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

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 6, 1999, 20:33
John Cowan wrote:
> > > 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. > > The trouble arises because of the two uses of "mediopassive"; one to > specify a VOICE, the other to specify a MORPHOLOGY. The latter > is general-purpose but rare (indeed, I never heard it before this > conversation); the former is commonly used, but > restricted to archaic IE langs (not just Greek but Sanskrit and > Hittite too), where it's typical for middle and passive > to be rendered with extremely similar or identical forms.
In his definition of "middle" (that's the entry), Trask mentions that it forms part of the "voice system" of certain IE languages. He doesn't even use the word "voice" in his definition of "mediopassive." Really, I'm struggling to understand this.
> > > 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 > > "Correct" in such cases is in the eye of the terminologist.
Well, all too true... ;-)
> > 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. > > Lojban uses "mode" and "modal" in a distinctly odd way, rooted in > its Loglan ancestry (which used a lot more terms in distinctly > odd ways). If something's important, terminological buccaneering > (nice term I grabbed from Northrop Frye) may be a virtue as well > as a necessity.
Thanks...! Great term, good encouragement! Sally