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Wort- und Formenvielfalt

Festschrift für Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag. Unter Mitarbeit von Daniel Petit


Edited By Anna Jouravel and Audrey Mathys

Die Festschrift ehrt Christoph Koch, Professor für Vergleichende und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Zu seinem 80. Geburtstag vereint der Band wissenschaftliche und persönliche Beiträge von Kollegen, Schülern und Freunden. Sie umfassen verschiedene Bereiche der historischen und modernen Sprachwissenschaften wie der Indogermanistik, der Byzantinistik, der Slavistik oder Baltistik, greifen kunsthistorische und editionsphilologische Fragestellungen auf und spiegeln somit das breite Spektrum der Interessens- und Forschungsgebiete des Jubilars wider.

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About some meanings of the Modern Greek middle (deponent) verbs

Dens Dimiņš


This short article examines Modern Greek middle or deponent verbs. First, we look at the meaning of the term and some problems in relation with its interpretation in Greek sources. With regard to the morphological forms of the Greek verbs, there are active verbs in the mediopassive and the deponent verbs that look identical but have different functions and usage patterning. The passive and reflexive voice distinction of the verbs is not shown formally and often NP reflexive constructions or verbal prefixes are necessary to avoid ambiguity. As the deponent verbs formally have mediopassive endings but semantically are active, their passive meanings are mainly expressed by verbal periphrases. Deponent verbs involving reciprocal events are only found with certain types of anaphors, this is what makes them different from the active verbs that are in medio-passive.


Modern Greek middle or deponent verbs (αποθετικά ρήματα) can be a stumbling stone to many a language learner and even to experienced lexicographers who, as it will be shown later, face difficulties in incorporating them into a coherent system of linguistic description. In Modern Greek verbal morphology – as in some other languages – there is a discrepancy between the morphological category of voice and the semantic category of diathesis, thus there are active verbs in Modern Greek which do not denote action on the part of the subject, just as there are so-called ‘deponent’ verbs which, while they exist only in a passive form, have an active meaning (Mackridge 1985, 85). Deponency existed in...

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