#5169. 人類言語は最初から複雑だったか?[sobokunagimon][evolution][origin_of_language]


 言語類型論で知られる Comrie (248) が,言語の起源と発展をめぐる考察において,人類言語は最初から複雑だったか否かという問題について議論している.ちなみに,ここでいう複雑さとは,主に形態(音韻)論的な複雑さを指している.

One question that then arises is how some languages come to have such complexities as complex morphologies and morphophonemics.
   One possible answer is that they have always had these complexities, i.e. that some languages, from the beginnings of human language, just started out being complex. After all, if languages with complex morphologies, like, say, the Eskimo languages, can be acquired with relatively little difficulty by children, then they are clearly within whatever limits exist on the acquisition and use of language by human beings in general, and as soon as humans attained the level necessary for dealing with such complexity they would have been able to deal with such a language. But although such a scenario cannot be excluded a priori, the nagging question keeps coming back of where such complexity could have come from, almost as if it were improbable to accept the complexity as always having been there and at least more tempting to try to explain its origin.

 引用の最後に示唆されているように,Comrie 自身は,人類言語が最初から複雑だったという説には否定的のようだ.当初は単純だったものが徐々に複雑化してきた,という正反対の説を声高に表明しているわけでもないが,何らかの複雑化説を念頭に置いていると考えられる.

 ・ 「#293. 言語の難易度は測れるか」 ([2010-02-14-1])
 ・ 「#1839. 言語の単純化とは何か」 ([2014-05-10-1])
 ・ 「#2820. 言語の難しさについて」 ([2017-01-15-1])
 ・ 「#4165. 言語の複雑さについて再考」 ([2020-09-21-1])

 ・ Comrie, Barnard. "Reconstruction, Typology and Reality." Motives for Language Change. Ed. Raymond Hickey. Cambridge: CUP, 2003. 243--57.

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