#4785. It is ... that ... の強調構文の古英語からの例[syntax][cleft_sentence][personal_pronoun][oe]


 学校文法で「強調構文」と呼ばれる統語構造は,英語学では「分裂文」 (cleft_sentence) と称されることが多い.分裂文の起源と発達については「#2442. 強調構文の発達 --- 統語的現象から語用的機能へ」 ([2016-01-03-1]),「#3754. ケルト語からの構造的借用,いわゆる「ケルト語仮説」について」 ([2019-08-07-1]),「#4595. 強調構文に関する「ケルト語仮説」」 ([2021-11-25-1]) などで取り上げてきた.
 歴史的事実としては,使用例は古英語からみられる.ただし,古英語では,it はほとんど用いられず,省略されるか,あるいは þæt が用いられた.Visser (§63) より,いくつか例を示そう.

   63---g. The type 'It is father who did it.'
   This periphrastic construction is used to bring a part of a syntactical unit into prominence; it is especially employed when contrast has to be expressed: 'It is father (not mother) who did it'. In Old English hit is omitted (e.g. O. E. Gosp., John VI, 63, 'Gast is se þe geliffæst'; O. E. Homl. ii, 234, 'min fæder is þe me wuldrað') or its place is taken by þæt (e.g. Ælfred, Boeth. 34, II, 'is þæt for mycel gcynd þæt urum lichoman cymð eall his mægen of þam mete þe we þicgaþ'; Wulfstan, Polity (Jost) p. 127 則183, þæt is laðlic lif, þæt hi swa maciað; O. E. Chron. an. 1052, 'þæt wæs on þone monandæg ... þæt Godwine mid his scipum to suðgeweorce becom'). This pronoun þæt is still so used in: Orm 8465, 'þætt wass þe lond off Galileo þætt himm wass bedenn sekenn'.

 中英語以降は it がよく使用されるようになったようだ.
 名詞(句)ではなく時間や場所を表わす副詞(句)が強調される例も,上記にある通りすでに古英語からみられるが,それに対する Visser (§63) の解釈が注目に値する.そのような場合の is は意味的に happens に近いという.

When it was, it is has an adverbial adjunct of time or place as a complement, (as e.g. in 'It was on the first of May that I saw him first'), to be is not a copula, but the notional to be with the sense 'to happen', 'to take place' that also occurs in constructions of a different pattern, such as are found in e.g. C1350 Will. Palerne 1930, 'Manly on þe morwe þat mariage schuld bene; 1947 H. Eustis, The Horizontal Man (Penguin) 41, 'Keep your trap shut when you don't know what you're talking about, which is usually'; Pres. D. Eng.: 'The flower-show was last week' (OED).


 ・ Visser, F. Th. An Historical Syntax of the English Language. 3 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1963--1973.

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