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Hi

Which sentence has an ergative verb and which is in the middle voice?

Molly broke the china.

The china broke.

China breaks easily.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
I see no reason why, during his midday meal, an engineer shouldn't relax with a volume of Chomsky.

(Which would almost be onomatopoeic.)

MrP
Hi,

This seems like a good new dictionary game.

In my dictionary, 'middle' is preceded by 'midden' = a refuse heap near a dwelling, eg a kitchen midden.

I'm sure a good engineer would recognize a pile of garbage when he encounters one.

Best wishes, Clive
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CliveHi,

This seems like a good new dictionary game.

Yes, it could be. Why don't you begin a new thread for that game?
Paco2004
MilkyHow about "middle voice"? Which word precedes that in your dictionary? ;-)
In my dictionary, the entry "middle" is preceded by a phrase "a midday meal". In my humble opinion, it wouldn't be a surprise that English learning engineers have a midday meal, though you might disagree.

paco
Ah but, the question was about "middle voice" (not "middle" alone) and its position in your dictionary.
Mr P

I wrote a good long answer to you post "The SIL glossary presents the "middle voice" as:...". The post was here a few hours ago but now seems to have "gone missing". Any ideas regarding what happened to it?
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<I'm interested in Paco's case of the "middle verb", as in this example:

2. The china broke.
3. China breaks easily.

I wonder though whether we could say that in #3, the "quality-describing" nature of the sentence resides in the indefinite noun, rather than the verb.

We might also consider this pair:

4. The sabre-toothed tiger ate meat. (One tiger.)
5. Sabre-toothed tigers ate meat. (All tigers.)

If #3 is a middle verb, how do we regard the verb in #5>

I'd say it is simply transitive. The whole construction expresses genericity, but, even so, I think the genericity found in middles is different to the one expressed there.

English middles generally appear with adverbs that modify the predicate, according to Me-You Sohn, of Seoul Univ.

E.G.

This book reads easily.

*This book reads.

And where ergatives can take the phrase "all by itself" , middles cannot:

The boat sank all by itself.

*This book reads easily all by itself.
MilkyI think the genericity found in middles is different to the one expressed there.

How does it differ, in your opinion?
...all by itself...
"All by itself" would perhaps serve to mark an action that changed the nature of the subject-patient (the food cooking, the boat sinking).

MrP
MrPedantic
Milky
I think the genericity found in middles is different to the one expressed there.

How does it differ, in your opinion?

Still thinking on it. It's a telic vs atelic thing, IMO.

Also, something to do with this:

People read love stories easily.

Love stories are read easily.

Your sentence as a middle would have to be (**):

Sabre-tooth tigers ate meat.

(**) The meat eats readily/easily/regularly.

Also, middles lack specific time reference.

Back later on that.

...all by itself...
"All by itself" would perhaps serve to mark an action that changed the nature of the subject-patient (the food cooking, the boat sinking).

<<"All by itself" has the meaning of "without outside help or interference", doesn't it?>>

Milky
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Here's an interesting construction.

"The thread won't pick up. It's part of the carpet."
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