#3572. 謎の多い be 動詞の否定形 ain't (2)[be][conjugation][negative][compensatory_lengthening]


 昨日の記事 ([2019-02-05-1]) に続き,ain't について.今回はその起源に関するいくつかの説を紹介しよう.
 昨日も述べたように ain't は,am not, isn't, aren't のいずれの代用としても用いられることから,これらのいずれかに起源をもつと考えるのが自然だろう.しかし,これら標準的な3つのいずれかからの発達と仮定する場合,n の前に来る子音の消失に関する問題と,第1音節の母音 /eɪ/ に関する問題を解決しなければならない.これが,なかなか難しい.
 1人称単数 I に対応する ain't に関しては,Crystal (35) は,歴史的な amn't, amna, amnae, ammot, am't などからの子音脱落によるものとみている.

. . . from the sixteenth century on, we see forms dropping the m appear---first an't, then ain't, again with many regional variants such as een't in Suffolk, yunt in Worcestershire, yent in Berkshire, ant in New England, and ent in African-American usage.

 次に,OED の be, v. を引いてみると,語源解説の2.1に詳しい記述がある.それによると,ain't は,amn't からの発達という可能性もあるが,aren't からも,そして isn't からも同様に発達し得たことが示唆されている.

The forms an't and ain't, when functioning as 1st singular, perhaps represent a contraction of am with the negative particle rather than levelling from the 2nd singular and plural (i.e. corresponding to aren't with simplification of final consonant group; compare discussion of ain't below and see discussions in E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500-1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §238, W. N. Francis in Focus on: Eng. & Wales (1985) 141-151; a third possible source (for ain't) is by compensatory lengthening after loss of s from isn't; compare discussion of en't at Forms 2c(iv)ζ). However, if so, an't and ain't were subsequently reanalysed as equivalent to are not, and the spelling aren't superseded an't in standard English, leading to avoidance not only of I aren't but also of aren't I by some speakers of current English. A similar problem arises with the early modern English form wan't, which when used for the singular, may represent either a contraction of was with not or show levelling of a variant of weren't. Compare also the concurrent development of similar contracted forms shan't (contracted form of SHALL v.) and han't, hain't, ain't (contracted forms of HAVE v.).

 数・人称ごとに場合分けして発達を探るということが必要かもしれない.また,子音の問題は,いずれの場合にも「脱落」で片付けることができるかもしれないが,母音の問題については積極的なコメントはない.方言形であるとか,単に異形であるとか,そのような説明で済ませている場合が多いようだ.やはり,ain't は歴史的に謎である.

 ・ Crystal, David. The Story of Be. Oxford: OUP, 2017.

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