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最終更新時間: 2024-07-23 10:17

2024-01-26 Fri

#5387. methinks のたどった変化は文法化でもあるし語彙化でもある [lexicalisation][grammaticalisation][methinks][semantic_change][subjectivication][intersubjectivication]

 この2日間の記事で,興味深い振る舞いを示す methinks の話題を取り上げてきた(「#5385. methinks にまつわる妙な語形をいくつか紹介」 ([2024-01-24-1]) および「#5386. 英語史上きわめて破格な3単過の -s」 ([2024-01-25-1])).
 Wischer は,この周辺的な表現の歴史を調査し,それが経てきた変化は文法化 (grammaticalisation) の側面をもつとともに,語彙化 (lexicalisation) の側面ももつ変化であると論じた.例えば,methinks に(間)主観的意味の発生や命題的意味の消失という点では文法化の事例と考えられるし,一方で義務性の欠如という点ではむしろ語彙的な性質を示しており,語彙化の1例とも考えられ得る.Wischer (365) より,論文の結論部を引用する.

   Methinks passed through a syntactic lexicalization process which was not accompanied by an addition of a specific semantic component, but rather by an opposite semantic change: Impersonal think has no longer a meaning of its own. It cannot combine with other persons any more (*himthinks, *us thought ...). So, methinks has lost its original propositional meaning denoting an act of cognition and has acquired an exclusively speaker-oriented, or interpersonal, meaning. This change can be regarded as an increase in subjectivity. Thus it operates as a marker of evidentiality, and as such it has become a member of a relatively closed class. Although we can notice an increase in frequency in Early Modern English, methinks never becomes obligatory, but always stands in free variation with expressions like I think, it seems to me, obviously etc. Grammatical elements of this kind are less constrained and therefore situated at the periphery of grammar.
   And this must also be the reason for the relatively shortlasting existence of methinks. Linguistic elements, once they are grammaticalized, normally have a rather stable position in the language, whereas lexical units are less constrained, more flexible and pass out of existence more easily.

 文法化と語彙化という2つの過程は,必ずしも相反するものではない.それぞれに重なり合うところもあれば,異なるところもある,そのような関係だということになる.methinks の遂げた変化は複雑であり,1つの過程に落とし込んで説明するのは難しい.

 ・ Wischer, Ilse. "Grammaticalization versus Lexicalization: 'Methinks' there is some confusion." Pathways of Change: Grammaticalization in English. Ed. Olga Fischer, Anette Rosenbach, and Dieter Stein. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000. 355--70.

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