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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2018-02-20

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2018-02-20 Tue

#3221. 意味変化の不可避性 [semantic_change][semantics][esperanto][artificial_language]

 Algeo and Pyles は,語の意味の変化を論じた章の最後で,意味変化の不可避性を再確認している.そこで印象的なのは,Esperanto などの人工言語の話題を持ち出しながら,そのような言語的理想郷と意味変化の不可避性が相容れないことを熱く語っている点だ.少々長いが,"SEMANTIC CHANGE IS INEVITABLE" と題する問題の節を引用しよう (243--44) .

   It is a great pity that language cannot be the exact, finely attuned instrument that deep thinkers wish it to be. But the facts are, as we have seen, that the meaning of practically any word is susceptible to change of one sort or another, and some words have so many individual meanings that we cannot really hope to be absolutely certain of the sum of these meanings. But it is probably quite safe to predict that the members of the human race, homines sapientes more or less, will go on making absurd noises with their mouths at one another in what idealists among them will go on considering a deplorably sloppy and inadequate manner, and yet manage to understand one another well enough for their own purposes.
   The idealists may, if they wish, settle upon Esperanto, Ido, Ro, Volapük, or any other of the excellent scientific languages that have been laboriously constructed. The game of construction such languages is still going on. Some naively suppose that, should one of these ever become generally used, there would be an end to misunderstanding, followed by an age of universal brotherhood---the assumption being that we always agree with and love those whom we understand, though the fact is that we frequently disagree violently with those whom we understand very well. (Cain doubtless understood Abel well enough.)
   But be that as it may, it should be obvious, if such an artificial language were by some miracle ever to be accepted and generally used, it would be susceptible to precisely the kind of changes in meaning that have been our concern in this chapter as well as to such change in structure as have been our concern throughout---the kind of changes undergone by those natural languages that have evolved over the eons. And most of the manifold phenomena of life---hatred, disease, famine, birth, death, sex, war, atoms, isms, and people, to name only a few---would remain as messy and hence as unsatisfactory to those unwilling to accept them as they have always been, no matter what words we use in referring to them.


 私の好きなタイプの文章である.なお,引用の最後で "no matter what words we use in referring to them" と述べているのは,onomasiological change/variation に関することだろう.Algeo and Pyles は,semasiological change と onomasiological change を合わせて,広く「意味変化」ととらえていることがわかる.
 人工言語の抱える意味論上の問題点については,「#961. 人工言語の抱える問題」 ([2011-12-14-1]) の (4) を参照.関連して「#963. 英語史と人工言語」 ([2011-12-16-1]) もどうぞ.また,「#1955. 意味変化の一般的傾向と日常性」 ([2014-09-03-1]) もご覧ください.

 ・ Algeo, John, and Thomas Pyles. The Origins and Development of the English Language. 5th ed. Thomson Wadsworth, 2005.

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