#2513. Samuels の "linguistic evolution"[terminology][evolution][language_change]


 言語進化論は,近年盛んに唱えられるようになってきた言語(変化)観であり,歴史言語学において1つの潮流となっている.本ブログでは「#432. 言語変化に対する三つの考え方」 ([2010-07-03-1]),「#519. 言語の起源と進化を探る研究分野」 ([2010-09-28-1]),「#520. 歴史言語学は言語の起源と進化の研究とどのような関係にあるか」 ([2010-09-29-1]),「#2260. 言語進化論の課題」 ([2015-07-05-1]) ほか evolution の各記事で関連する話題を取り上げてきた.
 Samuels (1) は早くから "linguistic evolution" を論じて言語変化を研究した論者の1人だが,その古典的著作の冒頭で "linguistic change" ではなくあえて "linguistic evolution" という用語をタイトルに用いた理由について述べている.

The title of this book ('Linguistic Evolution') was chosen in preference to 'Linguistic Change' although it is about linguistic change. This is because its purpose is to attempt an examination of the large complex of different factors involved, and the title 'Linguistic Change' might have entailed an oversimplification.

 言語変化には複数の要因が複雑に関与しており (multiple causation of language change),その複雑さをあまりに単純化してただ "change" として扱うことに抵抗があるということのようだ.上の引用に続けて,Samuels (1) は "linguistic evolution" という用語が誤解を招きやすいことをも認めており,注意を促している."evolution" が「進歩,前進」という道徳的な含意をもつことがあるからだろう.

Nevertheless 'evolution' is itself open to the misunderstanding that some sort of progress is implied, that a clearer or more effective means of communication has been achieved as a result of it. That meaning of 'evolution' is not intended here. We are not concerned here with the prehistoric origins of human language, and, as has often been pointed out, there is today no such thing as a 'primitive' language, every language is of approximately equal value for the purposes for which it has evolved, whether it belongs to an advanced or a primitive culture.

 では,Samuels のいう "linguistic evolution" とはいかなるものか.それは,継承形態と現在の表現上の要求という相反するものの均衡を保とうとする融通性の高い装置ということのようだ.

. . . it would appear, on the one hand, that both externally and internally in language development an equilibrium must be maintained between the old and the new, between the inherited forms and the expressive needs of the present; but at the same time, that the margin of tolerance and choice in the maintenance of that equilibrium is probably fairly wide, except, that is, for certain especial points of pressure that vary in each era. It is in that sense that 'evolution' is intended here.

 Samuels にとって(そして,現在の多くの言語進化論者にとって),"linguistic evolution" とは,言語変化に関する普遍的な方向性を示すというよりは,言語変化に働く潜在的な力学を指していう用語である.

 ・ Samuels, M. L. Linguistic Evolution with Special Reference to English. London: CUP, 1972.

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