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The category of voice. Morphologo-syntactic nature of the voice category. Number and kinds of voices in ME. The problem of reflexive, reciprocal and middle voices

The category of voice is the system of binary/privative oppositions (love-is loved, loving-being loved, to love-to be loved) which shows whether the action is represented as issuing from the subjects (Active V.) or experienced by its object (Passive V.). |The category of voice shows close links between morphology & syntax. Being a morphological category, voice often manifests syntactic relations. |The voice opposites of the finite verbs indicate whether the subject of the sentence denotes the doer (agent) of the action or its recipient. |There is a tradit. point of view that there are 3 types of passive constructions depending on the initial active sentences: 1) direct passive (I wrote a letter – The letter was written by me); 2) indirect passive (I was shown the way to the village); 3) prepositional passive (If you put on this hat, you will be laughed at). |They depend on the kind of objects. Besides this tradit. classification there is a view of Ilysh and Kaushanskaya. They single out so-called (neuter-)reflexive voice, middle voice and reciprocal voice. |Neuter-reflexive shows that the action expressed by the predicate passes on to the subject (V+reflex.pronoun: myself, yourself but they’re semantically weakened): He cut himself while shaving. |Middle v. is represented by such structures which look like active but have passive meaning (the book sells well – active in form, passive in meaning). |Reciprocal v. is formed with each other & one another (They greeted each other). Some authors argue because: 1) in such sentences as he washed himself the pronoun may be viewed as direct object; 2) the words “washed” & “himself” belong to different lexical and grammatical meanings; 3) if we regard the form “wash himself” as analytical one it’s necessary to admit that the verb in English has the category of gender which doesn’t really exist; 4) the same meaning may be conveyed without pronoun himself.


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