[b-greek] Re: The New approach to Middle/Passive Verbs

From: Harry W. Jones (hjbluebird@aol.com)
Date: Fri Nov 23 2001 - 02:21:13 EST

Dear Carl,

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond but I had to go eat turkey with my
mother and sister<smile>. I hope you had a nice thanksgiving too, Carl.

When I used the word Nonfinite I was thinking about verbal infinites and
participles but I realise now that they should not be included. Also the
use of the term "mode" was ill advised as well.

I do see though that you want to have seperate terms for form and for
function. I noticed that the forms that you are using are,"Active", "Weak"
and "Strong". I would advise to use "Normal" in place of "Active" to
avoid confusing "Active" form with "Active" function. That would give,

1. Normal form.

2. Weak form.

3. Strong form

With the functions being:

1. Active.

2. Middle.

3. Passive

4. Intransitive.

In your parsing of EGENNHSEN: 3sg, wk, aor. "active" (semantic active) of
GENNAW. I don't understand why you would include the word "active" after
aor. ? That seems confusing to me. The same goes for your use of "mp" in
your parsing as well. It seems to me all that you need is what you have
minus "active" and "mp" and simply include the forms. For example,
EGENNHSEN: 3sg, wk, aor. (semantic active) of GENNAW...etc.
And EGENNHQH: 3sg, aor, wk (semantic passive) of GENNAW.

I guess you see what I'm getting at? Anyway it certainly is very
interesting. If I'm missing something please let me know.

Best Regards,

Harry Jones

> Harry, I suspect that people are getting tired of my haranguing on this
> subject, but I do appreciate your continued interest in it. I think your
> account perhaps makes more categories and subcategories than are necessary
> in the new "paradigm" for voice that I have been trying for the past three
> years or so to develop. I have a couple problems with what you've suggested:
> (1) I don't understand "nonfinite"--traditionally the term "finite" when
> applied to verbs means that the verb-form shows markers of person and
> number--as opposed to infinitives and participles, so that only verbs in
> the indicative, subjunctive, optative, or imperative forms would be
> "finite." I don't see that the term "nonfinite" has any clear relevance to
> voice.
> (2) I also think that the term "Modes" is (a) too readily confused with
> "moods", and (b) sub-categorizes voice more specifically than I think is
> necessary.
> The fullest account I have set forth thus far was in a message to the list
> on Fri, 2 Nov 2001 08:40:17 -0500 with subject-header "[b-greek] Voice:
> Names & Frames of reference."
> Briefly summarized, here's my current thinking:
> (a) Morphoparadigms fall into two basic categories:
> 1. "Basic" (traditionally termed "Active" (W/EIS/EI;ON/ES/E); most of
> the verbs in this morphoparadigm are in fact semantically
> active, but quite a few are intransitive, and a few of them
> may even be semantically passive (e.g. PAXCW, a verb that
> compels translators to exercise great ingenuity)
> 2. "Subject-focused" includes two morphoparadigms, (a) that traditionally
> termed "Middle-Passive" (MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO), and (b) that
> traditionally termed "Passive" (-QH- forms). My contention is that
> both these morphoparadigms display forms that may be semantically
> middle, passive, or intransitive. While a "head-count" of verb-forms
> in either morphoparadigm in a particular literary corpus might well
> show that a majority of the verb-forms are semantically passive, I
> contend that Greek-speakers (at least in the Hellenistic and Roman
> Koine periods) felt that either one of these paradigms was inclusive
> enough to cover the range from intransitive to middle to passive
> semantics)
> (b) Semantic functions fall into four basic categories:
> 1. "Active"
> 2. "Middle"
> 3. "Passive"
> 4. "Intransitive"
> While these could be defined more-or-less precisely, it's worth noting that
> Greek-speakers seem to have been content to let the "subject-focused"
> morphoparadigms do their job and leave it to the listener/reader to
> understand the implied semantic function in specific instances.
> (c) Names (trickiest of all). I do think we need, when teaching the
> morphology and syntax of Greek voice, to make clear that the "basic" or
> traditionally-termed "active" morphoparadigm is simply the standard
> conjugational form for most verbs ever used by Greek speakers and writers
> and that while most such forms really ARE active, yet they MAY be
> intransitive or, in very rare instances, even semantically passive. And
> yet, if we cannot get past the weight of traditional grammatical
> terminology, we can at least use the traditional terminology in a more
> refined manner, perhaps as follows:
> 1. "Active" morphoparadigm (W/EIS/EI,etc.) -- mostly semantic actives,
> several intransitives, one or two semantic passives)
> 2. "Weak Middle-Passive" morphoparadigm (-QH- aorist and future forms) --
> verbs that are semantically middle, passive, or intransitive; I use
> the term "weak" in the common grammatical sense to refer to the more
> recent and basic form currently in use, probably as a consequence of
> analogical leveling; the -QH- forms, I've argued, are supplanting
> the older MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO forms--and will do so increasingly
> in the centuries of Greek language usage following the Koine.
> 3. "Strong Middle-Passive" morphoparadigm (MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO forms) --
> verbs that are semantically middle, passive, or intranstive; I use
> the term "strong" in the common grammatical sense to refer to the
> older MAI/SAI/TAI;MHN/SO/TO forms that are in the course of being
> supplanted by the -QH- forms in the same way that older English
> "strong" past tense forms (sing/sang/sung; speak/spoke/spoken) are
> being supplanted by regular "weak" past tense forms (greet/greeted/
> greeted; allow/allowed/allowed).
> (d) Parsing. I think this would be greatly simplified if we specify for
> finite verb forms the following: person, number, tense,
> voice-morphoparadigm (with an additional element: SEMANTIC voice-function).
> One virtue of this is that we are liberated from the absurdity of the
> "deponent" categorization; another is that we are careful to distinguish
> voice-morphoparadigm from semantic voice-function. Here are a few examples:
> EGENNHSEN: 3 sg. wk. aor."active" (semantic active) of GENNAW
> APHLQEN: 3 sg. str. aor. "active" (semantic intr.) of APERCOMAI
> ELEUSETAI: 3 sg. fut. "mp" (semantic intr.) of ERCOMAI
> EGENNHQH: 3 sg. aor. wk. "mp" (semantic passive) of GENNAW
> POREUETAI: 3 sg. pres. "mp" (semantic intr.) of POREUOMAI
> EPOREUQH; 3 sg. aor. wk. "mp" (semantic intr.) of POREUOMAI
> hEILETO: 3 sg. aor. str. "mp" (semantic middle) of hAIREW/hAIREOMAI
> At 5:51 AM -0500 11/22/01, Harry W. Jones wrote:
> >Carl,
> >
> >It looks like to me that you are wanting to 'reengineer' the complete
> >terminology
> >on Voice and Deponents. For example, the Voice classifications Active,
> >Middle and Passive would be changed to Forms of Active, Middle,
> >Middle/Passive and Passive. By doing this you can completely eliminate
> >Voice and Deponent terminology. For example, Deponents would be called not
> >Deponents but Normal Middle(NM) or Normal Passive(NP) verb forms. And a
> >particular verb might be said to have a M/P form and functioning
> >transitively in a particular context. Or a verb might have a Middle form
> >and be functioning intransitively in a reflexive mode in a particular
> >context. That is, it's not taking a direct object and the action is
> >directed toward an implicit subject. A normal mode would indicate that
> >it's taking an external subject. This scheme would involve four Forms,
> >Active, Middle, Middle/Passive and Passive. It would involve probably at
> >least three functions, Transitive, Intransitive and Nonfinite. And with
> >three modes for the Intransitive function of Normal, Reflexive and
> >Reciprocal.
> >
> >The New Way
> >
> >
> >Active(A)
> >
> >Middle(M)
> >
> >Middle/Passive(M/P)
> >
> >Passive(P)
> >
> >
> >Transitive
> >
> >Intransitive
> >
> >Nonfinite
> >
> >Three Modes
> >
> >Normal
> >
> >Reflexive
> >
> >Reciprocal
> >
> >But Ward Powers wants to stay with the old way of doing things by
> >classifying things that don't seem to want to fit in the old way as,
> >'Exceptions'.
> >
> >Of course, in your way Carl there wouldn't be any exceptions.
> >
> >Do you think I have the right picture of your approach now, Carl?
> >
> >Best Regards,
> >Harry Jones
> >
> >---
> >B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
> >You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu]
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> --
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
> Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
> cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
> WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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