Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Critical paragraph from page four of the introduction:
An alternative understanding of the Greek middle voice is offered by Philippe
Eberhard who draws on the work of Emile Benveniste, a French linguist who asserts that
middle diathesis (voice) indicates that the subject is internal to the process of which it is an
agent. 11 Eberhard takes this to mean that the subject is conceptually placed within the
sphere of the verb, so that it is acting medially within a process that encompasses it
, rather
like a player in a game. The emphasis is on the event, and the subject is functioning within
the process described by the verb, not controlling it from the outside. Eberhard refers to
this function as “medial”.
This reminds me of verb aspectology.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 16th, 2020, 2:37 pm

John 5:17 Ὁ δὲ ἀπεκρίνατο αὐτοῖς· ὁ πατήρ μου ἕως ἄρτι ἐργάζεται κἀγὼ ἐργάζομαι·

In the video the author claims that ἐργάζεται shows internal diathesis - acting with a process also know as medial. Wonder what Athanasius, Basil of Caesarea and Gregory Nyssa would have to say about that. Jesus appears to be saying that he is an agent of ὁ πατήρ. When Jesus works the Father is working through his agency.

If we take ὁ πατήρ μου ἕως ἄρτι ἐργάζεται as a figure of speech then perhaps we could claim it is medial. Not sure about of any of this. Just interacting with the author's statement in the video.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Paul-Nitz » February 17th, 2020, 2:50 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 10:05 am
This is a fabulous video.

http://dailydoseofgreek.com/special-edi ... lnTqtt16Rw]
She is describing the prototypical functions of the middle forms. What she says is simple and concise. I was hyperbolic writing that it says everything a person needs to know. It doesn't answer every question, but it works well for me and jibes with my understanding of Greek voice.

One thing she does not address is the -θῆναι forms. In my view of Voice, we have three sets of forms,
1) -ειν, -σαι,
2) -εσθαι, -ασθαι,
3) θῆναι.

And, we have two functions:
1 = Undesignated voice, Active.
2 & 3 = subject affectedness.

I believe Kmeto is expressing this at about minute 9:45 with this graphic.
kmeto.jpg
Kmeto Graphic
kmeto.jpg (26.82 KiB) Viewed 460 times
What that graphic really says (I think) is this: Row One is English Voice. Row Two and Three show the match up with Greek voice. That's fine, but much of the confusion in teaching and learning Greek Voice comes from the trying to understand Greek by fitting it into English voice. There is the natural tendency for English speakers to think that the Active/Passive dichotomy must be a part of universal grammar.

Voice can be very, very different from English. For example, Chichewa, a Bantu language here in Malawi, has multiple voices, and they can be mixed.
-ra verbal suffix form; applicative function (for, in the place of, to the advantage of)
-tsa verbal suffix form; causative or intensive function
-dwa verbal suffix form; passive function
-ka verbal suffix form; ability, customary state function
And two or more of these can be combined and appended to one verb, e.g. Amenyetseredwa (4 voice suffixes appended to one word)
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 2:37 pm
In the video the author claims that ἐργάζεται shows internal diathesis...
Kmeto's video is a brief explanation of her prototypical and descriptive view of voice. Seems to me, Stirling is taking a her point too far, but much of what Stirling writes is over my head, so maybe I'm misunderstanding him.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 17th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Benveniste emphasises that not all verbs can receive both active and middle endings; some are always expressed in the active (activa tantum) while some are always expressed in the middle (media tantum).267 By comparing the types of verbs in each of these two classes, he aims to detect the distinguishing attribute which makes a particular verb suitable to one but not the other category.268 He observes that verbs of action and condition are represented in both classes, but in the active the verbs denote a process which is accomplished outside the subject”, whereas in the middle, the subject is inside the process.269 In regard to the middle he further states that the subject “achieves something which is achieved in him” e.g. being born, sleeping, and that “he is inside the process of which he is the agent”.

— Kmetko page 47


Note: Benveniste doesn't use the word medial.

This balance of “the hermeneutic event happening to the subject and the understanding subject’s performance within it” is what Eberhard refers to as the “mediality of understanding”.283 He invokes as an example the middle-only verb διαλέγομαι (dialogue, discuss, dispute) to illustrate the generative sense of the middle voice in the process of understanding.284

— Kmetko page 50


With this in mind, I find it difficult applying this to ἐργάζεται as in the video which states ὁ πατήρ is "acting within a process."

John 5:17 Ὁ δὲ [Ἰησοῦς] ἀπεκρίνατο αὐτοῖς· ὁ πατήρ μου ἕως ἄρτι ἐργάζεται κἀγὼ ἐργάζομαι·

Postscript:
Eberhard is interacting with Gadamer and even after hearing Paul Fry lecture on this at Yale (Open Yale online) I don't understand much about Gadamer. https://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-300
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 17th, 2020, 4:51 pm

Another citation in regard to Eberhard which should help to clarify what he means by medial:
Eberhard further illustrates the medial notion by the use of the Greek verb γαμέω/γαμέομαι (marry).286 In ancient Greek in general, he observes that when a man marries a woman, the verb is in the active voice, and the woman is the direct object; however, the woman 'gets married’ to the man, with the verb in the middle voice.287 This reflects the fact that in the active the subject is seen to be in control, directing the process from the outside, but in the middle, the subject gives herself to someone within the process of marriage which is happening to her.

Kmetko pages 50-51
The medial notion claims the subject not only participates within the process but also undergoes a change as a result: "... which is happening to her"
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Peng Huiguo
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Re: Kmetko - medial function of the middle voice

Post by Peng Huiguo » February 19th, 2020, 4:50 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm
This reminds me of verb aspectology.
καλῶς ἐνόησας (or ἐνοήσω?)

I often think of the middle voice like the kamehameha power-up or a movie shot where someone is in a bustling restaurant and the surrounding goes dark to isolate what he's about to do. I guess that's what medial means, putting the reader inside the sphere of an action before it proceeds to affect its object. And as usual the meaning is contextual, so quoting isolated verses (as monographs are prone to do) is not helpful. But I'ma do just that :lol:

Titus 1:5 τούτου χάριν κατέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα τὰ λείποντα ἐπιδιορθώσῃ, καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην

The ἐπιδιορθώσῃ and διεταξάμην have a preparatory sense, especially when read with the subsequent verses. Thus ἐπιδιορθώσῃ proceeds out to καταστήσῃς — it's like (as you pointed out) a tense progression. This preparatory/instructional sense is in John 5:17 as well.

Deissmann's Light from the Ancient East has an interesting citation pp. 136-137 (great intro to biblical greek btw). Note that διαλέκτους Ἕλλησι καὶ βαρβάροις διεταξάμην. Contrast 1 Cor 16:1 περὶ δὲ τῆς λογίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους, ὥσπερ διέταξα ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Γαλατίας, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιήσατε — I think of this διέταξα as out-from-instruction-and-already-in-effect.
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