Active, deponent, passive

Again, there is a distinction to be made here between the form of the 
words and their functions.  The form of a deponent is middle or passive, 
while its function is apparently active.  
   ("Apparently," because the fact is that in English or German or Latin
   the translation may be an active verb...but in some language that
   predominantly uses passives the translation may instead be passive! 
   English is not the ultimate language, into which all others are to be
Hence, apokrinomai is middle-passive in form, its future apokrinoumai is 
middle in form, and its aorist apekriqhn is passive in form.  But their 
functions include taking direct objects, a mark of transitivity and thus 
(we suppose) of "active" meaning.

I might point out that great hordes of English verbs also direct objects 
in both the active and passive voice, in this pattern:
   He showed me the house.          I was shown the house.
   They brought her some tea.       She was brought some tea.
Again, these verbs to us Anglophones clearly and cleanly differentiate their 

meanings between active and passive, but both voices permit direct objects, 
since we (perversely?) allow indirect object items to behave as passive-verb 


--David N. Wigtil, david.wigtil@hq.doe.gov

___________________________ Reply Separator ______________________________
Subject: memo
Author:  asmith@cornerstone.edu_at_internet at X400PO
Date:    10/28/94 11:14 AM

I have what must seem like a very mundane question, but one that I would 
like ananswer to nonetheless.  It concerns middle voice and/or deponent 
verbs.  How
do you parse these, specifically what voice do you give them?  For example, 
apokrinomai, "I answer," is of course passive in form, but active in meaning.

Would you instruct a student to parse it as first person, singular, present, 

deponent, indicative?  Or would you recommend 1st pers., sing., pres., 
indicative.  I have seen both done, and I am not sure what is normal 
Thanks for any help you can give.

Andy Smith
Associate Professor of Bible and Religion
Chair: Division of Bible, Religion, and Ministries 
Cornerstone College
Grand Rapids, Michigan