Aidan wrote:

Heya folks,

  I want to incorporate middle voice into my conlang, but seeing as I'm an L1
English speaker, it's hard for me to see it. I know that "Water fills the cup"
is a middle voice (at least, it is according to Rick Morneau's 'Lexical
Semantics'), but I have no idea how tell when another verb is, or should be.
Can anyone help me with a simple test? You know, one of those sentences where
if the verb makes sense in spot X, then it must be a middle?

  Any additional info or description of the middle voice, to help me clarify, is
great. Heck, I'd even be ecstatic if someone could test me on it, so I can get
the distinction down....

  Thanks in advance,


Personally I consider the container as being the "patient" and the content as
being the "focus". Same with the field and the plant, the meadow and the
surrounding fence (sorry, RM), the pot and its lid, etc. This is based on
chronoexperience (vs. chronology): space predates item (even if it or "shaped"
by the item) and whole predates part (even if it is made of parts.) You have a
part only after you suppose a whole and an item only after you suppose the
space where it stands.

There are also basic semantic differences between endocentricity vs.
exocentricity and attributive vs. active that really rule what RM tries to
build in his essay, and explain why the subject of "to eat" is a "patient":
it's because "to eat" is endocentric like "to wear". And so should be "to take",
"to buy", etc.

Middle voice is English is: the cars sell, the soup cooks, the pot *fills
itself. It is said "intransitive", which depends what "transitivity" means. If
it's about needing a preposition, then transitivity depends on languages (State
verbs like "to be happy" have a preposition in English ("with") and can do
without in Indonesian and Khmer.)