[b-greek] Re: APOLLUMI and voice

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Sun Oct 28 2001 - 17:42:01 EST

> >
> >You say here at the end, I think, that an agent can not be
> >supplied to a middle, but you indicate the hUPO is retained
> >in 1 Cor 10.10, which seems to be a Middle with supplied agent.
> >
> >The sense I get from this verse is
> >
> >they got themselves killed (middle) by the destroyer (agent).
> >
> >As if the Middle states that the experiencers have only themselves
> >to blame for a destroyer/agent killing them. Based on their own
> >decisions, they must bear responsibility to what happened to them.
> >(I guess the passive in 10:9 would not stress the experiencers
> >own actions that brought about the effect.)

That is a good question and you may be right. I am still groping around here
trying to get a better handle on the function of the middle in Greek. At
present I am assuming that for some verbs that for some historical reason do
not employ the QH forms, it may be the case that the M forms have a double
function, either as middle or passive. (I am listening to Carl who knows
much more about Greek than I do.) If the language is in a process of change
in this respect, it makes the whole thing very complex. It also appears that
the QH forms for some verbs are used as if they were middle or active
(POREUQHTI) - this is the deponency question. I would like to try to keep
the question of middle deponency and passive deponency separate from the
possibility that a middle form might function as passive.

> Just a quick note. As Iver noted, there is no passive (-QH-) paradigm for
> this verb. And in conventional/traditional pedagogy, we DON'T
> a 3d pl. aor. indicative passive. Nevertheless, the fact that an agent is
> indicated by the hUPO phrase clearly indicates that the semantic value of
> APWLONTO is passive.
> For my part, I think this beautifully illustrates the proposition
> I've been
> arguing: that the MAI/SAI/TAI morphological paradigm is essentially
> "middle" (today call it "subject-focused") and that this paradigm LENDS
> itself to expressing a passive notion when there's a clear
> indication of an
> external agent or instrument/cause. Compare the example I have used of an
> active verb "undergoing" the same fate: TAUTA EPAQON AUTOS hUPO TWN EMWN
> ECQRWN = This is what I myself suffered at the hands of my enemies" = "I
> myself was thus abused by my enemies" = "This is what my enemies did to my
> very self."
> --
> Carl W. Conrad

I would prefer not to use the expression "semantic value of passive" or
"semantic passive", because the term passive is part of syntax not
The verb PASCW is morphologically an active verb. Looking at it from a
semantic viewpoint, it is a question whether it has one valencies or two
valencies. I am inclined to consider it as having two valencies, but with
rare semantic roles involved. The experiencer is expressed in the grammar as
subject and the cause - which is a non-human agent - is expressed in the
accusative. In the above example TAUTA is the cause for the suffering. There
are a few similar examples in the GNT:
Acts 28:5 EPAQEN OUDEN KAKON - nothing bad caused him to suffer (he suffered
nothing bad)
1 Th 2:14 TA AUTA EPAQETE - the same things caused you to suffer (you
suffered the same things)
Since there is no patient or experiencer role expressed as object, the verb
cannot be made passive, even though it appears to be grammatically
transitive. You cannot say "nothing bad was suffered by me", and there are
no passive forms of PASCW in the GNT. I would be surprised if they exist.
Therefore, I think the hUPO phrase above is different from the cases where
an agent is first made implicit by a passive transformation and then
re-supplied through a hUPO phrase. A verb like PASCW describes what has
happened to the subject who is not the agent but the experiencer. A number
of different prepositional phrases can give further background for the
event. A dative can describe the sphere like in 1 Pet 4:1 (PAQONTOS SARKI)
and a number of different prepositions can be used to describe the event in
different ways. I counted the following in the NT: APO, hUPO, KATA, DIA,
hUPER and PERI. The hUPO above is indeed a human agent behind the non-human
cause, but it is a secondarily supplied agent, and I think it is best not to
say that EPAQEN has a "passive sense".

Iver Larsen

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