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Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On 11/19/05, *Henrik Theiling* <[log in to unmask] 
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> 
>     Hi!
> 
>     R A Brown <[log in to unmask]
>     <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> writes:
>      >...  In the strict sense, English does not have a middle _voice_,
>      >i.e. a grammatically category distinguished morphologically from
>      >active and passive. ...
> 
>     I'd say that modern English does have some kind of systematic middle.
>     More than than, say, German.  You have a lot of transitive verbs that
>     work well intransitively for the object* of the transitive verb used
>     as the *subject* of the transitive one.  This is quite close to a
>     distinct syntactic category, and it is often kind of a middle voice:
> 
> Yes, but I believe Ray's point was that it is not syntactically 
> distinguished.  The "middle voice" verbs you cite are indistinguishable 
> in form from their active counterparts.  

Absolutely - spot on!

In "The cup fills [with
> water]", the verb "fills" is syntactically  and morphologically in the 
> active voice, regardless of how you choose to distinguish its semantic role.

Yes, grammatically (syntactically & morphologically) English has only 
two voices: active & passive.

IMO it is unhelpful and confusing to use the term 'voice' as a semantic 
category; especially when there exists the perfectly good term 
_diathesis_. I quote Trask's definition:
"The relation between the semantic roles (deep cases, theta roles) 
subcategorized for by a lexical verb or predicate and the surface 
expression of those roles as grammatical relations."

What Henrik is writing about is diathesis, and I have not said that 
there is no 'middle' diathesis in English. Indeed, I believe that some 
analyses of English postulate more than just three diatheses.

However, I understood Aidan's mail to be about _grammatical_ voice and 
replied accordingly. Indeed, Aidan's reply of 19th Nov surely confirms this.

-- 
Ray
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