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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 4) 
"All by itself" embodies a certain kind of pathetic fallacy: no ship sinks "all by itself". It therefore accords with the idea that the subject of the sentence is the patient of the action.

What other examples of "middle verbs" does "Me-You Sohn" give? (He seems not to google.)

MrP
By the way, which do you see as the "atelic" form?
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MrPedantic
"All by itself" embodies a certain kind of pathetic fallacy: no ship sinks "all by itself". It therefore accords with the idea that the subject of the sentence is the patient of the action.

Yes, Ship" is the surface subject (S-subject) in such constructions. Such constructions are used by kids, and some wives, daily:

The car crashed.

The TV fell over.

"Pass-the-buck" or "hand-of-God" sentences are probably a better names for them. Emotion: wink

What other examples of "middle verbs" does "Me-You Sohn" give? (He seems not to google.)

His articles are of the ".hwp" type, and cannot be downloaded with normal Word software. I'll try to find a link to common formats.

MrP
MrPedantic
By the way, which do you see as the "atelic" form?

I'd say that the "tiger sentence" was atelic (unbounded)

sabre-tooth tigers (unbounded)

that sabre-tooth tiger (bounded)

the ship sank easily (bounded)

ships sink easily (unbounded)
Fajita (1996) says that 1) is unaccusative/ergative and 2) is a middle construction:

1) The suitcase easily opens up. (No Agent)

2) The suitcase opens up easily. (Implied Agent)

Do you agree?
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I'll have to think about it. I find it a little difficult to extract different meanings from those sentences; or rather, different meanings that are exclusive to one or the other.

In the meantime, cf:

1. The bacon fries in the frying pan.

2. The bacon cuts easily.

3. The bacon tastes nice.

Three species, or three subspecies?

(Though two at least are ambiguous.)

MrP
MrP

*2. The bacon cuts easily all by itself (Not ergative. So, we can see that as a good example of a middle construction - that is, if it is referring to non-volitional and a general case and not single event of cutting bacon)

3. The bacon tastes nice all by itself. (Ergative)

How would you label each of those three? Ergative? Middle? Transitive? ???
FYI : [url=http://osf1.gmu.edu/~lingclub/working%20papers/GMUWP/7_Villafana.pdf] Middle Verbs and Ergative Verbs[/url]

paco
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Paco2004FYI : [url=http://osf1.gmu.edu/~lingclub/working%20papers/GMUWP/7_Villafana.pdf] Middle Verbs and Ergative Verbs[/url]

paco

Thanks. FYI, in exchange:

http://www.univ-lille3.fr/silex/equipe/lemmens/docspdf/middable.PDF
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