#3349. 後期近代英語期における形容詞比較の屈折形 vs 迂言形の決定要因[lmode][comparison][synthesis_to_analysis][variation]


 近代英語は,比較級や最上級を作るのに -er, -est などの屈折を用いるか,more, most などの迂言的方法に頼るかの選択について,一見して整理されていない様相を示していた.その余波は現代英語まで続いているといってよい.しかし,Mondorf (863) は,機能的な観点からみれば後期近代英語期の状況は「整理されていない」とみなすことはできず,むしろ新しい秩序が形成されつつあると主張する.

The distribution of comparative variants in Late Modern English reveals an emergent functionally-motivated division of labor, with the analytic form becoming the domain of cognitively complex environments (e.g. if the adjective is accompanied by a prepositional or infinitival complement or if it is poly- rather than monomorphemic, etc.), while the synthetic form increases its range of application in easier-to-process environments . . . .

 つまり,形容詞比較の変異は,単純に「総合から分析へ」 (synthesis_to_analysis) という英語史の大きな潮流のなかでとらえるべきではなく,認知的なプロセスの難易を含めた機能的な側面に注意して眺めるべき問題であるという.変異は混乱を表わすものではなく分業 ("division of labor") の結果であり,むしろそれは1つの秩序なのだ.Mondorf (864) の結論の要約部を引用する.

The system of comparison in Late Modern English develops a remarkably clear pattern of reorganization. Comparative alternation becomes more systematic by exploiting the options offered by the availability of morphosyntactic variants. As regards processing requirements it makes the best possible use of each variant: cognitively complex environments (such as adjectives accompanied by a complement) consistently increase their share of the analytic comparative to such an extent that the analytic form can even become obligatory. By contrast, easy-to-process environments can afford to use the synthetic comparative. What is at stake in the diachronic development of comparative alternation is an economically-motivated division of labor, in which each variant assumes the task it is best suited to. This division of labor emerges in the LModE period, around the 18th century . . . . The benefit of creating a typologically consistent, uniform synthetic or analytic language systems is outweighed by forces following functional motivations. The older synthetic form can stand its ground (or even reconquer formerly lost domains) in easy-to-process environments, while the analytic form prevails in cognitively-demanding contexts.

 関連して「#3032. 屈折比較と句比較の競合の略史」 ([2017-08-15-1]),「#403. 流れに逆らっている比較級形成の歴史」 ([2010-06-04-1]),「#2346. more, most を用いた句比較の発達」 ([2015-09-29-1]) も参照.

 ・ Mondorf, Britta. "Late Modern English: Morphology." Chapter 53 of English Historical Linguistics: An International Handbook. 2 vols. Ed. Alexander Bergs and Laurel J. Brinton. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2012. 843--69.

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