#621. 文法変化の進行の円滑さと速度[language_change][grammatical_change][speed_of_change]


 昨日の記事[2011-01-07-1]で "grammar blindness" の理由をいろいろ考察したが,特に (3) で触れた変化の速度について,音声と文法(形態と統語)の変化を比較してみよう.音声変化には相当に時間のかかるものがあることが知られている.例えば,有名なところでは大母音推移は1400〜1700年にかけて徐々に進行した ( see [2009-11-18-1] ) .しかし,多くの場合,音声変化は特定の条件下で進行するので,結果として整然と円滑に推移するのが通例である.

Morphological change is likely to diffuse more slowly than phonological change. This is because there are more morphemes than phonemes and there are more morphological environments to work through than phonological ones (Aitchison, "Missing Link" 25).
     Another difference is that morphological change usually shows a higher degree of irregularity than phonological change because slower changes are more likely to get involved in unexpected interferences as they proceed. The irregularity of morphological change is due also to the complexities of morphological categories. To take Early Middle English nouns for example, there are intertwined categories such as case, number, gender, and declension type. The complex interdependence of these categories make it difficult for any morphological change to proceed regularly.
     Furthermore, morphemes are associated with meanings while phonemes are normally not (phonaesthesia aside, of course). It is no wonder, therefore, that morphology is more subject to semantic association and analogy than phonology.
     One final point is that since morphology is more closely related to syntax than phonology, it is more likely to be conditioned by syntactic contexts as well. (Hotta 125)

 ・ Hotta, Ryuichi. The Development of the Nominal Plural Forms in Early Middle English. Hituzi Linguistics in English 10. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo, 2009.
 ・ Aitchison, Jean. "The Missing Link: The Role of the Lexicon." Historical Linguistics and Philology. Ed. J. Fisiak. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1990. 11--28.

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