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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2018-06-23

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2018-06-23 Sat

#3344. 「言語で庭園で,話者は庭師」 [functionalism][language_change][systemic_regulation][teleology][invisible_hand][causation]

 Aitchison (175--76) が,言語に内在する自己統制機能 (systemic_regulation) を取り上げつつ,言語を庭園に,話者を庭師に喩えている.その上で,この比喩の解釈の仕方には3種類が区別されると述べ,それらを解説している.

[L]anguage has a remarkable instinct for self-preservation. It contains inbuilt self-regulating devices which restore broken patterns and prevent disintegration. More accurately, of course, it is the speakers of the language who perform these adjustments in response to some innate need to structure the information they have to remember.
   In a sense, language can be regarded as a garden, and its speakers as gardeners who keep the garden in a good state. How do they do this? There are at least three possible versions of this garden metaphor---a strong version, a medium version, and a weak version.
   In the strong version, the gardeners tackle problems before they arise. They are so knowledgeable about potential problems that they are able to forestall them. They might, for example, put weedkiller on the grass before any weeds spring up and spoil the beauty of the lawn. In other words, they practice prophylaxis.
   In the medium version, the gardeners nip problems in the bud, as it were. They wait until they occur, but then deal with them before they get out of hand like the Little Prince in Saint-Exupéry's fairy story, who goes round his small planet every morning rooting out baobab trees when they are still seedlings, before they can do any real damage.
   In the weak version of the garden metaphor, the gardener acts only when disaster has struck, when the garden is in danger of becoming a jungle, like the lazy man, mentioned by the Little Prince, who failed to root out three baobabs when they were still a manageable size, and faced a disaster on his planet.


 続く文脈で Aitchison は,強いヴァージョンの比喩に相当する証拠は見つかっていないことを説き,実際に取り得る解釈は,中間のヴァージョンと弱いヴァージョンの2つだろうと述べている.つまり,庭師は,庭園の秩序を崩壊させる要因の予防にまでは関わらないが,悪弊の芽が小さいうちに摘んでおくということはするし,あるいは秩序が崩壊寸前まで追い込まれた場合に大治療を施すということもする.話者(そして言語)は,予防医学ではなく対症療法を専門とする医師である,と喩えてもよいかもしれない.
 言語変化の「予防」と「治療」という観点については,「#837. 言語変化における therapy or pathogeny」 ([2011-08-12-1]),「#835. 機能主義的な言語変化観への批判」 ([2011-08-10-1]),「#546. 言語変化は個人の希望通りに進まない」 ([2010-10-25-1]),「#1979. 言語変化の目的論について再考」 ([2014-09-27-1]),「#2533. 言語変化の "spaghetti junction" (2)」 ([2016-04-03-1]),「#2539. 「見えざる手」による言語変化の説明」 ([2016-04-09-1]) も参照.

 ・ Aitchison, Jean. Language Change: Progress or Decay. 4th ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2013.

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