#4337. Horne Tooke の語源奇書[etymology][dictionary][lexicography][webster][comparative_linguistics][jones]


 昨日の記事「#4336. Richardson の辞書の長所と短所」 ([2021-03-11-1]) で触れたように,Richardson はその独特な言語観と語源記述を Horne Tooke なる人物に負っている.Tooke は,その独善的な語源観により Richardson のみならず Webster をも迷妄に導いた,19世紀後半のイギリスの生んだ個性である.
 John Horne Tooke (1736--1812) は,1758年にケンブリッジ大学を卒業後,法律家志望ではあったが,父の希望により聖職に就いた.しかし,1773年に聖職を辞すと,アメリカ独立戦争に際して植民地側に立ち,急進的な政治運動を開始した.後のフランス革命にも同情的な立場を取り,国事犯として検挙されるなどの憂き目にあっている.
 そのような政治運動を展開する間,言語哲学への関心から語学的な著述も行なってきた.1778年には接続詞 that に関する著述 A Letter to John Dunning, Esq. を出している.そして,次著が問題の2巻ものの Epea Pteroenta or, the Diversions of Purley (1786, 1805) である.合計1000頁に及ぶ言語哲学と語源論に関する大著だ.これが,今となっては奇書といってしかるべき語源本なのである.
 Dixon によるこの奇人・奇書の解説文を引用しよう (150) .

   He [Tooke] maintained that originally language consisted just of nouns and verbs with everything else (adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, articles, and so on) being abbreviations of underlying noun and verb sequences. He also believed that each word had a definite meaning which had remained constant from its origin. What makes the modern reader squirm most is the way in which Horne Took applied these principles, absolutely off the top of his head. For example, conjunction through was believed to be related to noun door, and conjunction if was said to have come from the imperative form of verb give. If did have the form gif in Old English and verb give was giefan, but these are not cognate, the similarity of form being coincidental.)
   Sometimes there was vague similarity of form, other times not. 'I believe that up means the same as top or head, and is originally derived from a noun of the latter signification'. 'From means merely beginning, and nothing else', so that in 'Lamp hangs from cieling (sic)'), it is the case that 'Cieling (is) the place of beginning to hang.'
   There are dozens more of such mental meanderings, lacking any basis in fact. From actually goes back to preposition *per in PIE and up to PIE preposition *upo. It is true that some prepositions have developed from lexical words, but none in the way Horne Tooke imagined. Through relates to the PIE verb *tere- 'to cross over, pass through, overcome'. . . . Door is a development from *dhwer, which meant 'door, doorway' in PIE.
   Horne Tooke's book was simply a raft of wild ideas. There may have been other books of this nature, but the scarcely believable fact is that The Diversions of Purley was accepted by the British public as an example of brilliant insight. Philosopher James Mill found Horne Tooke's work 'profound and satisfactory', 'to be ranked with the very highest discoveries which illustrate the names of speculative men'. The account of conjunctions 'instantly appeared to the learned so perfectly satisfactory as to entitle the author to some of the highest honours of literature'.

 当時,近代言語学の走りとして William Jones により比較言語学 (comparative_linguistics) の端緒が開かれつつあったものの,イギリスへの本格的な導入はなされておらず,Tooke の俗耳に入りやすい前科学的な語源論は好評を博した(かの哲学者 James Mill も絶賛したほど).いや,むしろ Tooke の書により,イギリスへの比較言語学の導入が遅れたとすらいえるかもしれない(佐々木・木原,p. 353).
 しかし,1840年頃までには,イギリスは Tooke の迷妄から抜け出していた.Tooke の書は,"gratuitous", "incorrect", "fallacious", "frivolous" などの形容詞で評される時代となっていたのである (Dixon 151)

 ・ 佐々木 達,木原 研三 編 『英語学人名辞典』 研究社,1995年.
 ・ Dixon, R. M. W. The Unmasking of English Dictionaries. Cambridge: CUP, 2018.

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