#5404. 言語は名詞から始まったのか,動詞から始まったのか?[homo_sapiens][origin_of_language][evolution][history_of_linguistics][grammaticalisation][noun][verb][category][name_project][onomastics][naming]


 標題は解決しようのない疑問ではあるが,言語学史 (history_of_linguistics) においては言語の起源 (origin_of_language) をめぐる議論のなかで時々言及されてきた問いである.
 Mufwene (22) を参照して,2人の論者とその見解を紹介したい.ドイツの哲学者 Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744--1803) とアメリカの言語学者 William Dwight Whitney (1827--94) である.

   Herder also speculated that language started with the practice of naming. He claimed that predicates, which denote activities and conditions, were the first names; nouns were derived from them . . . . He thus partly anticipated Heine and Kuteva (2007), who argue that grammar emerged gradually, through the grammaticization of nouns and verbs into grammatical markers, including complementizers, which make it possible to form complex sentences. An issue arising from Herder's position is whether nouns and verbs could not have emerged concurrently. . . .
   On the other hand, as hypothesized by William Dwight Whitney . . . , the original naming practice need not have entailed the distinction between nouns and verbs and the capacity to predicate. At the same time, naming may have amounted to pointing with (pre-)linguistic signs; predication may have started only after hominins were capable of describing states of affairs compositionally, combining word-size units in this case, rather than holophrastically.

 Herder は言語は名付け (naming) の実践から始まったと考えた.ところが,その名付けの結果としての「名前」が最初は名詞ではなく述語動詞だったという.この辺りは意外な発想で興味深い.Herder は,名詞は後に動詞から派生したものであると考えた.これは現代の文法化 (grammaticalisation) の理論でいうところの文法範疇の創発という考え方に近いかもしれない.
 一方,Whitney は,言語は動詞と名詞の区別のない段階で一語表現 (holophrasis) に発したのであり,あくまで後になってからそれらの文法範疇が発達したと考えた.

 ・ Mufwene, Salikoko S. "The Origins and the Evolution of Language." Chapter 1 of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Ed. Keith Allan. Oxford: OUP, 2013. 13--52.

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