Passive and middle in Indo-European

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The present paper deals with the passive function of the middle diathesis in Vedic Sanskrit, one of the most ancient attested Indo-European languages. It gives a general survey of passive formations of the three main tense systems (present, aorist and perfect) and discusses forms which are traditionally considered non-characterized middle formations (‘bare middles’). It will be argued that these forms should be grouped with those formations which have specialized markers of passive. I will further inventory the actually attested present passives with the suffix <i>-yá-</i>, discussing the defective character of the passive paradigm of the present, aorist and perfect tense systems. In conclusion, I briefly discuss possible Proto-Indo-European sources of the Vedic passive paradigm and the historical relationships between the categories of perfect, stative and middle, as well as perspectives of a diachronic typological study of valency-changing categories, such as passive and causative, outlining the main tendencies in the evolution of the Proto-Indo-European middle.


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