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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2022-02-23

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2022-02-23 Wed

#4685. Campbell による glottochronology 批判 [glottochronology][history_of_linguistics][comparative_linguistics][methodology]

 アメリカの言語学者 Swadesh により提唱された glottochronology (言語年代学)については,「#1128. glottochronology」 ([2012-05-29-1]),「#1729. glottochronology 再訪」 ([2014-01-20-1]),「#2659. glottochronology と lexicostatistics」 ([2016-08-07-1]),「#2660. glottochronology と基本語彙」 ([2016-08-08-1]),「#2661. Swadesh (1952) の選んだ言語年代学用の200語」 ([2016-08-09-1]) をはじめとして glottochronology の各記事で取り上げてきた.
 個別言語の基本語彙はゆっくりではあるが一定の速度で置き換えられていくという仮説に基づく歴史言語研究の方法論だが,言語学の主流派からは手厳しい非難を浴びており,すでに過去の仮説とみなされることも多い.様々な批判があるが,今回は短いながらも的確な Campbell の議論 (264) に耳を傾けてみよう.実に手厳しい.

Glottochronology, which depends on basic, relatively culture-free vocabulary, has been rejected by most linguists, since all its basic assumptions have been challenged . . . . Therefore, it warrants little discussion here; suffice it to say that it does not find or test relationships, but rather it assumes that the languages compared are related and proceeds to attach a date based on the number of core-vocabulary words that are similar between the languages compared. This, then, is no method for determining whether languages are related or not.
   A question about lexical evidence in long-range relationships has to do with the loss or replacement of vocabulary over time. It is commonly believed that "comparable lexemes must inevitably diminish to near the vanishing point the deeper one goes in comparing remotely related languages" . . . , and this does not depend on glottochronology's assumption of a constant rate of basic vocabulary loss through time and across languages. In principle, related languages long separated may undergo so much vocabulary replacement that insufficient shared original vocabulary will remain for an ancient shared kinship to be detected. This constitutes a serious problem for those who believe in deep relationships supported solely by lexical evidence.


 ・ Campbell, Lyle. "How to Show Languages are Related: Methods for Distant Genetic Relationship." Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Ed. Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda. Oxford: Blackwell, 262--82.

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