田邉祐司ゼミ 常時英心:言葉の森から


senile 復習


Wednesday marks 40 years since a Japanese schoolgirl was abducted by North Korean agents.

Megumi Yokota was 13 years old when she was taken while walking home from school in Niigata City, on the Sea of Japan coast, on November 15th, 1977.

Megumi's mother, 81-year-old Sakie Yokota, held a news conference on Wednesday. She was accompanied by her husband Shigeru, who turned 85 on Tuesday.

Sakie said she wonders why they haven't been able to rescue their daughter for so long, even though she is in a country so close to Japan.

She said she has lived on the hope that Megumi will be back tomorrow, but she is nowhere to be seen.

Sakie said she had believed Japan's government was doing all it can, but that families of abductees have doubts because nothing has changed in the past 40 years.

She expressed hope that before she becomes too senile to do so, she can call her daughter by name.


 “senile” /ˈsen.aɪl/ を取り上げます。『ジーニアス英和辞典第5版』(大修館) によれば、「老齢の、もうろくした、ぼけた」といった意味があるといえます。英英辞典をみると、“showing poor mental ability because of old age, especially being unable to think clearly and make decisions” とあり、加齢のためにきちんとした判断ができなくなったり、体にある様々な器官の能力が劣化する様を表していると推察できます。

 “senile” は、ラテン語で「古い、古参な」といった意義のある “senex”から派生した語であるとわかりました。お馴染みの “senior” もこの “senex” から成り立ち「年上の、先輩の」といった意味を持ち口語でも使われています。

 ただ辞書や英英辞典の定義からもわかるように高齢の方や年上の方に向かって直接発する語としては失礼な印象を与えてしまったり、馬鹿にした表現だと認識されてしまう可能性があるため、口語では “old”、“elderly” や “senior” を用いた方が望ましいといえるそうです。