#5016. 中英語の動名詞構文 there was ---ing 「---が行なわれた」[gerund][construction][be][syntax][existential_sentence][bnc]


 「#4995. 動名詞構文 there is no ---ing 「---することはできない」は中英語期から」 ([2022-12-30-1]) は現代英語にも続く構文として知られているが,中英語には there was ---ing という興味深い構文が存在した.「---が行なわれた」「---というということが起きた」ほどの意味である.Mustanoja (576) にいくつか例が挙げられている.

The construction there was . . -ing is frequently used in ME for the expression of indefinite agency: --- þer was sobbing (Havelok 234); --- þer was sembling (Havelok 1018); --- thar wes oft bikkyring (Barbour ix 343); --- so greet wepyng was there noon, certayn, Whan Ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn, To Troye, Allas, the pitee that was ther, Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer (Ch. CT A Kn. 2831--4). A similar case is and thus the woful nyhtes sorwe To joie is torned on the morwe; Al was thonkinge, al was blessinge, Which erst was wepinge and cursinge (Gower CA ii 3317--18).

 動名詞で表わされる動作の行為者は不定であり,動作そのものに焦点を当てたい場合に用いる構文なのだろう.OED の -ing, suffix1 には特にこの構文に関する記述はなく,MED -ing(e (suf.(1)) にも言及がない.
 この構文は,現代でも特に目立った構文として言及されることはないものの,細々とは受け継がれているようだ.there is/was ---ing の例を BNCweb よりいくつか挙げてみよう.

 ・ 'Well, like I told the foreign gentleman, there was dancing in the sitting room, and this Mrs Heatherington-Scott she was dancing with Mr Merrivale.'
 ・ There is shooting almost daily in the capital as roaming snipers attack military checkpoints;
 ・ There was rationing at home and war in Ireland.
 ・ First there was cheering then jeering.
 ・ There was knocking on the front door.

 ・ Mustanoja, T. F. A Middle English Syntax. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 1960.

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