#4593. 語用論的な if you like 「こう言ってよければ」の発展[pragmatics][discourse_marker][lmode][construction_grammar][politeness][comment_clause][syntax][constructionalisation]


 if you like/choose/prefer/want/wish/will という表現は,if you wish it to be so called 「こう言ってよければ」ほどの意味で,挿入句として口語でよく用いられる.形式的には if を用いた条件節だが,論理的に帰結節の内容と結びつくわけではなく,あくまでメタ言語的に用いられる.3つほど例文を挙げてみよう.

 ・ It was, if you like, an error of judgment.
 ・ He, or She, if you prefer, could do better than that.
 ・ Music, if you will, is medicine.

 このような語用論的な使い方の「if you + 選択動詞」構文を,Brinton (273) は "if-EC" (= if-elliptical clause) と呼んでいる.この構文の発生は比較的新しく,後期近代英語のことらしい.その原型として Call it cruelty if you like, not mercy. のような "call it X" 構文があったのではないかと提案している.構文化 (constructionalisation) を念頭に置いた議論だが,Brinton (290) の論考の結論部を引用しよう.

In conclusion, elliptical if-ECs --- if you choose/like/prefer/want/wish --- all serve metalinguistic and politeness functions in PDE; like and prefer are particularly common in these functions. The clauses make their appearance in the LModE period. Semantically the metalinguistic meanings of if-ECs can be seen as developing from the concrete propositional meaning 'if you choose to do X'. The syntactic derivation of these clauses is problematic, however, because it is impossible to trace their origin back to bipartite (protasis-apodosis) structures where the valency of the verbs is complete. Reconstruction of the complement of the verb in the if-clause proves difficult because of the varied complement structures found historically and the rarity of such structures with metalinguistic meaning. While if-ECs in their propositional meaning typically occur with an explicit apodosis (if you want, open the window), apodoses never occur when the if-ECs function metalinguistically (it's large, even gargantuan, if you wish [*you may say so]). Despite its rather late attestation, a more plausible source for the if-EC is the 'call it X' pattern, which is inherently metalinguistic. Metalinguistic if-ECs may result from constructionalisation of the 'call it X' pattern in conjunction with explicitly metalinguistic if you V- clauses.


 ・ Brinton, Laurel. "If you choose/like/prefer/want/wish: The Origin of Metalinguistic and Politeness Functions." Late Modern English Syntax. Ed. Marianne Hundt. Cambridge: CUP, 2014. 271--90.

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