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.