middle voice

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Do all the languages have "middle voice" (half-active, half-passive voice) sentences like these?:
This car drives easily.
This thesis reads like a novel.
This shirt buttons.
This tent sleeps four.
This cloth feels soft.
Thank you so much in advance for your kind co-operation!
  • Perseas

    Senior Member
    In terms of meaning, there seem to be three types indeed, active, passive and middle. But in terms of morphology there seem to be two types, active and passive: "reads" is active, while "was read" is passive. But I am not sure if this is the case, because English is not my native language. In Greek we have this distinction: 2 voices, 3 dispositions. (disposition refers to the meaning of the verb in a given sentence).
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    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech we use the reflexive pronoun se in accusative (no distinction in number, cf. Latin sē), the verb is in active voice. The true passive voice is much less frequent than in English.

    Domy se stavějí z cihel. = [The] houses build (themselves) of bricks.
    → The houses are built of bricks. = Domy jsou stavěny z cihel. (passive voice is possible but rather rare in Czech)

    Tento vůz se řídí snadno. = This car drives (itself) easily.
    Tato these se čte jako román. = This thesis reads (itself) like a novel.
    Tato košile se zapíná na knoflíky. = This shirt buttons (itself).
    Pivo se pije studené. = Beer drinks (itself) cold.

    Also impersonally:

    Zde se mluví anglicky(adv.). = lit. Here [it] speaks (itself) English(adv.). → English is spoken here.
    Říká se, že je dobrý učitel. = lit. [It] says (itself), that he is a good teacher. = It is said that he is a good teacher. → He is said to be a good teacher.

    The reflexive se cannot be omited. The sentence "Tento vůz řídí snadno" (= this car drives easily) sounds strange. It would have an active meaning: the car actively drives with ease (without a driver).
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    Senior Member
    Français - France
    French seems analogous to Czech, as a pronominal verb with "se" is generally required:
    This car drives easily = Cette voiture se conduit aisément
    This thesis reads like a novel = Cette thèse se lit comme un roman
    This shirt buttons = Cette chemise se boutonne

    The last two are a bit different:

    This tent sleeps four:
    Cette tente se dort à quatre :cross:(this is not French)
    Cette tente peut abriter quatre personnes (hypothetic transitive turn)
    or Cette tente peut être occupée par quatre personnes (hypothetic passive voice)
    But the notion of sleep is lost, so a construction with "on" (as usual in French) is a good match:
    On peut dormir à quatre dans cette tente

    This cloth feels soft:

    Ce tissu se sent doux :cross:(not French)
    I can only think of alternative constructions like Ce tissu est doux au toucher
    Or a similar construction but semantically different: Ce tissu semble doux
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    Senior Member
    From Italian Messa di voce: should be
    standardized musical terminology, I suppose, throughout languages. Voice musical teachers could confirm.
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