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Re: Passive voice

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  • Raik Lorenz
    ... Being somewhat too tired for extensive explanations, I will just try and give the examples in translation as they re in German. ... In German: Er schlägt
    Message 1 of 15 , May 31, 2006
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      > -------- Original-Nachricht --------
      > Datum: Sun, 21 May 2006 06:08:26 -0400
      > Von: Alain Lemaire <alargule@...>
      > An: CONLANG@...
      > Betreff: Passive voice
      > > English has a distinct way of using the passive voice. Normally, it is
      > used
      > to stress the patient of the action:

      Being somewhat too tired for extensive explanations, I will just try and give the examples in translation as they're in German.


      > He hits the ball - the ball was hit (by him).

      In German:
      Er schlägt den Ball - der Ball wurde (von ihm) geschlagen.

      The prefix ge- helps form the passive.


      > But it can also be used with objects that go with a preposition:
      >
      > He walks over the bridge - the bridge is walked over.

      Er geht über die Brücke - auf der Brücke wird gegangen.

      Here, we don't have an accurate passive in German, as "wird gegangen" takes no (accussative) object. Rather the bridge is turned into the location of the action, "auf der Brücke" being a PP. Though, this passive construction is lexically close to the English.
      However, to form the sentence with an object, which "auf der Brücke" here is not, we might say:

      Die Brücke wird begangen.)

      Here, we again have a prefix that helps form the passive. The passive cannot be formed with [ge-[V]], if the active sentence goes with a prepostion - at least so it seems.


      > He looked at me - I was being looked at.

      Er schaute mich an - Ich wurde angeschaut.

      Here, ge- works in a similar way as be- above.


      >
      > etc.
      >
      > Are there other languages which have this use of the passive voice? How do
      > they form them - and what are the restrictions?

      Hm - I tried to figure this out by giving examples, as you see above. But I'm sleepy, it being 1:18am here.

      Though, I hope this stuff was at least of any help to you.


      -- Raik

      --


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