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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2014-05-14

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2014-05-14 Wed

#1843. conservative radicalism [language_change][personal_pronoun][contact][homonymic_clash][homonymy][conjunction][demonstrative][me_dialect][wave_theory][systemic_regulation][causation][functionalism][she]

 「#941. 中英語の言語変化はなぜ北から南へ伝播したのか」 ([2011-11-24-1]) は,いまだ説得力をもって解き明かされていない英語史の謎である.常識的には,社会的影響力のある London を中心とするイングランド南部方言が言語変化の発信地となり,そこから北部など周辺へ伝播していくはずだが,中英語ではむしろ逆に北部方言の言語項が南部方言へ降りていくという例が多い.
 この問題に対して,Millar は Samuels 流の機能主義的な立場から,"conservative radicalism" という解答を与えている.例として取り上げている言語変化は,3人称複数代名詞 they による古英語形 hīe の置換と,そこから玉突きに生じたと仮定されている,接続詞 though による þeah の置換,および指示詞 those による tho の置換だ.

   The issue with ambiguity between the third person singular and plural forms was also sorted through the borrowing of Northern usage, although on this occasion through what had been an actual Norse borrowing (although it would be very unlikely that southern speakers would have been aware of the new form's provenance --- if they cared): they. Interestingly, the subject form came south earlier than the oblique them and possessive their. Chaucer, for instance, uses the first but not the other two, where he retains native <h> forms. This type of usage represents what I have termed conservative radicalism (Millar 2000; in particular pp. 63--4). Northern forms are employed to sort out issues in more prestigious dialects, but only in 'small homeopathic doses'. The problem (if that is the right word) is that the injection of linguistically radical material into a more conservative framework tends to encourage more radical importations. Thus them and their(s) entered written London dialect (and therefore Standard English) in the generation after Chaucer's death, possibly because hem was too close to him and hare to her. If the 'northern' forms had not been available, everyone would probably have 'soldiered on', however.
   Moreover, the borrowing of they meant that the descendant of Old English þeah 'although' was often its homophone. Since both of these are function words, native speakers must have felt uncomfortable with using both, meaning that the northern (in origin Norse) conjunction though was brought into southern systems. This borrowing led to a further ambiguity, since the plural of that in southern England was tho, which was now often homophonous with though. A new plural --- those --- was therefore created. Samuels (1989a) demonstrates these problems can be traced back to northern England and were spread by 'capillary motion' to more southern areas. These changes are part of a much larger set, all of which suggest that northern influence, particularly at a subconscious or covert level, was always present on the edges of more southerly dialects and may have assumed a role as a 'fix' to sort out ambiguity created by change.


 ここで Millar が Conservative radicalism の名のもとで解説している北部形が南部の体系に取り込まれていくメカニズムは,きわめて機能主義的といえるが,そのメカニズムが作用する前提として,方言接触 (dialect contact) と諸変異形 (variants) の共存があったという点が重要である.接触 (contact) の結果として形態の変異 (variation) の機会が生まれ,体系的調整 (systemic regulation) により,ある形態が採用されたのである.ここには「#1466. Smith による言語変化の3段階と3機構」 ([2013-05-02-1]) で紹介した言語変化の3機構 contact, variation, systemic regulation が出そろっている.Millar の conservative radicalism という考え方は,一見すると不可思議な北部から南部への言語変化の伝播という問題に,一貫した理論的な説明を与えているように思える.
 theythough の変化に関する個別の話題としては,「#975. 3人称代名詞の斜格形ではあまり作用しなかった異化」 ([2011-12-28-1]) と「#713. "though" と "they" の同音異義衝突」 ([2011-04-10-1]) を参照.
 なお,Millar (119--20) は,3人称女性単数代名詞 she による古英語 hēo の置換の問題にも conservative radicalism を同じように適用できると考えているようだ.she の問題については,「#792. she --- 最も頻度の高い語源不詳の語」 ([2011-06-28-1]), 「#793. she --- 現代イングランド方言における異形の分布」 ([2011-06-29-1]),「#827. she の語源説」 ([2011-08-02-1]),「#974. 3人称代名詞の主格形に作用した異化」([2011-12-27-1]) を参照.

 ・ Millar, Robert McColl. English Historical Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2012.

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