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Re: Voices

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Saturday, December 4, 2004, 1:44
Yann wrote:

Hi! I was wondering if you knew any other voices besides active, passive,
middle and antipassive voice. And, can I call the reflexive form of a verb
the reflexive voice?
Quite frankly, I'd like to see "voice" defined. Everything that's been discussed has been a mechanism in a language that somehow changes the valency of a verb (I think only causatives haven't been mentioned yet, of the most common ones). How *all* these different things could be called "voices" is something that strikes me as odd. Anyway, you mentioned "passive" and "antipassive" above. There's also "ambipassive", used in a duative-unitive system. Each of these, though, is the same mechanism that achieves the same goal--the only thing that's different is the type of system it's used in (the first, nominative-accusative; the second, ergative-absolutive; the third, duative-unitive [or transitive- intransitive, if you prefer]). You can't have all three of these in a language unless you have a split system. Thus, an antipassive is different from English's "eat", where you could have: I eat an apple. I eat. The second is *not* the antipassive version of the first. So, I'd answer the question you end with the same as others have: Sure, call it the reflexive voice. Why not? And my question: Is there any sound definition of "voice"? Here's what SIL's glossary of linguistic terms says: Incidentally, it says that what you'd call the reflexive voice is actually the middle voice. Here's its definition: That's certainly very different from saying, "The soup that eats like a meal." (I believe that was from a Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial.) It's not the soup that eats itself like a meal, nor is it the soup that's eaten for its own benefit. It's a soup that one eats as if it were a meal, or that is similar in quantity (and quality?) to a meal. So anybody want to jump in here and say what "voice" exactly is? -David