#2253. 意味変化の原因を論じるのがなぜ難しいか[causation][semantic_change][methodology][language_change][history_of_linguistics][language_change][link]


 この2日間の記事「#2251. Ullmann による意味変化の分類」 ([2015-06-26-1]),「#2252. Waldron による意味変化の分類」 ([2015-06-28-1]) で引用・参照した Waldron は,Stern と Ullmann などの主要な先行研究を踏まえながら,意味変化の原因についても論じている.原因についての何らかの新しい洞察を付け加えているわけではないが,原因論を巡ることがなぜ難しいのかというメタな問題について,非常に参考になる議論を展開している.

   We have now considered a number of factors which may contribute to change of meaning and it is not difficult to see why so many different schemes of semantic change have been proposed over the last 150 years and why there is so little agreement among scholars as to the correct classification of the phenomena. For behind every change of meaning there lies a chain of causation which can be analysed at a number of different levels --- e.g. material, social, psychological, logical --- and at each level we should get a different answer to the question 'Why did this word change its meaning?' The position of a statistician analysing (let us suppose) the causes of death in a certain community would be somewhat similar, unless he decided beforehand what sort of causes he was going to pay attention to. For at one level of analysis, every death might presumably be regarded as a case of heart stopped beating; at different levels of analysis such categories as drowning, overwork, carbon-monoxide poisoning, typhoid, and smoke-polluted atmosphere might all be acceptable as causes; but there would be no guarantee that each death would fit into one and only one aetiological category, unless the causes were all analysed at more or less the same level. The doctor who has to insert a cause of death on a death certificate uses one of a set of terms which classify the causes on a fairly consistent level of medical diagnosis; and in matters of such complexity no system of classification for causes is serviceable unless consistency of level is observed. This, of course, is a consequence of the indeterminateness of our concept of cause: every event has many different causes.
   It is quite futile, therefore, for us to attempt to distinguish which sense-changes are due to linguistic causes and which to non-linguistic causes, or which are due to material causes and which to social causes; while it would perhaps be an exaggeration to contend that any change of meaning could be regarded as the consequence, immediate or remote, of any of the recognized causes, the various causal schemes undoubtedly show a good deal of overlapping.

 意味変化の原因の研究を,人の死因の究明になぞらえた点が秀逸である.原因の分析のレベルが様々にありうる以上,そこから取り出される原因そのものも多種多様であり,またしばしば互いに重なり合っていることは当然である.必然的に multiple causation を想定せざるをえないことになる.
 このことは,意味変化の原因論にとどまらず,言語変化一般の原因論についてもいえるだろう.言語学史においても,言語変化の原因,理由,動機づけ(を探ること)については侃々諤々の議論がある.この問題については,本ブログから cat:language_change causation の各記事を参照されたい.その中でも,とりわけ関係するものとして以下を挙げておく (##442,1123,1173,1282,1549,1582,1584,1986,2123,2143,2151,2161) .

 ・ 「#442. 言語変化の原因」 ([2010-07-13-1])
 ・ 「#1123. 言語変化の原因と歴史言語学」 ([2012-05-24-1])
 ・ 「#1173. 言語変化の必然と偶然」 ([2012-07-13-1])
 ・ 「#1282. コセリウによる3種類の異なる言語変化の原因」 ([2012-10-30-1])
 ・ 「#1549. Why does language change? or Why do speakers change their language?」 ([2013-07-24-1])
 ・ 「#1582. 言語内的な要因と言語外的な要因はどちらが重要か? (2)」 ([2013-08-26-1])
 ・ 「#1584. 言語内的な要因と言語外的な要因はどちらが重要か? (3)」 ([2013-08-28-1])
 ・ 「#1986. 言語変化の multiple causation あるいは "synergy"」 ([2014-10-04-1])
 ・ 「#2123. 言語変化の切り口」 ([2015-02-18-1])
 ・ 「#2143. 言語変化に「原因」はない」 ([2015-03-10-1])
 ・ 「#2151. 言語変化の原因の3層」 ([2015-03-18-1])
 ・ 「#2161. 社会構造の変化は言語構造に直接は反映しない」 ([2015-03-28-1])

 ・ Waldron, R. A. Sense and Sense Development. New York: OUP, 1967.

Referrer (Inside): [2015-06-30-1] [2015-06-28-1]

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