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最終更新時間: 2024-05-18 11:27

2024-02-06 Tue

#5398. ヘロドトスにみる言語の創成 [origin_of_language][greek][phrygian][herodotus][history_of_linguistics][popular_passage][bible][language_myth][heldio][voicy]

 「歴史の父」こと古代ギリシア歴史家ヘロドトス (Herodotus, B.C. 485?--425?) の手になる著『歴史』に,言語創成 (origin_of_language) に関する有名な話が記されている.古代エジプト第26王朝の初代の王であるプサンメティコス1世 (Psammetichus [Psamtik], B.C. 664--610) が,最も古い言語は何かを明らかにするために,新生児を用いてある実験をした,という言い伝えである.これについて,Perseus Digital Library のテキストコレクションより,Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley) の第2巻の第2章(英訳版)を引用する.

Now before Psammetichus became king of Egypt, the Egyptians believed that they were the oldest people on earth. But ever since Psammetichus became king and wished to find out which people were the oldest, they have believed that the Phrygians were older than they, and they than everybody else. Psammetichus, when he was in no way able to learn by inquiry which people had first come into being, devised a plan by which he took two newborn children of the common people and gave them to a shepherd to bring up among his flocks. He gave instructions that no one was to speak a word in their hearing; they were to stay by themselves in a lonely hut, and in due time the shepherd was to bring goats and give the children their milk and do everything else necessary. Psammetichus did this, and gave these instructions, because he wanted to hear what speech would first come from the children, when they were past the age of indistinct babbling. And he had his wish; for one day, when the shepherd had done as he was told for two years, both children ran to him stretching out their hands and calling "Bekos!" as he opened the door and entered. When he first heard this, he kept quiet about it; but when, coming often and paying careful attention, he kept hearing this same word, he told his master at last and brought the children into the king's presence as required. Psammetichus then heard them himself, and asked to what language the word "Bekos" belonged; he found it to be a Phrygian word, signifying bread. Reasoning from this, the Egyptians acknowledged that the Phrygians were older than they. This is the story which I heard from the priests of Hephaestus' temple at Memphis; the Greeks say among many foolish things that Psammetichus had the children reared by women whose tongues he had cut out.

 現代の観点からは1つの逸話にすぎないように思われるかもしれないが,言語の創成についてはいまだに分からないことが多いという事実は踏まえておく必要がある.もっと有名なもう1つの言い伝えは,言わずとしれた聖書の記述である.これについては「#2946. 聖書にみる言語の創成と拡散」 ([2017-05-21-1]) を参照.
 関連して「#4612. 言語の起源と発達を巡る諸問題」 ([2021-12-12-1]),「#4614. 言語の起源と発達を巡る諸説の昔と今」 ([2021-12-14-1]) も挙げておきたい.
 ちなみに,昨日の Voicy heldio にて関連する話題を取り上げた.「#980. 赤ちゃんは無言語状態で育てられても言語を習得できるのか? --- 目白大学の学生から寄せてもらった素朴な疑問」をお聴きいただければ.

Referrer (Inside): [2024-02-07-1]

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