Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Doing My Duty By Wikipedia
"Most languages are satisfied with simply an Active and a Passive voice . In the majority of situations that use a verb to describe them, a person is either doing something to someone, or having something done to them. X is doing Y to Z = Active Voice. Z is having y done to him by X =Passive Voice. Even in an intransitive situation, where the subject of the sentence isn't actually doing anything to anyone else at all - the subject of the sentence is, nonetheless, still doing something, and therefore ought to be spoken about in the Active Voice of the verb. The clearest example of an intrasitive verb, is the verb to be : John is at home "ho Ioannees oikoi" -( I can't find the correct font so fuck off). In the same vein, an example of the Passive Voice "to kreas esthietai" (meat is eaten) does not necessarily require clarification as to by whom or what exactly, it has been eaten. It's just passive meat, sitting there, being eaten by someone or something we are not interested in.
When someone is doing something to themselves, rather than to someone or something else, most languages are content to leave it at a reflexive verb: je me lave le visage, I pick myself up, Ich frage mich ob du wirklich noch 'was Kuchen brauchst, dicke Kuh. However, Ancient Greek prefers to add another voice to the more mainstream Active and Passive - the Middle Voice. So where the verb used in English is reflexive, Greek would use the verb in its Middle form.
If the Subject of the verb both initates the action, and participates in its outcome the verb will be in the Middle voice. In addition to this, when there is some confusion as to whether the supposed nominative of the sentence was really taking an active or passive part in the proceedings, Greek uses the Middle Voice to blur the boundaries of precision. That is why Greek was used in the New testament, as the Middle Voice was required, both to get around Voice-predictingly difficult concepts like "rising" (from the dead) or "being raised" (from the dead), AND the challenges presented by the nominative of a sentence being part of a Trinity, making it hard to tell exactly which of the three possibilities is actually carrying out, or benefiting from the verb. So there you have it -the Middle Voice in Greek. Look in your Abbot and Mansfield for how to create it, and learn your principal parts."
Suggestions for amendment in the comments please.
PS "holepooi" = well, I think you can define that yerself
`Ich beeilte mich nach Auschwitz, um die Judenfrage endlich zu lösen'
would work I guess
So.....if we said to Barry "please go fuck yourself" - where would his middle voice be then?
Can you actually substantiate your thesis as to why Greek was used in the New Testament to blur the boundaries of precision? I'm not so sure...
Mick... to preserve the middle voice, the correct sentence structure would be, "Barry fucked himself." Having said that, I'm now wondering if that isn't pseudo-reflexive.
Anyway, back to rubbing myself through my trousers while watching the shelling of Gaza.
As for the use of Greek in the new Testament, the Middle voice gives an air of mystery to a sentence. Did Jesus rise from the dead all by himself or did someone help him? Was it God the Father making him rise or was God the Son just getting his arse out of the tomb all by himself. Without the middle voice for the verb - so in English for example - the question of rising and who rose or was raised hangs in the air like a theologian's dirty undergarment. The Middle voice gives things that, in English, are unmentionable or unfathomable a voice of their own. It's why Greek is great for philosophy. German is good too for precision in philosophy, once a concept has been identified and needs to be nailed down. Greek is a good language for airy fairy waftiness, for the conception and incubation of ideas, before they take on a definite form.
But that's just my opinion and I'm interested in African Tree Frogs at the moment - so if you've got any tips on how to keep them, I'd love to hear them
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