Kimmo Huovila kimmo.huovila at helsinki.fi
Tue Oct 23 15:12:17 EDT 2007

I think this is a good illustration of semantic overlap with voice. For some 
concepts active, middle, and passive semantics overlap. PERIPATEW happens to 
be active, even though a middle would do as well (body movement middle). 
POREUOMAI happens to be passive, but HODEUW is active. POREUEIN is what the 
donkey (horse, camel, car, whatever) does to the POREUOMENOS. Even if there 
were no active POREUW, the passive could still be considered a true passive. 
The meaning can be construed differently from a different perspective. We 
cannot always predict why one is active and the other passive or middle, but 
once we know the voice, we can see how it is motivated. Or that is at least 
our goal.

I wonder if the whole question of BAPTIZOMAI could be similarly understood: 
the meaning can be approached from both passive or middle semantics.


On Tuesday 23 October 2007, Iver Larsen wrote:
> Iver: For these verbs, Danish uses the "reflexive" "sig" (self). We 
say "glæde sig" og "fryde sig" 
> for rejoice. We can also say "Det glæder mig" (It makes me happy). So, 
maybe "jeg glæder mig" really 
> means "I make myself happy" rather than just "I rejoice". (I don't know if 
you can follow these 
> examples in a foreign language, but it is interesting how often the 
reflexive word in Danish 
> corresponds to a Greek middle. In these reflexive middles the subject is 
both agent and experiencer 
> (or beneficiary).
> I am not sure about Lk 1:47 - HGALLIASEN TO PNEUMA MOU - but it may just be 
possible that the active 
> is used because the agent could be different from the experincer in that the 
agent is "my spirit" 
> and the beneficiary is an implied  "me". In that case, this is like the 
common situation where the 
> active form is causative compared to the middle: "My spirit made me happy" 
or "My spirit caused me 
> to rejoice".
> A synonym for "jeg fryder mig" is "jeg jubler". This word does not use the 
reflexive, and I can see 
> no reason for it. In the same way, I think that there are not always an 
explanation for why some 
> verbs in Greek are middle while others are active, when there is no apparent 
difference in semantic 
> roles. Why is POREOUMAI MP and PERIPATEW active?

More information about the B-Greek mailing list