Active v. Middle Voice

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Lukas
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Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:44 am

I am still having trouble distinguishing between middle voice and passive voice. I was supposed to write, "You (plural) were leaving." Since there is no object and since it tends to emphasize the subject, I thought it would be middle, so I wrote, "ἐλείπεσθε." The answer book put it in the active, "ἐλείπετε." How do I know if it is active or middle?
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bedwere
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:37 am

If you check page 91, at the beginning of Unit 11. Mastronarde explains the middle voice pretty clearly, I'd say.
In you (plural) were leaving, the agents do not act with particular reference to themselves, to their possession, or
interest. It must be active.

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:26 am

I interpreted it differently, as they were acting in interest to themselves. The emphasis was on the subject,.
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by jeidsath » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:57 am

How would you translate ἐλείπετε to English here?
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:09 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:57 am
How would you translate ἐλείπετε to English here?
"You were leaving."? Rather than someone emphasizing that the person was leaving a place, I thought the emphasis was on the subject leaving. Maybe that has nothing to do with the middle voice?

When someone tells me that he/she is leaving, the emphasis can either be "I am leaving this place," or "I am leaving."
I thought the middle voice covered the latter.
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:24 pm

One thing is the emphasis on the subject, which does not call for the use of the middle voice and could be expressed with αὐτός or ἐγώ etc. , another is an action with reference to the subject, his possession, or interest, which requires the middle voice.

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 pm

bedwere wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:24 pm
One thing is the emphasis on the subject, which does not call for the use of the middle voice and could be expressed with αὐτός or ἐγώ etc. , another is an action with reference to the subject, his possession, or interest, which requires the middle voice.
So if I wrote, "I am studying," would that be middle voice since it is in reference to myself?
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:13 pm

Lukas wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 pm
bedwere wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:24 pm
One thing is the emphasis on the subject, which does not call for the use of the middle voice and could be expressed with αὐτός or ἐγώ etc. , another is an action with reference to the subject, his possession, or interest, which requires the middle voice.
So if I wrote, "I am studying," would that be middle voice since it is in reference to myself?
No, it wouldn't. The action has no particular emphasis to yourself.

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:41 pm

What if I wrote, "i am healing." Middle voice?
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:52 pm

Lukas wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:41 pm
What if I wrote, "i am healing." Middle voice?
No. You could be healing other people. You need to provide more context.

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:57 pm

How about, "I am healing from a cold." Middle voice?
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by bedwere » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:00 pm

I can only recommend you read again Mastronarde.

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:02 pm

I did. I have read Dr. Mastronarde's section of the middle voice many times and still cannot come up with an example.
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by jeidsath » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:37 pm

Some examples from CGCG chapter 35:

Causative / Not causative Their explanation for preferring this terminology over transitive / intransitive is silly.

ἐγείρω I cause to wake up, I wake rouse / ἐγείρομαι I wake up
ἵστημι I make stand, I set up / ἵσταμαι I come to stand
τήκω I cause to melt, I melt something / τήκομαι I melt
φύω I cause to grow / φύομαι I grow up
φαίνω I cause to appear, I show / φαίνομαι I appear, I seem

Indirect-Reflexive

αἰρέω I take / αἰρέομαι I choose
αἰτέω I ask, I demand / αἰτέομαι I beg
ἀποδίδωμι I give back / ἀποδίδομαι I sell
γράφω I write / γράφομαι I indict
μισθόω I let, I hire out / μισθόομαι I rent (for myself)
τιμωρέω I avenge, I help (+ dat.) / τιμωρέομαι I take revenge on (+acc)
τίνω I pay, I atone / τίνομαι I make pay, I avenge, I punish
χράω I give an oracle / χράομαι I consult an oracle

Direct-Reflexive


λούω I wash / λούομαι I wash myself
κείρω I cut hair / κείρομαι I cut off my hair
κοσμέω I adorn / κοσμέομαι I adorn myself
ἀλείφω I anoint / ἀλείφομαι Ι anoint myself
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:20 pm

So instead of "I am healing," if I wrote, "I am treating myself," would that be middle voice?
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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:45 pm

Lukas, think Luke 4:23: Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν. Physician, heal thyself. θεράπευσον is (aorist) active voice.

I remember wrestling mightily with the middle voice when I was learning Greek (a long time ago), because we simply don't have such a thing in English. Right now you're struggling for a translation "rule" that you can apply hard and fast in going from English to Greek. The explanation in Mastronarde is about as good as you're going to get. But I think more likely your first real inner understanding or feel for the middle voice is going to come from experience reading.

Like you, I am persistent. I don't like giving up on something I know I am supposed to get. And maybe with the help of our Textkitters you'll have a eureka moment shortly. But don't be afraid to "put it in the parking lot" for now, to move on, and to be confident it's going to come to you in time. Hope you don't find that defeatist!

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:57 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:45 pm
Lukas, think Luke 4:23: Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν. Physician, heal thyself. θεράπευσον is (aorist) active voice.

I remember wrestling mightily with the middle voice when I was learning Greek (a long time ago), because we simply don't have such a thing in English. Right now you're struggling for a translation "rule" that you can apply hard and fast in going from English to Greek. The explanation in Mastronarde is about as good as you're going to get. But I think more likely your first real inner understanding or feel for the middle voice is going to come from experience reading.

Like you, I am persistent. I don't like giving up on something I know I am supposed to get. And maybe with the help of our Textkitters you'll have a eureka moment shortly. But don't be afraid to "put it in the parking lot" for now, to move on, and to be confident it's going to come to you in time. Hope you don't find that defeatist!
That is spot on. I hate giving up also. I shall continue but worry about this messing me up in further units (chapters).

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Re: Active v. Middle Voice

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:25 pm

No worries! Remember also that the goal is to be able to read Greek. English-to-Greek translation exercises are intended to help you with that, but they are not the goal, and you shouldn't get overly exercised, so to speak, about them. You're getting to the point where you can read Greek sentences that may happen to contain a middle voice and in context understand the meaning of the sentence, even if you can't articulate yet exactly why the middle is being used.

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