02:16
TED2007

Murray Gell-Mann: The ancestor of language

マレー・ゲルマンの言語の祖先について

Filmed:

TED2007での物理学の美しさについての講演の後、驚異のマレー・ゲルマンが、もう一つ情熱を傾ける対象である「現在用いられている言語に共通する祖先を探すこと」について、簡単にその概観を語ります。

- Physicist
Murray Gell-Mann brings visibility to a crucial aspect of our existence that we can't actually see: elemental particles. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for introducing quarks, one of two fundamental ingredients for all matter in the universe. Full bio

Well, I'm involved in other things, besides physics.
さて、私は物理学以外も研究しています。
00:13
In fact, mostly now in other things.
実を言えば、今は物理学以外のことをしているのがほとんどです。
00:17
One thing is distant relationships among human languages.
その中の一つは、人間の言語の古い関係についてです。
00:19
And the professional, historical linguists in the U.S.
米国や西欧の歴史言語学の専門家たちはもっぱら、
00:24
and in Western Europe mostly try to stay away
言語間の大きな分類や、
00:28
from any long-distance relationships, big groupings,
今用いられている語族よりもずっと昔まで遡る分類など、
00:31
groupings that go back a long time,
あらゆる太古からの関係を避けようとしているのです。
00:35
longer than the familiar families.
そのような考え方を好まないのです。
00:38
They don't like that. They think it's crank. I don't think it's crank.
突飛な考えだと思っている。私はそうは思いません。
00:41
And there are some brilliant linguists, mostly Russians,
しかし中には、ほとんどがロシア人ですが、
00:45
who are working on that, at Santa Fe Institute and in Moscow,
サンタフェ研究所やモスクワでこの研究をしている素晴らしい言語学者もいます。
00:48
and I would love to see where that leads.
私は、その研究の行く末を、是非見てみたいと思っています。
00:52
Does it really lead to a single ancestor
2万年、2万5千年前にあった、
00:56
some 20, 25,000 years ago?
一つの祖言語に本当にたどり着くのか?
00:59
And what if we go back beyond that single ancestor,
そして、他の言語との競合があったと考えられる、
01:02
when there was presumably a competition among many languages?
祖言語よりも更に昔の時期まで遡ったら、どうなるか?
01:05
How far back does that go? How far back does modern language go?
それはどれだけ昔のことなのか?現代の言語は、どこまで遡れるのか?
01:09
How many tens of thousands of years does it go back?
何万年先まで遡るのか?
01:13
Chris Anderson: Do you have a hunch or a hope for what the answer to that is?
クリス・アンダーソン:その答えに対する予感ですとか、希望はありますか?
01:16
Murray Gell-Mann: Well, I would guess that modern language must be older
マレー・ゲルマン:そうですね、現代の言語は、
01:19
than the cave paintings and cave engravings and cave sculptures
3万5千年くらい前のオーリニャック文化期に、西欧の洞窟で描かれた絵や彫刻・彫像、
01:22
and dance steps in the soft clay in the caves in Western Europe,
柔らかい粘土に刻まれた踊りのステップと同じか、
01:26
in the Aurignacian Period some 35,000 years ago, or earlier.
それよりも古いに違いないと思いますよ。
01:31
I can't believe they did all those things and didn't also have a modern language.
そういったことを全てやっておいて、それで現代の言語を持っていなかったとは信じがたい。
01:37
So, I would guess that the actual origin goes back at least that far and maybe further.
なので、実際の起源はそれくらい古いかおそらくもっと古いと思います。
01:40
But that doesn't mean that all, or many, or most
しかし、だからといって全ての、多くの、もしくはほとんどの現代の言語の祖先が
01:45
of today's attested languages couldn't descend perhaps
例えば2万年前か、それ以上前に遡ることは
01:48
from one that's much younger than that, like say 20,000 years,
おそらくないと思います。
01:52
or something of that kind. It's what we call a bottleneck.
それを、我々はボトルネック(ビンの口)と呼んでいます。
01:56
CA: Well, Philip Anderson may have been right.
クリス・アンダーソン:フィリップ・アンダーソンは正しかったのかもしれません。
02:00
You may just know more about everything than anyone.
もしかしたら、あなたは誰よりも全てをよく知っているだけかもしれませんね。
02:01
So, it's been an honor. Thank you Murray Gell-Mann.
素晴らしいお話をありがとうございました。マレー・ゲルマンさんでした。
02:04
(Applause)
(会場拍手)
02:06
Translated by Kaori Naiki
Reviewed by Akira KAKINOHANA

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About the Speaker:

Murray Gell-Mann - Physicist
Murray Gell-Mann brings visibility to a crucial aspect of our existence that we can't actually see: elemental particles. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for introducing quarks, one of two fundamental ingredients for all matter in the universe.

Why you should listen

He's been called "the man with five brains" -- and Murray Gell-Mann has the resume to prove it. In addition to being a Nobel laureate, he is an accomplished physicist who's earned numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees for his work with subatomic particles, including the groundbreaking theory that the nucleus of an atom comprises 100 or so fundamental building blocks called quarks.

Gell-Mann's influence extends well beyond his field: He's a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society and is a director of Encyclopedia Britannica. Gell-Mann, a professor emeritus of Caltech, now heads the evolution of human languages program at the Santa Fe Institute, which he cofounded in 1984.

A prolific writer -- he's penned scores of academic papers and several books, including The Quark and the Jaguar -- Gell-Mann is also the subject of the popular science biography Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics.

More profile about the speaker
Murray Gell-Mann | Speaker | TED.com