#4567. 法助動詞の根源的意味と認識的意味が同居している理由[auxiliary_verb][modality][cognitive_linguistics][semantic_change][conceptual_metaphor][metaphor]


 「#4564. 法助動詞の根源的意味と認識的意味」 ([2021-10-25-1]) に引き続き,法助動詞の2つの用法について.may を例に取ると,「?してもよい」という許可を表わす根源的意味と,「?かもしれない」という可能性を表わす認識的意味がある.この2つの意味はなぜ同居しているのだろうか.
 この問題については英語学でも様々な分析や提案がなされてきたが,Sweetser の認知意味論に基づく解説が注目される.それによると,may の根源的意味は「社会物理世界において潜在的な障害がない」ということである.例えば John may go. 「ジョンはいってもよい」は,根源的に「ジョンが行くことを阻む潜在的な障害がない」を意味する.状況が異なれば障害が生じてくるかもしれないが,現状ではそのような障害がない,ということだ.
 一方,may の認識的意味は「認識世界において潜在的な障害がない」ということである.例えば,John may be there. 「ジョンはそこにいるかもしれない」は,認識的な観点から「ジョンがそこにいるという推論を阻む潜在的な障害がない」を意味する.現在の手持ちの前提知識に基づけば,そのように推論することができる,ということだ.


 Sweetser (60) はこのイメージ・スキーマの構造について,次のように説明する.

1. In both the sociophysical and the epistemic worlds, nothing prevents the occurrence of whatever is modally marked with may; the chain of events is not obstructed.
2. In both the sociophysical and the epistemic worlds, there is some background understanding that if things were different, something could obstruct the chain of events. For example, permission or other sociophysical conditions could change; and added premises might make the reasoner reach a different conclusion.

 この分析は mustcan など,根源的意味と認識的意味をもつ他の法助動詞にも適用できる.must についての Sweetser (64) の解説により,理解を補完されたい.

. . . I propose that the root-modal meanings can be extended metaphorically from the "real" (sociophysical) world to the epistemic world. In the real world, the must in a sentence such as "John must go to all the department parties" is taken as indicating a real-world force imposed by the speaker (and/or by some other agent) which compels the subject of the sentence (or someone else) to do the action (or bring about its doing) expressed in the sentence. In the epistemic world the same sentence could be read as meaning "I must conclude that it is John's habit to go to the department parties (because I see his name on the sign-up sheet every time, and he's always out on those nights)." Here must is taken as indicating an epistemic force applied by some body of premises (the only thing that can apply epistemic force), which compels the speaker (or people in general) to reach the conclusion embodied in the sentence. This epistemic force is the counterpart, in the epistemic domain, of a forceful obligation in the sociophysical domain. The polysemy between root and epistemic senses is thus seen (as suggested above) as the conventionalization, for this group of lexical items, of a a metaphorical mapping between domains.

 ・ Sweetser, E. From Etymology to Pragmatics. Cambridge: CUP, 1990.

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