
ecstasy (beside oneself with any strong emotion: fear, joy, pain)
effigy (any likeness)
erotic (relating to love)
esteem (put a value on, good or bad)
fame (report, rumor)
fiend (the enemy)
filth (dirt)
fortune (chance)
fowl (any bird)
ghost (spirit)
grumble (murmur, make low sounds)
hound (any dog)
immoral (not customary)
leer (look obliquely out of the side of the eye)
liquor (liquid)
lust (desire in general)
manure (v., hold land > to cultivate land)
meat (food)
molest (trouble or annoy)
odor (anything perceptible to the sense of smell)
orgy (secret observances)
peculiar (belonging to or characteristic of an individual)
pill (any medicinal ball)
praise (from (ap)praise: set a value on, good or bad)
predicament (any situation)
proposition (a statement set forth for discussion)
reek (smoke from burning matter > produce any vapor)
retaliate (repay for anything)
sanctimonious (holy, sacred)
scheme (horoscope > diagram > plan)
seduce (persuade someone to desert his duty)
shroud (an article of clothing)
smirk (smile)
smug (trim neat)
starve (die)
stink (any odor)
stool (a chair)
success (any outcome)
suggestive (that which suggests something)
syndicate (a group of civil authorities > any group of businessmen pursuing a common commercial activity)
thank (from the general word for think)
vice (a flaw)

 次に,拡大の例 (Williams 175--77) を挙げる.

allude (mock)
aroma (the smell of spices)
aunt (father's sister)
barn (a store for barley)
bend (bring a bow into tension with a bow string)
bird (young of the family avis)
box (a small container made of boxwood)
butcher (one who slaughters goats)
carry (transport by cart)
chicken (a young hen or rooster)
deplore (weep for)
detest (condemn, curse)
dirt (excrement)
divest (remove one's clothes)
elope (run away from one's husband)
fact (a thing done)
frantic (madness)
frenzy (wild delirium)
gang (a set of tools laid out for use > a group of workmen/slaves)
go (walk)
harvest (reap ripened grain)
holiday (a holy day)
journey (a day > a day's trip or day's work)
magic (the knowledge and skill of the Magi)
manner (the mode of handling something by hand)
mess (a meal set out for a group of four)
mind (memory > thought, purpose, intention)
mystery (divine revealed knowledge)
oil (olive oil)
ordeal (trial by torture)
pen (a feather for writing)
picture (a painted likeness)
picture (a painting or drawing)
plant (a young slip or cutting)
sail (cross water propelled by the wind)
sail (travel on water)
sanctuary (a holy place)
scent (animal odor for tracking)
silly (deserving of pity > frail > simple, ignorant > feeble minded)
slogan (the battle cry of Scottish clans)
start (move suddenly)
stop (fill or plug up > prevent passage by stopping up > prevent the movement of a person)
surly (sir-ly, that behavior which characterizes a "Sir")
uncle (mother's brother)

 ここに挙げた事例数からも推測されるように,意味の拡大と縮小の例を比較すると,縮小の例のほうが一般的に多いもののようだ.その理由は定かではないが,時代とともにあらゆるものが分化していく速度のほうが,それら断片を総合しようとする人間の営為よりも勝っているからかもしれない.概念階層 (cf. 「#1962. 概念階層」 ([2014-09-10-1])) の観点からみれば,下位語 (hyponyms) を作り出し,枝を下へ下へ伸ばしていくことは半ば自動的に進むが,新たな上位語 (hypernyms) を作り出す統合の作業には労力が要る.学問も,ひたすら細分化していきこそすれ,総合の機会は少ない・・・.Williams (177) は,次のような見解を述べている.

   It is harder to find a pattern for widening than it is for narrowing. It is not entirely certain, but meanings seem to widen somewhat less frequently than they narrow. As a culture becomes more diversified and more complex with more areas of knowledge and activity, those areas require a vocabulary. Because every language has a finite number of words and because speakers are not inclined to coin completely new forms for new concepts, the simplest way to deal with new areas of knowledge is to use the current vocabulary. Borrowing, derivation, compounding, and so on operate here. But perhaps even more frequent is narrowing.
   But on the other hand it can also be difficult to talk about the most ordinary activities of daily life as they diversify. Once it becomes possible to drive (drive originally meaning to force an animal along), or ride (ride originally meaning to go on horseback), or walk (originally meaning to travel about in public), then talking about getting some place without specifying how becomes difficult. The word go, originally meaning to walk, generalized so that an English speaker can now say I am going to town this morning without having to specify how he gets there. Carry generalized from transporting specifically in a conveyance of some sort to transporting by bearing up in general: The wind carried the seed, and so on.

 上掲の一覧には,広い意味と狭い意味が完全に推移 (shift) しきった例ばかりではなく,古いほうの語義も残存し,新旧が並存している pillsanctuary などの例も少なくない.

 ・ Williams, Joseph M. Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History. New York: Free P, 1975.

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