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Re: Test for middle voice?

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Monday, November 21, 2005, 22:16
--- In, R A Brown <ray@C...> wrote:

> [snip]
> Now you are obviously talking about a middle _voice_ such as
> (in part) in ancient Greek. Basically it was 'reflexive' in its > meaning in the broadest sense of the term. The middle voice of > ancient Greek behave very much like the reflexive verbs of modern > Romance languages. They could be directly reflexive (je me lave)
> indirectly reflexive (je me lave les mains), or just idiomatic.
> sometimes did duty for passives, just as the do in the Romance
> [snip]
Hi, Ray, Aidan, and others. Many moons ago when I was looking into the middle voice(s) and diatheses (is that the proper plural?), I found on a New Testament Greek website some examples, one of which was a koine' Greek verb whose active form would get translated as "to emancipate (one's own slave)" or "to release (one's own prisoner" but whose middle form would get translated as "to redeem" or "to ransom". According to several of the modern grammarians I was reading at the time -- sorry, my usual bibliographical reliability is manifesting itself here, I have no notion who they were -- the best definition of "middle" diathesis as applied to the classical languages was still the one the classical grammarians came up with themselves; namely, that the subject (or, in Panini's case, the agent) "had an interest in" whatever got affected by the verb. That could mean, of course, that the or a subject/agent was the or a patient (reflexive or reciprocal); or that the subject/agent (perhaps, preferably, inalienably) possessed (as, for instance, a body part) the patient (as when "I wash _the_ hands" and it is understood that "_the_ hands" must mean _my_ hands). But in the case of "redeem", the middle form of the verb is causative as well as middle. The agent-of-cause causes the agent-of-effect to emancipate the patient, on behalf of the agent-of-cause, because of some interest the agent-of-cause has in the patient. I was looking it up on Google, and got luo and lutron, but I never got a good minimal pair of examples before I started getting time-out warnings. Oh well. Basically it goes something like this: Y looses-ACTIVE Z means Y, who is Z's captor/owner, lets Z go free. X looses-MIDDLE(CAUSATIVE) Z means X, partially for X's own benefit, causes Y (who is implicit here -- not mentioned on the surface), to let Z go. Tom H.C. in MI.