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The Meanings of Middle, or mana kartam

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  • tgpedersen
    The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that distinction so important that it needed
    Message 1 of 24 , Feb 3, 2007
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      The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for
      himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that distinction so
      important that it needed a separate category? And why would that
      category at times turn into a passive?

      In Old Persian we find the phrase '(ima tya) mana kartam' "(this is
      the) by-me done", ie "this is what I did". In late Sanskrit similarly
      with the instrumental: sa maya: dr.s.tah "he (was) seen by me" for
      "I saw him". "This type of construction becomes the basis of the
      preterite of all modern Iranian (and Indic) languages" and "This type
      of later Sanskrit is largely Prakrit in disguise. By such devices the
      wealth of the Pa:nin.ean verbal morphology can be mostly ignored, and
      this simplified Sanskrit was understandably popular".(Burrow).

      Now in view of its later success, it is tempting to see this
      construction as 'Low Indo-Iranian'. It could probably be used in at
      least two shapes, her recast as bad Latin:

      'illui factum' "for him (is) done" which corresponds to the
      self-benefactive sense traditionally ascribed to the middle.

      and

      '(ab) illo: factum' "by him (is) done" which corresponds to a passive.

      Now in 'High Indo-Iranian' this would have been frowned upon, so it
      was hyper-corrected to

      'ego factum'

      which is actually horrible, but cf the passage from 'me thinks' to 'I
      think'.

      Now, by this mistake, we have created a new preterite. Also, its
      semantics will oscillate between "it is done for me" and "it is done
      by me", same as we observe in the middle. Note that in Skt. the
      aor.mid.3sg ending is -ta, the Greek and IndoIranian forms together
      suggest that a middle could have been formed by analogy: pret. *-mo,
      *-so, *-to; *-nto, pres. with *-i *-moi, *-soi, *-toi; *-ntoi.

      Unlike in Indo-Iranian, there is no trace of an earlier phase with
      pret. "subject" in dative or instrumental in Germanic, but nonetheless
      it has the same common ppp./pret. stem construction as modern IIr
      does. One wonders. Cf the Ossetic preterite, which also has its
      subject in the nominative.


      Torsten
    • tgpedersen
      ... Which means that the middle must have begun as an impersonal, with forms only in the 3rd pres., pret *-to, *-n-to, pres *-toi, *-n-toi, or possibly without
      Message 2 of 24 , Feb 5, 2007
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        > Now, by this mistake, we have created a new preterite. Also, its
        > semantics will oscillate between "it is done for me" and "it is done
        > by me", same as we observe in the middle. Note that in Skt. the
        > aor.mid.3sg ending is -ta, the Greek and IndoIranian forms together
        > suggest that a middle could have been formed by analogy: pret. *-mo,
        > *-so, *-to; *-nto, pres. with *-i *-moi, *-soi, *-toi; *-ntoi.

        Which means that the middle must have begun as an impersonal, with
        forms only in the 3rd pres., pret *-to, *-n-to, pres *-toi, *-n-toi,
        or possibly without the -t- (my '4sg') *-o, *-r-o, pres *-oi, *-r-oi.


        Torsten
      • tgpedersen
        ... [Correction:] person, ... The Greek aor.mid.1sg ending is -ó-me:n, Dor. -ma:n, which corresponds to the OP mana kartam, but with a t-less ppp. Torsten
        Message 3 of 24 , Feb 8, 2007
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          > >> In Old Persian we find the phrase '(ima tya) mana kartam' "(this
          > >> is the) by-me done", ie "this is what I did".

          > > Now, by this mistake, we have created a new preterite. Also, its
          > > semantics will oscillate between "it is done for me" and "it is
          > > done by me", same as we observe in the middle. Note that in Skt.
          > > the aor.mid.3sg ending is -ta, the Greek and IndoIranian forms
          > > together suggest that a middle could have been formed by analogy:
          > > pret. *-mo, *-so, *-to; *-nto, pres. with *-i *-moi, *-soi, *-toi;
          > > *-ntoi.
          >
          > Which means that the middle must have begun as an impersonal, with
          > forms only in the 3rd
          [Correction:] person,
          > pret. *-t-o, *-n-t-o, pres. *-t-o-i, *-n-t-o-i,
          > or possibly without the -t- (as my '4sg')
          > pret. *-o, *-r-o, pres. *-o-i, *-r-o-i.

          The Greek aor.mid.1sg ending is -ó-me:n, Dor. -ma:n, which corresponds
          to the OP mana kartam, but with a t-less ppp.


          Torsten
        • Joachim Pense
          ... I d like to know more on that exact question as well. Lehmann s book on PIE syntax has something
          Message 4 of 24 , Feb 10, 2007
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            Am Sat, 03 Feb 2007 16:28:43 -0000 schriebst du:

            > The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for
            > himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that distinction so
            > important that it needed a separate category? And why would that
            > category at times turn into a passive?
            >

            I'd like to know more on that exact question as well.

            Lehmann's book on PIE syntax
            <http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/books/pies00.html> has
            something on the matter; he ascribes it to PIE having been an OV
            language and the switch to SVO in the daughter languages (which he
            calls "the dialects").

            I just started reading the online version of this book; I did not find
            a real answer there yet, in particular why OV should imply the middle,
            but I am confident something is in one of the many chapters I did not
            read yet.

            Joachim
          • tgpedersen
            ... Hm. I used to think the grown-ups had all the answers too, if you ll pardon the simile. I should have thought of my own solution above (middle as once
            Message 5 of 24 , Feb 10, 2007
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              --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@...> wrote:
              >
              > Am Sat, 03 Feb 2007 16:28:43 -0000 schriebst du:
              >
              > > The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for
              > > himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that distinction so
              > > important that it needed a separate category? And why would that
              > > category at times turn into a passive?
              > >
              >
              > I'd like to know more on that exact question as well.
              >
              > Lehmann's book on PIE syntax
              > <http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/books/pies00.html> has
              > something on the matter; he ascribes it to PIE having been an OV
              > language and the switch to SVO in the daughter languages (which he
              > calls "the dialects").
              >
              > I just started reading the online version of this book; I did not
              > find a real answer there yet, in particular why OV should imply the
              > middle, but I am confident something is in one of the many chapters
              > I did not read yet.


              Hm. I used to think the grown-ups had all the answers too, if you'll
              pardon the simile. I should have thought of my own solution above
              (middle as once impersonal, with transition of focused NP to
              nominative from dative or instrumental) a long time ago. Estonian has
              an impersonal voice, which of course exists only in the 3rd person
              'sind oodatakse' "you are expected", cf 'sa ootad' "you wait". Note
              that the subject 'you' in 'you are expected' is in the partitive
              ('sind') in Estonian, a case that is used for the non-existent
              accusative (similarly to what is the case in Slavic languages); the
              equivalent (bad) German would be 'Dich ist erwartet'. For that matter,
              the PPIE impersonal voice which became the PIE middle might have been
              construed with an accusative too.


              Torsten
            • tgpedersen
              Estonian has ... Should have been dich wird erwartet (people shouldn t think I can t write bad German). Torsten
              Message 6 of 24 , Feb 10, 2007
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                Estonian has
                > an impersonal voice, which of course exists only in the 3rd person
                > 'sind oodatakse' "you are expected", cf 'sa ootad' "you wait". Note
                > that the subject 'you' in 'you are expected' is in the partitive
                > ('sind') in Estonian, a case that is used for the non-existent
                > accusative (similarly to what is the case in Slavic languages); the
                > equivalent (bad) German would be 'Dich ist erwartet'.

                Should have been 'dich wird erwartet' (people shouldn't think I can't
                write bad German).


                Torsten
              • tgpedersen
                ... Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and 3pl and which took the
                Message 7 of 24 , Feb 23, 2007
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                  --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Am Sat, 03 Feb 2007 16:28:43 -0000 schriebst du:
                  > >
                  > > > The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for
                  > > > himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that
                  > > > distinction so important that it needed a separate category? And
                  > > > why would that category at times turn into a passive?
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > > I'd like to know more on that exact question as well.
                  > >
                  > > Lehmann's book on PIE syntax
                  > > <http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/books/pies00.html> has
                  > > something on the matter; he ascribes it to PIE having been an OV
                  > > language and the switch to SVO in the daughter languages (which he
                  > > calls "the dialects").
                  > >
                  > > I just started reading the online version of this book; I did not
                  > > find a real answer there yet, in particular why OV should imply
                  > > the middle, but I am confident something is in one of the many
                  > > chapters I did not read yet.
                  >
                  >
                  > Hm. I used to think the grown-ups had all the answers too, if you'll
                  > pardon the simile. I should have thought of my own solution above
                  > (middle as once impersonal, with transition of focused NP to
                  > nominative from dative or instrumental) a long time ago. Estonian
                  > has an impersonal voice, which of course exists only in the 3rd
                  > person 'sind oodatakse' "you are expected", cf 'sa ootad' "you
                  > wait". Note that the subject 'you' in 'you are expected' is in the
                  > partitive ('sind') in Estonian, a case that is used for the
                  > non-existent accusative (similarly to what is the case in Slavic
                  > languages); the equivalent (bad) German would be 'Dich ist
                  > erwartet'. For that matter, the PPIE impersonal voice which became
                  > the PIE middle might have been construed with an accusative too.


                  Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in
                  Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and 3pl
                  and which took the 'subject' in the accusative, just as is the case in
                  Estonian.


                  Torsten
                • Joachim Pense
                  ... As in German idioms: mich friert , mich dürstet ? Here the subject is in the accusative, but the verb form is active. Joachim
                  Message 8 of 24 , Feb 23, 2007
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                    Am Fri, 23 Feb 2007 22:52:35 -0000 schriebst du:

                    > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:
                    >>
                    >> --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@> wrote:
                    >>>
                    >>> Am Sat, 03 Feb 2007 16:28:43 -0000 schriebst du:
                    >>>
                    >>> > The semantics of the middle has always escaped me. He did it for
                    >>> > himself vs. he did it? Why would a language find that
                    >>> > distinction so important that it needed a separate category? And
                    >>> > why would that category at times turn into a passive?
                    >>> >
                    >>>
                    >>> I'd like to know more on that exact question as well.
                    >>>
                    >>> Lehmann's book on PIE syntax
                    >>> <http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/books/pies00.html> has
                    >>> something on the matter; he ascribes it to PIE having been an OV
                    >>> language and the switch to SVO in the daughter languages (which he
                    >>> calls "the dialects").
                    >>>
                    >>> I just started reading the online version of this book; I did not
                    >>> find a real answer there yet, in particular why OV should imply
                    >>> the middle, but I am confident something is in one of the many
                    >>> chapters I did not read yet.
                    >>
                    >> Hm. I used to think the grown-ups had all the answers too, if you'll
                    >> pardon the simile. I should have thought of my own solution above
                    >> (middle as once impersonal, with transition of focused NP to
                    >> nominative from dative or instrumental) a long time ago. Estonian
                    >> has an impersonal voice, which of course exists only in the 3rd
                    >> person 'sind oodatakse' "you are expected", cf 'sa ootad' "you
                    >> wait". Note that the subject 'you' in 'you are expected' is in the
                    >> partitive ('sind') in Estonian, a case that is used for the
                    >> non-existent accusative (similarly to what is the case in Slavic
                    >> languages); the equivalent (bad) German would be 'Dich ist
                    >> erwartet'. For that matter, the PPIE impersonal voice which became
                    >> the PIE middle might have been construed with an accusative too.
                    >
                    > Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in
                    > Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and 3pl
                    > and which took the 'subject' in the accusative, just as is the case in
                    > Estonian.
                    >

                    As in German idioms: "mich friert", "mich dürstet"?

                    Here the 'subject' is in the accusative, but the verb form is active.

                    Joachim
                  • tgpedersen
                    ... Apart from the fact that the verb is not formally, only semantically impersonal, a development as in Danish mig tørster (in the oldest Bible
                    Message 9 of 24 , Feb 23, 2007
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                      > > For that matter, the PPIE impersonal voice which became
                      > > the PIE middle might have been construed with an accusative too.
                      > >
                      > > Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in
                      > > Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and
                      > > 3pl and which took the 'subject' in the accusative, just as is the
                      > > case in Estonian.
                      > >
                      >
                      > As in German idioms: "mich friert", "mich dürstet"?
                      >
                      > Here the 'subject' is in the accusative, but the verb form is active.

                      Apart from the fact that the verb is not formally, only semantically
                      impersonal, a development as in Danish 'mig tørster' (in the oldest
                      Bible translations) -> 'jeg tørster' (now only in a transferred sense,
                      eg for knowledge), 'jeg fryser', is the one I proposed for the PIE middle.

                      BTW, there is a dialectal difference in Danish, standard 'Jeg fryser
                      om hænderne' lit. "I am-freezing about the-hands", ie "my hands are
                      cold", vs. jysk "Jeg fryser hænderne", lit. "I am-freezing the-hands".
                      The latter can only make sense as a former construction with dative
                      *'mig fryser hænderne', lit. "to-me are-freezing the hands"


                      Torsten
                    • tgpedersen
                      ... Check impersonal in http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Osca_Lingua http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Latin_Language Unfortunately, badly cleared up after
                      Message 10 of 24 , Feb 24, 2007
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                        > As in German idioms: "mich friert", "mich dürstet"?
                        >
                        > Here the 'subject' is in the accusative, but the verb form is active.

                        Check 'impersonal' in

                        http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Osca_Lingua
                        http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Latin_Language
                        Unfortunately, badly cleared up after scanning (or by a non-linguist),
                        so the actual forms can't be trusted.

                        The article the abstract of which can be found here
                        http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2018350
                        seems to contain some interesting (because I agree) ideas about the
                        constancy of impersonality in verbs of states of weather vs. their
                        universal disappearance in verbs of states of mind.


                        Torsten
                      • Jens Elmegård Rasmussen
                        ... in ... Where did you learn that? Unless you can show me some, I don t think there is any evidence for it. It is true of Old Irish, however, but I am very
                        Message 11 of 24 , Feb 25, 2007
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                          --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

                          > Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in
                          > Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and 3pl
                          > and which took the 'subject' in the accusative, just as is the case
                          in
                          > Estonian.

                          Where did you learn that? Unless you can show me some, I don't think
                          there is any evidence for it. It is true of Old Irish, however, but I
                          am very sure that is an innovation, a mere constructio ad sensum:
                          Anyone can get the idea of putting the undergoer in the accusative,
                          but it is quite another matter to put it in the nominative if *that*
                          is the innovation.

                          Jens
                        • tgpedersen
                          ... The links I provided in http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/47595 Look for impersonal ... The accusative is the natural case for the
                          Message 12 of 24 , Feb 25, 2007
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                            --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Jens Elmegård Rasmussen <elme@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@> wrote:
                            >
                            > > Tsk, tsk. I just learned that what is the passive in Latin was in
                            > > Oscan and Umbrian an impersonal which existed only in the 3sg and
                            > > 3pl and which took the 'subject' in the accusative, just as is the
                            > > case in Estonian.
                            >
                            > Where did you learn that?

                            The links I provided in
                            http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/47595
                            Look for 'impersonal'

                            > Unless you can show me some, I don't think there is any evidence for
                            > it. It is true of Old Irish, however, but I am very sure that is an
                            > innovation, a mere constructio ad sensum: Anyone can get the idea of
                            > putting the undergoer in the accusative, but it is quite another
                            > matter to put it in the nominative if *that* is the innovation.

                            The accusative is the natural case for the undergoer in sentences with
                            impersonal verb forms. That's the way it is in Estonian (and
                            Finnish?), and cf. the Russian use of 3pl (active), with accusative
                            for undergoer of course, as impersonal. I think the impersonal with
                            accusative (or dative, or instrumental) is the starting point, from
                            which the middle developed. Once people got the idea of switching the
                            undergoer to subject, in the nominative, they had to find a way to
                            make the verb agree; that's how the 1st and 2nd persons were
                            constructed. The impersonal is not a specialization of the middle or
                            passive, it is the other way around.


                            Torsten
                          • Joachim Pense
                            ... To me, that makes sense for the passive, but why for the middle? Joachim
                            Message 13 of 24 , Feb 25, 2007
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                              Am Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:55:47 -0000 schriebst du:

                              > The impersonal is not a specialization of the middle or
                              > passive, it is the other way around.
                              >

                              To me, that makes sense for the passive, but why for the middle?

                              Joachim
                            • tgpedersen
                              ... An original impersonal construction with the instrumental a me factum by-me (it is) done gives the passive sense, an original impersonal construction
                              Message 14 of 24 , Feb 25, 2007
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                                --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Am Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:55:47 -0000 schriebst du:
                                >
                                > > The impersonal is not a specialization of the middle or
                                > > passive, it is the other way around.
                                > >
                                >
                                > To me, that makes sense for the passive, but why for the middle?

                                An original impersonal construction with the instrumental
                                'a me factum' "by-me (it is) done"
                                gives the passive sense,
                                an original impersonal construction with the dative
                                'mihi factum' "for-me (it is) done"
                                gives the middle sense;
                                when case-changed to
                                'ego factum'
                                it has both senses.
                                In the latter case we actually need the double sense
                                "by-me for-me (it is) done"
                                which I suppose is possible too, since the two senses have fallen
                                together in one construction.

                                This doesn't impress me with its clarity. Is it comprehensible?


                                Torsten
                              • Joachim Pense
                                ... What about this: Impersonal becomes _passive_, either direct or indirect. accusative - nominative: someone beats me (imp.) = I m beaten dative -
                                Message 15 of 24 , Feb 26, 2007
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                                  Am Mon, 26 Feb 2007 07:59:40 -0000 schriebst du:

                                  > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@...> wrote:
                                  >>
                                  >> Am Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:55:47 -0000 schriebst du:
                                  >>
                                  >>> The impersonal is not a specialization of the middle or
                                  >>> passive, it is the other way around.
                                  >>>
                                  >>
                                  >> To me, that makes sense for the passive, but why for the middle?
                                  >
                                  > An original impersonal construction with the instrumental
                                  > 'a me factum' "by-me (it is) done"
                                  > gives the passive sense,
                                  > an original impersonal construction with the dative
                                  > 'mihi factum' "for-me (it is) done"
                                  > gives the middle sense;
                                  > when case-changed to
                                  > 'ego factum'
                                  > it has both senses.
                                  > In the latter case we actually need the double sense
                                  > "by-me for-me (it is) done"
                                  > which I suppose is possible too, since the two senses have fallen
                                  > together in one construction.
                                  >
                                  > This doesn't impress me with its clarity. Is it comprehensible?
                                  >

                                  What about this:

                                  Impersonal becomes _passive_, either direct or indirect.

                                  accusative -> nominative: someone beats me (imp.) => I'm beaten
                                  dative -> nominative : someone gives me a book => I'm given a book

                                  Reflexive becomes _medium_, either direct or indirect.

                                  accusative -> nominative: I beat myself -> I beat+MED
                                  dative -> nominative: I give a book to myself -> I give+MED book

                                  Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                  active and medium, but not the passive.

                                  Joachim
                                • Patrick Ryan
                                  ... From: Joachim Pense To: cybalist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 11:01 AM
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Feb 26, 2007
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                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 11:01 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [tied] Re: The Meanings of Middle, or mana kartam

                                    <snip>


                                    What about this:

                                    Impersonal becomes _passive_, either direct or indirect.

                                    accusative -> nominative: someone beats me (imp.) => I'm beaten
                                    dative -> nominative : someone gives me a book => I'm given a book

                                    Reflexive becomes _medium_, either direct or indirect.

                                    accusative -> nominative: I beat myself -> I beat+MED
                                    dative -> nominative: I give a book to myself -> I give+MED book

                                    Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                    active and medium, but not the passive.

                                    Joachim

                                     

                                    ***

                                    The passive is a totally a totally superfluous grammatical grace-note. There is nothing which cannot be expressed by the active and its subheading reflexive/middle.

                                    If we can accept the idea that the earliest verb was unipersonal, uninflected for (only one) person, this all becomes a bit more understandable.

                                    "The speaker beats . . ."; "the listener beats . . .".

                                    With these two, and "someone beats . . .", the implication is that a second entity receives the beating. If we say "someone beats him", the implication is that "someone" and "him" are not the same. In those rare instances where they are, either a differentiated form for "him" or an inflection would be necessary (reflexive/medium).

                                    Patrick

                                    ***

                                  • tgpedersen
                                    ... I started out with a PPIE impersonal in *-or or *-tor which becomes both middle and passive (3sg only, I should have pointed out). You start out with an
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Feb 26, 2007
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                                      --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Am Mon, 26 Feb 2007 07:59:40 -0000 schriebst du:
                                      >
                                      > > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@> wrote:
                                      > >>
                                      > >> Am Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:55:47 -0000 schriebst du:
                                      > >>
                                      > >>> The impersonal is not a specialization of the middle or
                                      > >>> passive, it is the other way around.
                                      > >>>
                                      > >>
                                      > >> To me, that makes sense for the passive, but why for the middle?
                                      > >
                                      > > An original impersonal construction with the instrumental
                                      > > 'a me factum' "by-me (it is) done"
                                      > > gives the passive sense,
                                      > > an original impersonal construction with the dative
                                      > > 'mihi factum' "for-me (it is) done"
                                      > > gives the middle sense;
                                      > > when case-changed to
                                      > > 'ego factum'
                                      > > it has both senses.
                                      > > In the latter case we actually need the double sense
                                      > > "by-me for-me (it is) done"
                                      > > which I suppose is possible too, since the two senses have fallen
                                      > > together in one construction.
                                      > >
                                      > > This doesn't impress me with its clarity. Is it comprehensible?
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      > What about this:
                                      >
                                      > Impersonal becomes _passive_, either direct or indirect.
                                      >
                                      > accusative -> nominative: someone beats me (imp.) => I'm beaten
                                      > dative -> nominative : someone gives me a book => I'm given a book
                                      >
                                      > Reflexive becomes _medium_, either direct or indirect.
                                      >
                                      > accusative -> nominative: I beat myself -> I beat+MED
                                      > dative -> nominative: I give a book to myself -> I give+MED book

                                      I started out with a PPIE impersonal in *-or or *-tor which becomes
                                      both middle and passive (3sg only, I should have pointed out). You
                                      start out with an impersonal and a reflexive and I don't know what
                                      their endings are.


                                      > Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                      > active and medium, but not the passive.

                                      That's also a good question. My original question was, why does the
                                      middle have such peculiar semantics?


                                      Torsten
                                    • Richard Wordingham
                                      ... Verbs can be neutral as to active v. passive, with the difference made by the presence or an absence of an explicit object. Chinese is often cited as a
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Feb 26, 2007
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                                        --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

                                        > > Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                        > > active and medium, but not the passive.

                                        > That's also a good question. My original question was, why does the
                                        > middle have such peculiar semantics?

                                        Verbs can be neutral as to active v. passive, with the difference made
                                        by the presence or an absence of an explicit object. Chinese is often
                                        cited as a clear example of a language where transitive verbs with
                                        active meaning require explicit objects. I can't decide whether the
                                        next point is relevant, but recall that in an ergative language the
                                        voice contrast is not active v. passive but active v. antipassive.

                                        Might not the middle v. active distinction be that the middle
                                        expresses an interest (focus?) on the grammatical subject? I can't
                                        square this with the notion of the middle being impersonal.

                                        Richard.
                                      • tgpedersen
                                        ... That s the classical formulation. It doesn t help me relate it to anything else. Let s look at Fillmore s deep cases. The problem with the IE middle is
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Feb 26, 2007
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                                          --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Wordingham" <richard@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > > Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                          > > > active and medium, but not the passive.
                                          >
                                          > > That's also a good question. My original question was, why does
                                          > > the middle have such peculiar semantics?
                                          >
                                          > Verbs can be neutral as to active v. passive, with the difference
                                          > made by the presence or an absence of an explicit object. Chinese is
                                          > often cited as a clear example of a language where transitive verbs
                                          > with active meaning require explicit objects. I can't decide
                                          > whether the next point is relevant, but recall that in an ergative
                                          > language the voice contrast is not active v. passive but active v.
                                          > antipassive.
                                          >
                                          > Might not the middle v. active distinction be that the middle
                                          > expresses an interest (focus?) on the grammatical subject?

                                          That's the classical formulation. It doesn't help me relate it to
                                          anything else.

                                          Let's look at Fillmore's deep cases. The problem with the IE middle is
                                          that it has the formal subject as both A(gent) and B(eneficiary) at
                                          the same time, ie *I* do it *for me*. That's weird. The passive only
                                          has O(bject), same as the impersonal.


                                          >I can't square this with the notion of the middle being impersonal.

                                          It's impersonal in the sense that it doesn't mention the Agent, same
                                          as the passive.

                                          Come to think of it, I have falsely identified the accusative object
                                          of the impersonal sentence as the Agent, it is of course still the
                                          object. I'll rephrase:

                                          An original impersonal construction with the accusative
                                          'illum aspectum' "him (there is) seen"
                                          gives the passive sense,
                                          an original impersonal construction with the dative
                                          'illui aspectum' "for-him (there is) seen"
                                          gives the middle sense (part of it);
                                          when case-changed to
                                          'ille aspectum'
                                          it has both senses.
                                          In the latter case we actually need the double sense
                                          "by-him for-him (there is) seen"
                                          which is a narrower interpretation than
                                          "for-him (there is) seen";
                                          perhaps since the Beneficiary is now in the nominative, he is assumed
                                          to have initiated the action?


                                          Torsten
                                        • Jens Elmegård Rasmussen
                                          ... [Joachim Pense:] ... [Torsten Pedersen:] ... I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the middle is what is left of the original passive
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Feb 27, 2007
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                                            --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

                                            [Joachim Pense:]
                                            > > Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                            > > active and medium, but not the passive.
                                            [Torsten Pedersen:]
                                            > That's also a good question. My original question was, why does the
                                            > middle have such peculiar semantics?

                                            I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the middle
                                            is what is left of the original passive category. As new expressions
                                            specifically used of the passive developed the old form was pushed
                                            back to the fringes, so that the semantic range of the middle voice
                                            ends up being a patchwork of discontinuous special usages, i.e. all
                                            the secondary usages of the category. There remain however plenty of
                                            evidence that the middle voice also included the passive and even had
                                            the passive for its central zone of employment. So, the middle is,
                                            more than anything, a displaced passive. I think that explains all the
                                            problems that have been raised here.

                                            Jens
                                          • Joachim Pense
                                            ... That s the opposite of what I heard about the middle/passive story: What they tell is that middle came first, acquired a passive meaning, which at last
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Feb 27, 2007
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                                              Am Tue, 27 Feb 2007 19:07:26 -0000 schriebst du:

                                              > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > [Joachim Pense:]
                                              >>> Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                              >>> active and medium, but not the passive.
                                              > [Torsten Pedersen:]
                                              >> That's also a good question. My original question was, why does the
                                              >> middle have such peculiar semantics?
                                              >
                                              > I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the middle
                                              > is what is left of the original passive category. As new expressions
                                              > specifically used of the passive developed the old form was pushed
                                              > back to the fringes, so that the semantic range of the middle voice
                                              > ends up being a patchwork of discontinuous special usages, i.e. all
                                              > the secondary usages of the category. There remain however plenty of
                                              > evidence that the middle voice also included the passive and even had
                                              > the passive for its central zone of employment. So, the middle is,
                                              > more than anything, a displaced passive. I think that explains all the
                                              > problems that have been raised here.
                                              >

                                              That's the opposite of what I heard about the middle/passive story:
                                              What they tell is that middle came first, acquired a passive meaning,
                                              which at last prevailed in the daughter languages.

                                              Joachim
                                            • squilluncus
                                              ... middle ... expressions ... of ... had ... the ... Yet, we can see the opposite evidence from modern languages: an impersonal reflexive with medial meaning:
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Feb 27, 2007
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                                                --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Jens Elmegård Rasmussen <elme@...>
                                                wrote:
                                                >
                                                > I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the
                                                middle
                                                > is what is left of the original passive category. As new
                                                expressions
                                                > specifically used of the passive developed the old form was pushed
                                                > back to the fringes, so that the semantic range of the middle voice
                                                > ends up being a patchwork of discontinuous special usages, i.e. all
                                                > the secondary usages of the category. There remain however plenty
                                                of
                                                > evidence that the middle voice also included the passive and even
                                                had
                                                > the passive for its central zone of employment. So, the middle is,
                                                > more than anything, a displaced passive. I think that explains all
                                                the
                                                > problems that have been raised here.
                                                >
                                                > Jens
                                                >
                                                Yet, we can see the opposite evidence from modern languages:
                                                an impersonal reflexive with medial meaning: se habla espa¨nol, qui
                                                si mangea bene; this is often approaching to or turning into true
                                                passive sense: si crede (di un gran numero) "it is believed (by
                                                many)".
                                                Or an example of a true medium: "jeg synes". There is no way I can
                                                imagine this having developed from a passive (I am seen!). More
                                                likely in my opinion Torsten's scenario: "det synes mig" putting the
                                                concerned person in the phrase in the nominative.

                                                Nothing can be seen that PIE or PPIE passive-mediums are of reflexive
                                                origine, though, and being parallel to modern development in many
                                                languages.

                                                Lars
                                              • tgpedersen
                                                ... Saying that the odd semantics of the middle is one of the many senses of the original middle removes the objection that it is an odd language which has a
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Feb 27, 2007
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                                                  --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Jens Elmegård Rasmussen <elme@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > [Joachim Pense:]
                                                  > > > Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                                  > > > active and medium, but not the passive.
                                                  > [Torsten Pedersen:]
                                                  > > That's also a good question. My original question was, why does the
                                                  > > middle have such peculiar semantics?
                                                  >
                                                  > I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the
                                                  > middle is what is left of the original passive category. As new
                                                  > expressions specifically used of the passive developed the old form
                                                  > was pushed back to the fringes, so that the semantic range of the
                                                  > middle voice ends up being a patchwork of discontinuous special
                                                  > usages, i.e. all the secondary usages of the category. There remain
                                                  > however plenty of evidence that the middle voice also included the
                                                  > passive and even had the passive for its central zone of employment.
                                                  > So, the middle is, more than anything, a displaced passive. I think
                                                  > that explains all the problems that have been raised here.


                                                  Saying that the odd semantics of the middle is one of the many senses
                                                  of the original middle removes the objection that it is an odd
                                                  language which has a separate form with such an odd semantics. But
                                                  does not even try to explain the oddness of the semantics of that
                                                  sense of the original middle: "he does it for himself". Why the
                                                  original middle had these two senses, and how (if at all) they are
                                                  related isn't explained that way. That just sweeps the problem under
                                                  the carpet. My proposal does try to explain the passive and the middle
                                                  sense from just one construction.


                                                  Torsten
                                                • tgpedersen
                                                  ... So, I sacrifice for myself - I am sacrificed ? Hm. Torsten
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Feb 27, 2007
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                                                    --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, Joachim Pense <jo-01@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > Am Tue, 27 Feb 2007 19:07:26 -0000 schriebst du:
                                                    >
                                                    > > --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@> wrote:
                                                    > >
                                                    > > [Joachim Pense:]
                                                    > >>> Still your original question remains: Why should a language have
                                                    > >>> active and medium, but not the passive.
                                                    > > [Torsten Pedersen:]
                                                    > >> That's also a good question. My original question was, why does
                                                    > >> the middle have such peculiar semantics?
                                                    > >
                                                    > > I think there is a simple answer to this: The semantics of the
                                                    > > middle is what is left of the original passive category. As new
                                                    > > expressions specifically used of the passive developed the old
                                                    > > form was pushed back to the fringes, so that the semantic range of
                                                    > > the middle voice ends up being a patchwork of discontinuous
                                                    > > special usages, i.e. all the secondary usages of the category.
                                                    > > There remain however plenty of evidence that the middle voice also
                                                    > > included the passive and even had the passive for its central zone
                                                    > > of employment. So, the middle is, more than anything, a displaced
                                                    > > passive. I think that explains all the problems that have been
                                                    > > raised here.
                                                    > >
                                                    >
                                                    > That's the opposite of what I heard about the middle/passive story:
                                                    > What they tell is that middle came first, acquired a passive
                                                    > meaning, which at last prevailed in the daughter languages.

                                                    So, "I sacrifice for myself" -> "I am sacrificed"? Hm.


                                                    Torsten
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