2017年03月13日

消えゆく3つの文法

 Voice of America の Everyday Grammar という番組を聞きましょう。やさしい、ゆっくりとした英語です。

 きょうは「Three Grammar Rules That Are Dying
」 というタイトルです。

 スクリプトを下に示します。下のシークバーをクリックすると音声が流れます。6分50秒あります。

 また、いろいろな文法用語を英語で覚えることもできます。文法用語は、辞書で調べて、日本語での用語と併せて覚えておきましょう。
  また、英語で英文法を学ぶと、意外と日本語で学習するよりも理解しやすいことが分かるのではないでしょうか。
 右に見える『会話に活かす英文法を英語で学ぶ本』も、どうぞご活用ください。

 音声が低いなと感じたら、左のスピーカーマークの「」で調整してください。




 For VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.

 Today we have good news for English learners.

 Just as words come and go in English, so do grammar rules. Today we will show you three difficult grammar rules that are disappearing from American English.


Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

 When I was in school, my English teacher told me that it is wrong to end a sentence with a preposition. For example, “Who are you talking to?” The last word of the sentence, to, is a preposition. In traditional grammar, you would have to move the preposition before the subject.

“To whom are you talking?”


 The rule applies to statements as well as questions.

 “I know where you’re from,” would be, “I know from where you come.” Today, it sounds very old--fashioned to speak this way.

 The rule against ending a sentence with a preposition goes back to the 18th century, when it was fashionable to borrow grammar rules from Latin. British grammarians celebrated Latin as a pure and logical language. They thought they could improve English by importing Latin grammar rules.

 One of the Latin rules that survives in English is the ban on ending a sentence with a preposition. But some of the most common phrases in everyday English ignore the rule.

  Who are you talking to?
  I don’t know what you’re talking about.
  Who are you waiting for?

 Did you notice how all of these sentences end in prepositions? If you followed the Latin grammar rule, they would sound like this:

  To whom are you talking?
  I don’t know about what you are talking.
  For whom are you waiting?


 As you might hear, these sentences sound overly formal, even a bit snobbish. The word order, borrowed from Latin, does not feel natural in English.

 Fortunately, the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition is disappearing. A large number of writers and editors say it is acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. The Economist, a 150--year-old British news magazine, called the rule “an invented bit of silliness rightly ignored by many excellent publications.”


Whom

 Another rule that is disappearing is the requirement of using whom when referring to an object pronoun.

 Whom is the object form of who. Grammatically speaking, whom has the same function as other object pronouns, such as me, him, her, and them. For example, “There’s the man about whom I was speaking.”

 If you put a preposition before whom, you can easily avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. For example, “Who did you go with?” becomes very the formal “With whom did you go?”

 Does all this sound unnecessary and confusing? It is.

 Fortunately, whom is rarely used in spoken American English today. More and more publications have stopped using it. In fact, whom has been dying for the past 200 years.

 But it still has a place in formal writing. And test makers often make questions with whom to confuse students. A few pronouns have died completely, including ye, thee, thy, and thine. They do, however, still appear in religious texts and classic literature.


The singular their, they, them

 A third dying rule involves third-person pronouns. English does not have a single word to say both he and she. In other words, there is no gender-neutral singular third--person pronoun. So what do you say when you do not know if someone is male or female?
 
 In the past, people used the male pronoun he to refer to all people. “Every student has his own opinion.” In later years, his or her came into use. “Everybody has his or her own opinion.” The change from his to his or her reflected the power of the women’s movement in the 1970s.

 But many speakers found that his or her sounded a little strange, especially in conversation.

 Today more people say, “Every student has their own opinion.” This example uses the plural their with the singular student. Their means the subject could be male or female. But it breaks a very old and very basic grammar rule: pronouns and their antecedents are supposed to agree in number.

 But when you say, “Every student has their own opinion,” the singular student does not match the plural their. So is it wrong to say, “Every student has their own opinion”? Well, it depends on who (or whom!) you ask.

 More and more mainstream media organizations are allowing they, them, and their as a gender--neutral pronoun. But disagreement remains. Like fashion and etiquette, grammar changes over time.

 ​Why not invent a gender--neutral pronoun for English? After all, languages like Swedish and Indonesian have one. Plenty of people have tried. However, more than 100 attempts to create a gender- -neutral pronoun in English have failed.

I’m Jill Robbins.
And I'm John Russell.

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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 18:35| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法

by のつかない受身形の行為主は、誰?



 英語の受身形の文は、<主語+be動詞+過去分詞+by+行為主>だと学習しますね。

  His son broke the window.
     ↓
  The window was broken by his son.


のように、by のあとに行為主を続けますね。ですが、下の文のように <be動詞+過去分詞+with>など、by ではない前置詞が続くと習う文もあったりします。

  The streets were covered with snow this morning.

 ですが、この with snowsnow は行為主ではありませんね。with は 「材料・成分」 を表す前置詞です。

 by ... が省略されている受身形でも、実際には下の文のように行為主があることは多いわけですよね。by ... は省略されますが、people living there が行為主であることははっきりしています。

  English is spoken in Canada (by people living there).

 しかし、上の The streets were covered .... の文では、行為主ははっきりしませんね。誰なのでしょう?

 このほかにも、I’m tired. とか I was born in 1990. など、人生の節目を表す表現や心情を表す表現などでは、by ... のない受動態が使われます。

 こうした文の「tired born は形容詞だ」という意見もありますが、もともとは過去分詞ですね。

 さて、こういった文の行為主を God(神)だと考えてみたらどうでしょうか。生まれることや結婚のこと、また心の状態などはすべて神のなせる業だと考えると得心が行きます。

  The streets were covered with snow this morning by God.
  I was born in 1990 by God.
  I'll be pleased by God if you help me.



 これは私の勝手な解釈です。あまり信じませんように。

 『会話に活かす英文法を英語で学ぶ本』は、こちらからどうぞ。


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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 10:53| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法