#4315. 能格言語の発想から英語をみる[ergative][case][middle_voice][passive][voice][semantic_role]


 昨日の記事「#4314. 能格言語は言語の2割を占める」 ([2021-02-17-1]) にて,統語意味論的なカテゴリーとしての能格 (ergative) に触れた.英語は能格言語ではなく対格言語であり,直接には関係しない話題とも思われるかもしれないが,能格性 (ergativity) という観点から英語を見直してみると,新鮮な発見がある.動詞の自他の問題と密接に関わってくるし,受動態 (passive) や中動態 (middle_voice) の問題とも深く交わる.実際,動詞の自他の区別は英語の動詞や構文を考える際の伝統的で基本的な見方を提供してくれているが,これを能格性の視点から見直すと,景色がガランと変わってくるのだ.
 Malmkjær (532) の "Ergativity" の項の一部を引用する.

Complementary to the transitive model of the grammar is the ergative model, an additional property of the system of transivitity, which foregrounds the role of Agency in providing a 'generalised representational structure common to every English clause' (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 281). This system is simultaneous with those of process type and circumstance . . . . Here the key variable is not a model of extension, as in transitivity, but of causation: 'The question at issue is: is the process brought about from within, or from outside?' (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 287). Every process must have one participant central to the actualisation of the process; 'without which there would be no process at all' (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 288). This is the Medium and along with the process forms the nucleus of the clause. The Medium is obligatory and is the only necessary participant, if the process is represented as being self-engendering. If the process is engendered from outside, then there is an additional participant, the Agent. Options in the ergative model of transitivity define the voice, or agency, of the clause. A clause with no feature of 'agency' is neither active nor passive but middle (for example, Europeans arrives). One with agency is non-middle, or effective, in agency (for example, Europeans invaded Australia). An effective clause is then either operative or receptive in voice. In an operative clause, the Subject is the Agent and the process is realised by an active verbal group; in a receptive clause the Subject is the Medium and the process is realised by a passive verbal group (Australia was invaded by Europeans) (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 297).

 昨日も触れたように,世界の諸言語には対格言語 (accusative language) と能格言語 (ergative language) という2大タイプがある.各々 transitivity 重視の言語と ergativity 重視の言語と言い換えてもよい.文法観の大きく異なるタイプではあるが,一方に属する言語を他方の発想で眺めてみると,新たな洞察が得られる.結局のところ,人間が言語で表現したいことを表現する方法には少数のパターンしかなく,表面的には異なっているようにみえても,それはコード化の方法を少しく違えているにすぎない,と評することもできそうだ.

 ・ Malmkjær, Kirsten, ed. The Routledge Linguistics Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.
 ・ Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiessen, C. M. I.M. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 3rd ed. London: Edward Arnold, 2004.

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