#5282. Jespersen の「近似複数」の指摘[plural][number][numeral][personal_pronoun][personal_name][plural_of_approximation][semantics][pragmatics]


 昨日の記事「#5281. 近似複数」 ([2023-10-12-1]) で話題にした近似複数 (plural_of_approximation) について,最初に指摘したのは Jespersen (83--85) である.この原典は読み応えがあるので,そのまま引用したい.

          Plural of Approximation
   4.51 The sixties (cf. 4.12) has two meanings, first the years from 60 to 69 inclusive in any century; thus Seeley E 249 the seventies and the eighties of the eighteenth century | Stedman Oxford 152 in the "Seventies" [i.e. 1870, etc.] | in the early forties = early in the forties. Second it may mean the age of any individual person, when he is sixty, 61, etc., as in Wells U 316 responsible action is begun in the early twenties . . . Men marry before the middle thirties | Children's Birthday Book 182 While I am in the ones, I can frolic all the day; but when I'm in the tens, I must get up with the lark . . . When I'm in the twenties, I'll be like sister Joe . . . When I'm in the thirties, I'll be just like Mama.
   4.52. The most important instance of this plural is found in the pronouns of the first and second persons: we = I + one or more not-I's. The pl you (ye) may mean thou + thou + thou (various individuals addressed at the same time), or else thou + one or more other people not addressed at the moment; for the expressions you people, you boys, you all, to supply the want of a separate pl form of you see 2.87.
   A 'normal' plural of I is only thinkable, when I is taken as a quotation-word (cf. 8.2), as in Kipl L 66 he told the tale, the I--I--I's flashing through the record as telegraph-poles fly past the traveller; cf. also the philosophical plural egos or me's, rarer I's, and the jocular verse: Here am I, my name is Forbes, Me the Master quite absorbs, Me and many other me's, In his great Thucydides.
   4.53. It will be seen that the rule (given for instance in Latin grammars) that when two subjects are of different persons, the verb is in "the first person rather than the second, and in the second rather than the third" 'si tu et Tullia valetis, ego et Cicero valemus, Allen and Greenough, Lat. Gr. §317) is really superfluous, as a self-evidence consequence of the definition that "the first person plural is the first person singular plus some one else, etc." In English grammar the rule is even more superfluous, because no persons are distinguished in the plural of English verbs.
   When a body of men, in response to "Who will join me?", answer "We all will", their collective answers may be said to be an ordinary plural (class 1) of I (= many I's), though each individual "we will" means really nothing more than "I will, and B and C . . . will, too" in conformity with the above definition. Similarly in a collective document: "We, the undersigned citizens of the city of . . ."
   4.54. The plural we is essentially vague and in no wise indicates whom the speaker wants to include besides himself. Not even the distinction made in a great many African and other languages between one we meaning 'I and my own people, but not you', and another we meaning 'I + you (sg or pl)' is made in our class of languages. But very often the resulting ambiguity is remedied by an appositive addition; the same speaker may according to circumstances say we brothers, we doctors, we Yorkshiremen, we Europeans, we gentlemen, etc. Cf. also GE M 2.201 we people who have not been galloping. --- Cf. for 4.51 ff. PhilGr p. 191 ff.
   4.55. Other examples of the pl of approximation are the Vincent Crummleses, etc. 4.42. In other languages we have still other examples, as when Latin patres many mean pater + mater, Italian zii = zio + zia, Span. hermanos = hermano(s) + hermana(s), etc.


 ・ Jespersen, Otto. A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles. Part 2. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Heidelberg: C. Winter's Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1922.

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