#3766. なぜ send -- sent -- sent なのか?[verb][conjugation][inflection][consonant][tense][preterite][participle][sobokunagimon][degemination]


 標題は bend -- bent -- bent, lend -- lent -- lent, rend -- rent -- rent, wend -- went -- went などとともに語末が -nd -- -nt -- -nt となるタイプの不規則動詞だが,なぜ過去・過去分詞形において無声の -t が現われるのかは,歴史的には必ずしも明らかにされていない.feel -- felt -- felt, keep -- kept -- kept など,過去・過去分詞形として -t を示す他の動詞からの類推 (analogy) によるものと説かれることもあるが,さほど説得力があるわけでもない.
 音韻論的には,send の過去・過去分詞形が sent となる理由はない.古英語において,sendan の過去形は典型的に sende であり sent(en) には発展し得ない.同様に,過去分詞形は (ge)send(ed) であり,やはり sent にはなり得ないのだ.したがって,この -t は音韻過程の結果とみることはできず,類推なり何なりの形態過程によってもたらされた新機軸ということになる.
 実際 -t を示す過去・過去分詞形が現われるのは,13世紀になってからのことである.古英語でも3単現形 sendeþ が縮約 (contraction) を起こして sent となるケースは頻繁にあったが,それはあくまで3単現形であり,過去形でも過去分詞形でもない.Jespersen (33--34) は以下のように,この頻用された3単現の形態が過去・過去分詞にも転用されたのではないかという説に消極的に与している.しかし,苦しい説と言わざるを得ないように思われる.今のところ,謎というよりほかない.

In the send--sent group OE suppressed the d of the stem before the ending: sendan, sende, gesend(ed). I have often thought that the ME innovation sent(e) may originally have stood for sendd with a long, emphatic d to distinguish it from the prs form. This explanation, however, does not account for felt, meant, left, etc.
   There is a remarkably full treatment of Origin and Extension of the Voiceless Preterit and the Past Participle Inflections of the English Irregular Weak Verb Conjugation by Albert H. Marckwardt in Essays and Studies in English and Comparative Literature by Members of the English Department of the Univ. of Michigan (Ann Arbor 1935). He traces the beginning of these t-forms back to the eleventh century and then follows their chronological and geographical spreading from century to century up to the year 1400, thus just the period where the subject-matter of my own work begins. There is accordingly no occasion here to deal with details in Marckwardt's exposition, but only to mention that according to him the first germ of these 't'-forms lay in stems in -nd, -ld and -rd. The third person sg of the present of such a verb as OE sendan was often shortened into sent from sendeþ. On the analogy of such very frequently occurring syncopated presents the t was transferred to the prt and ptc. It must be admitted that this assumption is more convincing than the analogy adduced by previous scholars, but it is rather difficult to explain why the t-forms spread, e.g., to such verbs as leave : left. From the point of view of Modern English Grammar, however, we must be content to leave this question open: we must take forms as we find them in the period with which we are concerned.

 ・ Jespersen, Otto. A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles. Part VI. Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard, 1942.

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