Voice (grammar)

The diathesis (Greek διάθεσις " lineup, state ", plot direction) is a category of the verb in linguistics. It is based on the concept of semantic roles that assigns a verb to its supplements; Regulate diathesis, whether and in what form this verb meaning given by the participant roles appear in the sentence structure.

In European languages ​​(also in German ), the most famous is the passive diathesis. In typologically dissimilar languages ​​other diatheses may dominate, such as the antipassive in Ergativsprachen.

The diathesis is based on the level of meaning (semantics) of the words and characterizes the mapping of these meaning relations in the grammar. The grammatical forms of the verb to indicate a diathesis, is called the genus verbi (Latin: " Gender of the verb" ). Can verbi A genus in relation to the diathesis, it expresses also be ambiguous.

Example from the German

The following example from German to illustrate the correlations. If we consider the set

As the noun Paul fills the semantic role of agent ( it is active) and his car fills the semantic role of undergoer (it is not, but something should happen to him). Syntactically Paul acts as the subject of the sentence and his car acts as the object of the sentence. When - as here - the semantic role of agent syntactically appear as subject of the sentence, then it is active around the diathesis.

In the sentence

Is exactly reversed: the semantic roles have remained exactly the same ( car befalls still something Paul is still ), but these semantic roles are syntactically implemented differently: The car as undergoer appears as subject of the sentence, the agent appears in a adjunctive prepositional complement ( Paul ). When - as here - the semantic role of undergoer appears as subject of the sentence, it is called a passive diathesis. For the passive is the auxiliary verb are used in German.

Diathesis and Valenzalternation

The diathesis is a special case of Valenzalternation or Valenzoperation. While the diathesis only agent and undergoer play a role, there are generally at Valenzoperationen also have other roles ( players ). In the first example ( active) there is a bivalent valency, in the passivated sample, there is only an obligatory actants, the prepositional phrase of Paul may be omitted without the sentence would ungrammatical ( The car is washed ). Passivation is therefore a means of Valenzreduzierung.

More diathesis

In a broader sense, there are also other diatheses next to Active and Passive:

  • Medial, an action or state change happens to the subject of the sentence without an external agent, often expressed reflexive in German: " The rope breaks ," "I am angry ". In ancient Greek, the medial diathesis was grammatically categorized as medium.
  • Reciprocally, the members of a plural subject perform actions on each other from: " Love one another ", " not shoving you so! "
  • Antipassive: diathesis, in which the undergoer argument ( object ) can not be expressed or only oblik
  • Antikausativ: diathesis similar to the passive voice, but with the difference that the agent argument can not be expressed

Genus verbi

If the diathesis morphologically realized - for example, by inflected verb endings as in Latin ( " Petra a Maria movetur ") or by periphrastic constructions as in English ( " I am being beaten for this product " ) - one speaks verbi of grammatical gender. The genus is verbi as grammatical verbal category first the morpho- syntactic implementation of a diathesis. In some languages ​​, a genus Verbi expression of exactly one diathesis, characterized the terms are often considered synonymous. It may be possible that through processes of language change changes the meaning of a verb and it formally, for example, passive morphology has, although the meaning is clear from assets. This is called Deponentien. This is in sync no correlation between morphological marking and the semantics of diathesis recognizable. Therefore, sometimes a distinction between the concepts of diathesis and gender Verbi is hit, the latter then formally aimed at the membership of a Flektionsklasse.

This becomes clear, inter alia, in the modern Greek language in which the generations have verbi largely resolved by the semantic diathesis ( see the example below).

Active and passive voice in German and Latin

In all cases, it 's about changing the relationship between the verb and its appearance. Thus requires the meaning of a verb, for example, a trading players and an object on which the action is exerted: "move", the verb requires a mover and a moved direct object. Typically, the acting person is the subject of the sentence. For comparison with a language in which the diathesis is part of the flexion, here 's an example ( The subject is in italics, the object is bold, the verb is underlined):

In this case, the active is present. The passive is formed by the verb is morphologically changed:

Now is not the doer, the grammatical subject, but the object of the action has become the grammatical subject. The acting person fades into the background, the object becomes the subject of the sentence. The required number of arguments of a verb is referred to as its valence. Passive reduces the valence of the improvement because of the content subject no longer necessary, but it is optional. It can be added again:

In the reflexive subject and object are the same:

This indicates in this case that there can no longer be clearly distinguished if the stone is now the subject or object of the process. For other verbs (eg washing ) but can also be meant that a person performing an act to yourself:

Genus verbi and diathesis in Modern Greek

In the Old and Modern Greek, as well as rare in Latin, there is a group of verbs whose grammatical gender verbi not with those expressed by the verb diathesis matches. In the event that a grammatically passive verb has an active diathesis, one speaks of Deponentien. Therefore may differ from these Deponentien with grammatical means no semantic Passive longer be formed because the passive form " already busy", a spokesperson must resort to lexical means in this case. In modern Greek, whose present passive paradigm has evolved from the ancient Greek media, these verbs are particularly frequent. For "normal" verbs - they sodenn both genera form verbi - but applies as in English, that the grammatical active always expresses the active diathesis. Your grammatical passive voice, however, is not always attributable to the passive diathesis, but often the reflexive or reciprocal. A typical example of this relatively large group of verbs is βρίσκω ( vrísko ) " I find ," whose passive βρίσκομαι ( vrískome ) mostly not " I am found " but reflexive " I am " means.

  • The grammatical passive one " Normalverbs " has reflexive diathesis:
  • The grammatical passive one " Normalverbs " has reciprocal diathesis:
  • Some Deponentien ( verbs that exist only in the grammatical passive ) have a purely active diathesis:
  • Many other Deponentien press mainly, but not exclusively, the reflexive diathesis from: