Mediopassive/labile verbs; was: very confused - syntaxquestion
|Date:||Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 11:35|
Irina Rempt-Drijfhout <ira@...> wrote:
> On Tue, 6 Jul 1999, Sally Caves wrote:
> > Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:
> > > Voice normally means some type of morphological marking or analytic=al
> > > construction that shows whether the subject is agent or patient or
> > > both.
> > And thus "middle" would mean that the subject is both? This is where= I
> > have missed the point. "I wash" is also "me wash"? That makes perfe=ct
> > sense.
> To me as well. Valdyan does this with the reflexive: obvious verbs
> like _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
Are these idiomatic or phrasal verbs, or do people recognize the
connection between the normal verb and the reflexive form? Is there
any way to predict the meaning of a _le_ + verb construction?
> Many verbs of motion also take this construction: _le dena_ "to go"
> ("to put oneself somewhere"), _le fula_ "to set out, to leave" ("to
> take oneself away"), _le mosta_ "to come" ("to get oneself"), _le
> mura_ "to lie down" ("to push oneself over, to lay oneself down" from
> _mur_ "flat, supine").
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. 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_).
> This is the example I was looking for earlier, Jennifer, but
> it doesn't seen to illustrate the point I was trying to make then,
> though it illustrates the point I'm trying to make now: that Valdyan
> uses the reflexive as a kind of middle voice, and I strongly suspect
> that when I find a word for "win a prize" it will be reflexive.
I've been trying to follow this discussion, with uneven success
so far. I think now is time for a bit of AFMCL :) since examples
are probably the best way to describe such difficult topics. And
I'd also like to know what I'm dealing with in my own conlang.
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:
_grivar na siar s=FC^mmevnot b=FCd_
fate to we stands_above.MV it.REL
'the fate that stands above us' (as if it had placed itself there)
'the days become shadowful/dark'
Note that the root verb 'be shadowful' is static, and the
middle voice makes it dynamic (more or less).
'the passed years' (they have passed as if they had will to decide)
'a hole had opened'
_I t=F2th kl=F3rsotaq D=FAkkasis_
PRT weight add.MV.3sPST Ring.UNIQUE
'the Ring became heavy'
This is similar to 'the Ring took on weight', in case you
didn't get the meaning of PRT.
'the door is always closed'
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. When I want to focus on the door being
closed *by itself* (meaning 'in itself'), I use middle voice.
Looking for examples in my corpus, I can only find one instance of
middle voice with an animate subject, _vuos=FAvotasait_ 'we will
depart (MV)', where 'we' don't want to depart, but will, as if
'we' were dragged away.
Oh, thanks! I'd had never realized this on my own!<joyfully cries>
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... !?