tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Apr 15 05:26:41 2002

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middle voice

Sean Burke said: one-term 
predicates (X kroinks) can always/never/sometimes turn into two 
term-predicates (X kroinks Y) and/or vice versa, even then the predicate is 
really describing the same action in both cases.
So, for any given language:
* "she relaxes", "the neck muscle relaxes", but ?"she relaxes the neck 
muscle" (versus "she gets the neck muscle to relax")
* "the water boils", ?"I boil the water" (versus "I get the water to boil") 
much less ??"I boil the meat".
* "the engines stop", but ?"I stop the engines" versus "I make the enginges 
stop"; and sometimes one has to wonder about possibilities like "the 
engines stop themselves" versus "the engines stop".

These examples all seem to illustrate the middle voice, where from "X kroinks 
Y" you get "Y kroinks".  I have no idea how to simulate a middle voice in 
tlhIngan Hol.  Perhaps one should just avoid it, keeping X as an indefinite 
and perhaps unspecified subject ("someone") and Y as the object.

[ Middle: The original object is made more topical and becomes the
    subject.  The original subject is deleted from the verb's
    argument structure and may not be expressed at all even though
    it is implied. 
... A middle derivation is used when the demoted argument CANNOT be
specified, which is always the case in generic situations and when the
demoted argument is known from general knowledge (e.g. "Mice kill
easily"), as well as when the demoted argument is known from something
said earlier (e.g. "The mountains finally came into view"). 
 - Rick Morneau, Lexical semantics]
lay'tel SIvten

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