Middle Voice in Modern Greek

Meaning and function of an inflectional category

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This book provides an in-depth analysis of the inflectional middle category in Modern Greek. Against the theoretical backdrop of cognitive linguistics, it is argued that a wide range of seemingly disparate middle structures in Modern Greek comprise a complex semantic network, and that this network is organized around two prototypical middle event types, which are noninitiative emotional response and spontaneous change of state. In those cases where middle structures have active counterparts, middle and active variants of the same verb stem are compared in order to demonstrate more clearly the semantic distinctions and pragmatic functions encoded by inflectional middle voice in Modern Greek. Major semantic groupings of middle structures treated include emotional response in particular and psycho-emotive experience in general, spontaneous change of state and/or the resulting state, agent-induced events in which an agent subject is (emotionally) involved with or affected by some aspect of the designated situation, passive-like events in which a patient subject is affected by a nonfocal agent, implicit or specified, and reflexive-like events in which a patient subject and an unspecified agent may overlap to varying degrees.

Subjects: Other Indo-European languages; Semantics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: United States International University

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