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Re: Mediopassive/labile verbs; was: very confused - syntaxquestion

From:Irina Rempt-Drijfhout <ira@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 16:13
On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, FFlores wrote:

I wrote:

> > _le cyla_ "to wash", _le grela_ "to shave", but also less > > obvious ones like _le rada_ "to make up one's mind" (literally > > "to swear to oneself"), _le tisa_ "to do the right thing" > > (literally "to serve oneself"), _le loda_ "to presume" (literally > > "to favour oneself"). > > Are these idiomatic or phrasal verbs, or do people recognize the > connection between the normal verb and the reflexive form?
People do recognize the connection; the normal verbs are also in frequent use, and I can't think offhand of a single Valdyan verb that occurs *only* in the reflexive form (like in Dutch _zich schamen_ "to be ashamed", there's no non-reflexive *_iemand schamen_ "to shame someone", that would be _iemand beschamen_). It's just that the reflexive meaning has become an idiom, while people are very much aware that the connection exists, to the extent of punning on it: ni valean na tisan, arne do le tisan NEG king-acc NEG serve-1s self but RFL serve-1s "I don't serve the king, but I do what's right" or "I don't serve the king, but I serve my own ends". Anshen rada le radut Anshen-dat swear-inf RFL swear-3s "He decided to swear to Anshen" (i.e. to join the Order of the Sworn of Anshen, a religious knighthood). This seems to call for the reflexive: *_Anshen le rada le radut_ "He decided to swear himself to Anshen", but that doesn't happen because of the special meaning of _le rada_. (Because in this special case the dative of _Anshen_ is the same as the nominative - it used to be a long "e" in the dative but it's been shortened in a vowel shift - it can also mean "Anshen (god's name) decided to take an oath" but that doesn't make sense in the culture.
> > Many verbs of motion also take this construction:=20
> I guess this is for the same reason that Spanish verbs take _se_: > _irse_ 'to go', _meterse_ 'to get (oneself) into', _acostarse_ > 'to lie down', etc.
Yes, that's also my guess.=20
> In some cases the reflexive sense can be > rationalized, but not in others. It seems as if we wanted to use > only transitive verbs in principle, so for intransitive meanings > we have to use _se_ (and the Valdyans have to use _le_).
Ah, that's a good explanation. I'll keep it in mind.
> I've been trying to follow this discussion, with uneven success > so far.
Same here; somewhere halfway through it became too theoretical for me and I caught up again when people started to post examples.
> In Drasel=E9q, the verb is inflected for passive or middle voice. > What I call "middle voice" doesn't usually show an obvious reflexive > aspect, but an action that doesn't "get out" of its agent, or a > state that a subject imposes on itself. For example:
That makes sense. You go a lot further than I do in that, but I can follow it.
> Looking at these examples, it seems to me that my middle voice is a > kind of inanimate reflexive voice! The door can't close anything, > even itself. The door can be closed, but even if I don't name the > agent, it's hidden there.
Often Valdyan does that with impersonal constructions: _lea daysenat_ "it's raining". We *know* rain can't fall all by itself, but we don't know who or what is dropping it to the earth either.
> Oh, thanks! I'd had never realized this on my own!<joyfully cries>
Me neither - shows once more what the list is for.
> PS I just took another look. I think there's some volitional aspect > around this middle voice. It seems it adds pseudo-volition to things > that cannot have a real one, and lowers the volitional aspect of > animate agents, as in _vuos=FAvotasait_ above. That is, it transforms > patients and agents into experiencers... !?
I'll have another look at the reflexive and the impersonal constructions, and report back - when I finish my translation job :-) Irina Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastynay. (myself) (English) (Nederlands)