#2273. 言語変化の予測可能性について再々考[prediction_of_language_change][language_change]


 「#1997. 言語変化の5つの側面」 ([2014-10-15-1]) で述べたように,言語変化の究極の問題は "actuation problem" にある.なぜ特定の場所と特定の時間にある変化が生じるのか,あるいは生じないのかという問題だ.この問題は解決不能であるとして取り合わない研究者もいる.というのは,これを解決しうるということは,言語変化の厳密な予測が可能であることを含意するが,実際にはほとんど得られない類いのものだからだ.言語変化の予測 (prediction_of_language_change) については,「#843. 言語変化の予言の根拠」 ([2011-08-18-1]),「#844. 言語変化を予想することは危険か否か」 ([2011-08-19-1]),「#1019. 言語変化の予測について再考」 ([2012-02-10-1]),「#2154. 言語変化の予測不可能性」 ([2015-03-21-1]) で見てきたように,諸家の間に否定的な見解が目立つ.
 否定的な見解の多くは,厳密な予測可能性に向けられているように思われる.しかし,条件を緩めた粗々の予測可能性は議論しうるし,そこを起点として,たとえ100%の厳密さは無理であっても,精度をなるべく高めていこうとすることはできそうだ.Milroy や Smith は,この趣旨での予測可能性を支持している.それぞれの主張を引用する.

Weather prediction is a convenient analogy here: we can predict from meteorological observations that it will rain on a particular day with a high probability of being correct, but if we predict that in a particular place it will start raining at one minute past eleven and stop at six minutes past twelve, the probability of the prediction being correct is vanishingly low. Nevertheless, we would be bad meteorologists if we did not try to improve the accuracy of our predictions, and of course this greater accuracy includes the ability to specify the conditions under which something will not happen as well as the conditions under which it will happen. In view of all this, we have no excuse as linguists for not addressing the actuation problem. (Milroy 20--21)

There are several factors and processes that can be involved in a particular language change at a particular time, and these factors and processes are such and such; however, the interaction between these factors and processes is so complex and so various that exact predictability is not to be had. The precise nature of the interaction of these factors and processes can, it seems, only be distinguished after the event. (Smith 17)


 ・ Smith, Jeremy J. Sound Change and the History of English. Oxford: OUP, 2007.
 ・ Milroy, James. Linguistic Variation and Change. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

Referrer (Inside): [2017-08-09-1]

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