Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.

Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby cwconrad » April 19th, 2014, 10:18 am

cwconrad wrote:
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:The quest continues... "The subject is under the influence of the event described in the verb."

That’s helpful. The troublesome sentence might be reformulated to include these elements: “Middle marking indicates that the subject is somehow involved in the action or process to which the verb refers. The subject may be an agent and also a patient (direct reflexive), or an agent and also a beneficiary (indirect reflexive). The subject may be a patient affected by an external agent or instrument (passive). The subject may be an experiencer receiving sensations or responding emotionally or engaging in a cognitive process or interaction with another or others. The subject may be an undergoer of an internal process, whether spontaneous or voluntary (birth, growth, change,body movement, spatial movement).”

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:It still has the first sentence untouched. That was what I found problematic. It kind of says one thing and then the rest says another thing. "involved more than just as an agent" or something like that would be better. But the rest is now very good.

Considering the audience, can you assume that the reader knows what "agent" and "patient" mean? (A CIA agent was wounded and became a patient in a hospital...)

Eeli, I'm now proposing to expand the troublesome paragraph concerning the import of middle-marking and subject-affectedness considerably as follows. What I am particularly concerned is to make as intelligible as possible what is meant by the phrasing, "the subject is somehow involved in the action or process to which the verb refers." Here are my revised paragraphs; I'm asking whether this is any clearer.

What distinguishes active voice morphology from middle-passive voice morphology is not transitivity or causality, but the fact that active verb-forms are unmarked for subject- affectedness while middle-passive verb-forms are marked for subject-affectedness. 
 Middle-marking indicates that the subject is somehow involved in the action or process to which the verb refers, not simply as the agent – one of several semantic roles described by linguists: patient, beneficiary, experiencer, undergoer. A patient is a person or thing directly affected by an act performed by an external agent or impacted by some external instrument (e.g. a ship at sea battered by gale winds, a fugitive chased by policemen). A beneficiary is a person whose interests are served or to whom harm is done (e.g. the recipient of a gift, the victim of a dishonest act). An experiencer is a person receiving sensations or engaged in understanding or judging or subject to mild or strong emotion (e.g. one who delights or dreads or desires someone or something). An undergoer – is a person or thing subject to some spontaneous or deliberate process (e.g. being born, dying, growing, decomposing). Any of these roles may describe the subject of a Greek active verb, but Middle-marking emphasizes the subject-affectedness of the action or process indicated by the verb.

In a transitive construction the grammatical subject is an agent acting upon a patient (e.g. λύει ὁ ἀνὴρ τὸν ἵππον “the man unties the horse”). If the grammatical subject is the patient acted upon by an external agent or instrument, then the middle-marked verb is passive (e.g. λύεται ὁ ἵππος ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀνδρός “the horse is untied by the man”). Suppose the horse is uncomfortable and works his way loose; in that case middle-marking will indicate that grammatical subject is both agent and patient (λύεται ὁ ἵππος). Note that this phrasing indicates no external agent, although it’s certainly possible that the horse gets loose because its owner unties it or perhaps because the worn tether breaks. The Greek middle voice does not indicate whether the horse gets loose through an external agent or through the horse’s own persistent straining against its bonds. The fact that the grammatical subject is a patient is what the middle-marking indicates in this instance, and it should be noted that this construction is essentially reflexive; in many languages reflexive constructions are employed in a manner very much like middle-marking in Greek. Traditional Greek grammar terms this usage “direct reflexive.”

Middle-marking may also be employed when the grammatical subject is not only the agent but also the beneficiary of the action or process. (e.g. κτᾶται ὁ ἀνὴρ ἵππον “The man acquires a horse (for himself).”) Traditional Greek grammar terms this usage “indirect reflexive.” When the subject is an experiencer engaged in receiving and mentally processing experiential data (feeling, tasting, smelling, sensing generally, e.g. αἰσθάνεσθαι, γεύεσθαι, ὀσφραίνεσθαι) or responding emotionally to some stimulus (fear, anger, desire, pleasure, pain, etc., e.g., φοβεῖσθαι, ὀργίζεσθαι, ὀρέγεσθαι, ἥδεσθαι, λυπεῖσθαι), or engaged in the cognitive processing of information (pondering, planning, reaching a conclusion, etc., e.g. λογίζεσθαι, βουλεύεσθαι, ἡγεῖσθαι), or in speech in response to another or others in a critical confrontation of some sort (blame, accusation, , answering, commanding, etc., e.g. μέμφεσθαι, αἰτιᾶσθαι, ἀποκρίνεσθαι, ἐντέλλεσθαι), the verb’s middle-marking indicates the grammatical subject’s deeper involvement in the verbal process. Interaction with another or others (dialogue, interrogation, combat, etc., διαλέγεσθαι, ἐρίζεσθαι, μάχεσθαι) and reciprocal actions (gathering, dispersal and collective behavior generally, e.g., συναγείρεσθαι, διαμερίζεσθαι) also commonly are associated with middle-marking of the verbs. When the grammatical subject is an undergoer of a process, whether a voluntary action (e.g. body movement (καθίζεσθαι, ἱστασθαι) or locomotion (πορεύεσθαι) or of a spontaneous process (e.g. birth – γενέσθαι or spoiling (of something organic – σήπεσθαι), middle-marking is commonly found in the verb-form.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Many people think they believe different forms need differen

Postby Stephen Hughes » April 20th, 2014, 4:25 am

Seeing as many people think they believe different forms need different meanings, and your model seems to say that's not the case between middle and passive forms, it might be useful to call attention to other instances where that happens in Greek.

I can't think of a good example, but a good enough one might be accusative in α/ν but that's phonetic, of αρ / ρα but that's dialectical. Imperatives in ίνα + subjunctive is good example is coexistent forms during a period of change, but it's obscure. Verbs of speaking with προς + accusative or with the dative is another one, but again an individual case, not a coexisting lot of verbal forms.

Perhaps referring to the earlier period where having the subjunctive and optative with the same meaning led to the loss of the one, but you are not writing for classicists.

My main point is that I think you should talk a little about how two things can be different and have the same force. Form is a superset of meaning. People are often told that form is the has to be used together to create meaning, meaning is more than form.

Actually, the process is more accurately simplification to the abstraction known as grammar which then constructs meaning. You are adjusting the abstraction and the construction of meaning. Perhaps you should show parallels / similar for the type of abstraction you are trying to make in this cases.
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
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Re: Different forms with the same meanings

Postby cwconrad » April 20th, 2014, 7:06 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Seeing as many people think they believe different forms need different meanings, and your model seems to say that's not the case between middle and passive forms, it might be useful to call attention to other instances where that happens in Greek.

I can't think of a good example, but a good enough one might be accusative in α/ν but that's phonetic, of αρ / ρα but that's dialectical. Imperatives in ίνα + subjunctive is good example is coexistent forms during a period of change, but it's obscure. Verbs of speaking with προς + accusative or with the dative is another one, but again an individual case, not a coexisting lot of verbal forms.

Perhaps referring to the earlier period where having the subjunctive and optative with the same meaning led to the loss of the one, but you are not writing for classicists.

My main point is that I think you should talk a little about how two things can be different and have the same force. Form is a superset of meaning. People are often told that form is the has to be used together to create meaning, meaning is more than form.

Actually, the process is more accurately simplification to the abstraction known as grammar which then constructs meaning. You are adjusting the abstraction and the construction of meaning. Perhaps you should show parallels / similar for the type of abstraction you are trying to make in this cases.


It may not be clear to others, but it's clear to me (from our exchange of PMs) that you're referring to my claim that the text of the GNT as a whole shows that the middle aorist forms in μην/σο/το κτλ. were in process of being supplanted by passive aorist forms in θην/θης/θη κτλ. I cited as "allomorphs" GNT instances of ἀπεκρίναμην κτλ. (7x, all in Luke!, and ἀπεκρίθην κτλ. (213x), and of ἐγενόμην κτλ. (447x) and ἐγενήθην (45x). GNT data for the far less common verb, ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι "rejoice" appears confusing; there's clearly no difference of meaning in this intransitive verb: ἠγαλλίασεν (1x), ἠγαλλιάσατο (4x), ἠγαλλιάθη (1x). Comparable data from the LXX for these verbs is perhaps more revealing: aorist forms of ἀποκρίνασθα/ἀποκριθῆναιι: Active 1x (imperative!), Middle 4x, Passive 205x; γενέσθαι/γενηθῆναι: Middle 1379x, Passive 420; ἀγαλλιάσασθαι/ἀγαλλιαθῆναι: Middle 14x, Passive 0x -- This is clearly a middle verb, although BDAG lemmatizes it as ἀγαλλιάω.

You've mentioned usage of ἵνα -- it certainly is interesting to see how ἵνα + subjunctive constructions are usurping other functions and paving the way toward MG's να + subjunctive constructions.

The best example of comparable "allomorphs" in the GNT is the incremental conjugation of second aorists with endings in α/ας/ε, e.g. εἶπον/εἶπα, εἶδον/εἶδα κτλ. Here too the supplanting of the older thematic forms by the newer alpha forms is uneven but is clearly in progress as evidenced in the texts. With regard to the supplanting of second aorist middles by aorist passives, Rutger Allan has demonstrated that the process is already evident in Homeric Greek and has proceeded considerably further in Classical Greek, and we know that the process continued in the further development toward Modern Greek, where there are remnants of old middle morphology but these are all termed "passive" forms.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 20th, 2014, 9:16 am

I don't think that, in our period of Greek, the aorist middle forms and the aorist passive forms had become allomorphs in all important categories of verbs (e.g., transitives like λύω), but it is clear per Rutger Allan's work that certain categories of middle verbs were in the process of switching from the sigmatic to the (θ)η forms in the aorist. So it is probably confusing to give off either impression that they were distinct or merged. The Greek learner ought to know the behavior of the verbs in real contexts or be familiar with good lexica rather than depend on general characterizations of their inflections.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby cwconrad » April 20th, 2014, 9:48 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I don't think that, in our period of Greek, the aorist middle forms and the aorist passive forms had become allomorphs in all important categories of verbs (e.g., transitives like λύω), but it is clear per Rutger Allan's work that certain categories of middle verbs were in the process of switching from the sigmatic to the (θ)η forms in the aorist. So it is probably confusing to give off either impression that they were distinct or merged. The Greek learner ought to know the behavior of the verbs in real contexts or be familiar with good lexica rather than depend on general characterizations of their inflections.

I would agree, although it's worth underscoring that Rutger Allan's data only show the encroachment of θη endings into middle-passive types in Classical Attic that still used μην/σο/το endings in Homer. The data on the extent of their further encroachment in Hellenistic Greek should be compiled and accounted for. This also has considerable bearing on tagging strategy in AGNT: the current classification of "deponent" verbs into several categories distinguishes forms but doesn't say anything about semantic force of these forms -- unless you are content with the facile suggestion that all "deponents" are "middle or passive in form but active in meaning" -- where "active" is ambivalent as to whether it refers to the form of a transitive verb or whether it means the subject is an "agent". In a "grooming verb" such as κείρεται "he cuts his hair/gets his hair cut." the grammatical subject is also the "patient."

Tagging verb-forms solely in terms of morphological paradigms is intended to force the user to consult the lexical entry for particular verbs rather than to conclude without further thought that a passive verb must bear a passive semantic force.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby MAubrey » April 20th, 2014, 1:14 pm

Here's an adaption of Allan's categories to the Koine period that I put together. The verbs listed in the red boxes are ones where I have found at least one Koine instance that could be justified as fitting those semantics with a θη form. Granted, I did this like two years ago and don't have any references on hand. If I remember correctly, some of the verbs are less convincing than others... Anyway, they're certainly not allomorphs and they never become allomorphs because the distribution of the sigmatic middle simply becomes more constricted.

Image
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And what about the future?

Postby Stephen Hughes » April 20th, 2014, 5:26 pm

Carl,
Does your thinking extend to the future? λύσω and λύσομαι λυθήσομαι? Do you see the MP1 & 2 as allomorphs?

In the future tense, the θησ form doesn't survive down to Modern Greek (except θα βοηθήσω which can look confusing), and the σ in the Modern greek simple future is actually the sigma of the aorist.

Where does the -κα of Modern Greek aorist passive indicative αγαπήθηκα "I was loved" come from?

Stephen C.,
Why are transitive verbs special?
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
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ω άφρον αγράμματε Στέφανε, παρέγραψας το λύομαι

Postby Stephen Hughes » April 20th, 2014, 6:15 pm

Sorry for my low IQ!

That λύω should be λύομαι.
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).
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Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » April 21st, 2014, 2:58 am

cwconrad wrote:Here are my revised paragraphs; I'm asking whether this is any clearer.

Middle-marking indicates that the subject is somehow involved in the action or process to which the verb refers, not simply as the agent – one of several semantic roles described by linguists: patient, beneficiary, experiencer, undergoer.


Now it conveys what I want to hear. It's just a bit complex English and required several readings to understand grammatically. But I'm not a native reader. The rest is certainly enlightening. It's a bit difficult to know what a first-time reader thinks about this because I have read your ideas (from your website) earlier and already agree. But the text looks clear and simple now.

If you want to be as persuasive as possible, I can give some personal reflection. The idea that active is not marked but MP is marked may be unpersuasive. From what was written in this forum about the SBL panel about this subject (if I remember correctly) even highly knowledgeable academic researchers didn't understand this. It could be good to mention that the idea of asymmetrical markedness is a well known idea in general linguistics. I found it confusing when I first read about it. When people see a new idea which is not (yet) mainstream they often think "well, that's a nice idea, but it's not a consensus, and because I can't judge all the details and don't know as much as the professionals, I just want to take the most probable opinion, which is the current consensus." It's critical for success that the proponents of a new idea explain the difficulties which well-known authorities attack or don't understand.

I hope to have time to write more later.
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Re: Feedback on Greek Voice Tagging and Rationale

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 21st, 2014, 4:51 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:From what was written in this forum about the SBL panel about this subject (if I remember correctly) even highly knowledgeable academic researchers didn't understand this.

My memory of this SBL panel is that a lot of the audience simply did not get this notion when Rutger Allan used it.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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