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R A Brown, On 13/08/2007 20:10:
> Elliott Lash wrote:
>>   deponent                   passive
>>  mori-or 'I die'       ~   am-or  'I am loved' 
> 
> Umm - I fail to see how "I die, I am dying" can possibly be considered 
> _active_! Surely, if anything is passive, dying is.
> 
> (I discount suicides from this - but they are a tiny minority, and then 
> the reflexive 'I am killing myself' is perhaps more appropriate.)
> 
> It has always seemed to me that Latin is rather more true to reality in 
> giving the verb "to die" passive endings. I have yet to be convinced 
> that 'morior' should be classified as a deponent verb any more that 
> 'nascor' (I am being born) should be. The babe that gets thrust into int 
> the world from its mother's womb s hardly the agent. At least with this 
> verb English uses passive forms as well as Latin; yet, strangely 
> anglophone Latin textbooks still list 'nascor' as a deponent - weird!

This is an interesting view. As you well know, in English and, I think, linguistics in general, 'passive' means a construction in which the participant expressed by the active subject is either unexressed or expressed by an oblique argument, and in which a participant expressed other than by the active subject is expressed by the passive subject. So I interpret your remarks to be an argument that so-called 'passive' morphology in Latin marks not a true grammatical passive construction but rather an intransitive verb with a nonagentive subject (a.k.a. 'unaccusative'). In other words, the classic example of morphological deponency is not in actual fact an example of deponency at all...

--And.