#1258. なぜ「他動詞」が "transitive verb" なのか[terminology][verb][grammar][history_of_linguistics][etymology][dionysius_thrax]


 昨日の記事「#1257. なぜ「対格」が "accusative case" なのか」 ([2012-10-05-1]) に引き続き,文法用語の問題について.術後一般にいえることだろうが,文法用語には意味が自明でないものが多い.例えば,他動詞を "transitive verb" ,自動詞を "intransitive verb" と呼んでいるが,transitive とは何のことを指すのだろうか.
 transitive は,語源的にはラテン語 transitīvus に遡り,その基体となる動詞は transīre (trans- "over" + īre "to go") である.transitive は,全体として "going over, passing over" ほどの意味となる.OED で "transitive, a. (n.)" の語義およびその例文の1つを確認すると,次のようにあった.

2. a. Gram. Of verbs and their construction: Expressing an action which passes over to an object; taking a direct object to complete the sense.
. . . .
1590 J. Stockwood Rules Constr. 64 A verbe transitiue .. is such .. as passeth ouer his signification into some other thing, as when I say, 'I loue God'.

 ここから,動詞の表わす動作の影響が他のもの(目的語の指示するもの)へ「及ぶ」「伝わる」という点で,"going over, passing over" なのだとわかる.
 verbum transitīvum "transitive verb" という用語そのものではなくとも,動詞のこのとらえ方は,2世紀に古代ギリシア語文法を著わした Apollonius Dyscolus に帰せられる.Dionysius Thrax の Techne Grammatike を継承し,後の Priscian のラテン語文法にも大きな影響を与えた偉大な文法学者である.Dyscolus は,名詞(の格)と動詞の関係に注目し,動詞の用法を transitive, intransitive, passive へと分類した.言語学史における Dyscolus の評価を,Robins (47) より引用しておこう.

Syntax was dealt with extensively by Apollonius Dyscolus writing in Alexandria in the second century A. D. He wrote a large number of books, only some of which survive, and it would appear that despite earlier writings on Greek syntax his was the first attempt at a comprehensive syntactic description and analysis of the Greek language. His importance, together with that of the Téchnē, was realized by his successors, and the great Latin grammarian, Priscian, some three centuries later referred to him as 'the greatest authority on grammar', and explicitly imposed Apollonian methods on his own full-scale description of the Latin language.

 ・ Robins, R. H. A Short History of Linguistics. 4th ed. Longman: London and New York, 1997.

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