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Re: Mediopassive/labile verbs; was: very confused - syntax question

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Monday, July 5, 1999, 16:00
Raymond A. Brown wrote:
> > At 7:01 pm +0200 4/7/99, Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote: > ...... > > > >When discussing Indo-European languages, which is what I mostly see, > >middle and medio-passive denote the same inherited, morphologically > >marked 'setting' in verb conjugation (for the category 'voice'). > > Ah, so I wasn't cracking up at the end of a hectic term after all :) > > I was getting a bit confused when I saw some posts talking about 'middle' > and 'medio-passive' as two different things. I'd always understood them as > alternative terms for the same 'voice' in PIE.
That was my post, Raymond. And I had always understood them to mean the same thing as well. But then when I read Trask's definition, I came to the conclusion that there were two different constructions here that I wanted to distinguish, and I asked whether mediopassive and middle voice were in fact interchangeable. I'm not interested in the terminology as it applies to ancient Greek. I'm interested in finding the correct terminology to describe what appear to me to be two slightly different applications that would be useful for me in describing constructions in Teonaht, and for Jennifer in describing constructions in her language (I'm sorry I can't remember the name of your conlang, Jennifer.): 1) I wash (the "reflexive" notion that you invoked in your earlier post, Ray, when you were defining the Middle Voice) 2) The fish smells bad/the soup cooks/the rose looks nice (the "labile" quality of some verbs that Trask describes wherein a transitive verb can take the patient as a subject and acquires a passive interpretation (Trask, 170). Although he gives "middle" as an alternate term, Trask does not include this development in his definition of "middle voice" on page 171. (He defines it as you did, Ray). Therefore, I concluded that these were different terms. But I was confused: he DOES list other terms that have been applied to this construction: "Nineteenth-century, revived by Grady (1965): 'middle' is equally frequent, but it seems best to refrain from adding to the senses of that term, also 'passive' (Sweet, 1892), 'active-passive' (Jespersen, 1961, III:347), 'patient- subject construction' (van Oosten 1977). So obviously, there have been a number of attempts to name the construct that I've been calling "middle voice" in Teonaht, and I have felt the need to abandon it as a term when I read the _je me lave_ definition. The question: "is medio-passive" as good a term as any FOR MY PURPOSES? What its use is in ancient Greek is irrelevant to me. Sally