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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2017-11-03

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2017-11-03 Fri

#3112. カオス理論と言語変化 (2) [chaos_theory][language_change][teleology][invisible_hand][complex_system]

 昨日の記事 ([2017-11-02-1]) に引き続いての話題.カオス理論と言語変化の接点に注目した英語史研究者に Smith がいる.Smith (194) は,言語変化について次のように述べている.

Change . . . is the result of the complex interaction of extralinguistic and intralinguistic developments, and any resulting change itself interacts with further developments to produce yet more change. The conception is therefore a dynamic one . . . .


 Smith (195) は,上のように述べた後で,このような多様な側面をもつ言語変化を「カオス理論」で説明され得る現象として提示している.

   Such a multifarious conception of language change . . . seems to correspond to the most recent paradigm in both the natural and human sciences: 'chaos-theory'. Chaos-theory is really about order, about the way in which order results from complex interaction. The best-known popular example of this process --- the butterfly stamping in the forest causing a storm a thousand miles away --- is really about how a tiny innovation can make a difference, by interacting with other innovations to produce a snowball effect. If language is a metastable system deployed by interacting innovative and conservative language-users, it does not, in a chaotic world, require or imply some divine plan or overall grand design. Rather, living languages are the result of what Dawkins has called a 'blind watchmaker' effect, whereby order comes out of chaos.
   Such an approach is hardly revolutionary, and . . . no claims of special newness are made here.


 Smith は,言語変化を,言語に関与する種々の要素の "complex interaction" のたまものとしてとらえている.Smith の言語変化観については,「#1123. 言語変化の原因と歴史言語学」 ([2012-05-24-1]),「#1466. Smith による言語変化の3段階と3機構」 ([2013-05-02-1]),「#1928. Smith による言語レベルの階層モデルと動的モデル」 ([2014-08-07-1]) を参照.上の引用にもある "blind watchmaker" の比喩と関連して,teleologyinvisible_hand の記事もどうぞ.

 ・ Smith, Jeremy J. An Historical Study of English: Function, Form and Change. London: Routledge, 1996.

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