Re: Observations on Ancient Greek Voice (LONG!)

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Wed May 28 1997 - 09:28:27 EDT

Dear Carl,

Thank you for your excellent discussion of reflexive/passive verbs.

A Scandinavian example: In old Norse the reflexive pronoun is "sik"
(equivalent to French "se" and German "sich"). We have the same
reflexive pronoun in Norwegian, written "seg". However, we also have a
passive form which is distinguished by the letter "s", and this "s"
can be traced back to the first letter of the old Norse reflexive
pronoun "sik"

Active: Han vasker (= he cleans/is cleaning)
Reflexive: Han vasker seg (= he cleans/is cleaning himself)
Passive: Han vaskes (= he is being cleaned).

In Norwegian, therefore, a reflexive construction was original and it
evolved into a passive one.


Rolf Furuli
Ph.D candidate in Semitic languages
University of Oslo

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