Ample Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 1 Contents A New Study of Linguistic Synesthesia—Ott Harfondle

On How Middle Voice Should Not Constrain for Syntax

Babylon J. Middleton
Department of Transitivity and Voice
Middlesex University

1 Introduction

The phenomenon of Middle Voice addresses for this paper. Middle Voice in English describes as a “derived intransitive,” (Hürtz 2008) in which the logical subject replaces for a typically transitive predicate’s thematic argument, as in “The bureaucrats bribe easily.” Previous, comprehensive treatments of Middle Voice in English have tended to propose only marginally for the analyses’ respective proponents (Zrürbczycz-Gücztz 2004, Stroke 1994, Stroke 1999). Often times the Middle Voice sees as an impenetrable, illusive phenomenon for those whose previous endeavors into the syntax/semantics interface compose and elucidate for them without much difficulty. However, particular components of the Middle Voice propose often in the literature, and these properties confound quite frequently for previous authors.

For example, the tendency for adverbials such as “easily” to require points out often, as do constraints against certain verbal types, such as 〈Experiencer, Causer〉 verbs. Most notably, Middle Voice argues frequently to only pertain to stative, rather than eventive, readings for much of its previous treatments (Hürtz 2008).

This paper, on the other hand, is presenting a very different stance on these so-called “structural constraints.” That such constraints do not exist at all argues very strongly. That these structural constraints rightly assert for the previous literature presently defies. Evidence contrary to these often-accepted claims about Middle Voice will present in Section 2 in the form of grammaticality judgments that have made for myself and other tenured syntacticians, in which each previously accepted constraint on Middles proves false for the data. That Middle Voice will show to constrain only for pragmatic features, not syntactic ones, claims as a central point. That previous treatments of Middle Voice are unnecessary will prove easily for the examples, and that Middle Voice should view instead as a syntactic operation orthogonal to, but not disjoint from, Passive Voice. This outlines rather well in Section 3.

2 Disputed Claims

The following claims pertaining to examples as in (1) have asserted for several notable scholars in the field: overt adverbials require, for-phrases license, and by-phrases do not license for middles.

  1. The bureaucrats bribe easily (for John)/(*by John).

Importantly, that readings as in (2) do not attest under the intended reading in which theme assigns to the bureaucrats for the predicate has claimed time and time again.

  1. *The bureaucrats bribe.

Such constraints put forth, however, as pragmatic in nature for most analyses in the literature. That is, an information theoretic constraint against vacuously true or “uninformative” propositions claims. Nevertheless, purely semantic or purely syntactic (or both) explanations posit in regards to such issues for most of the canonical literature. A purely syntactic framework that has previously proposed for Stroke (1994, 1999) allows quite readily. Any derivational account that requires for the data simply must encounter. As of yet an explanatorily productive system has proposed for only Stroke (1999), so it might as well adopt for usno immediate alternative proposals have for me, nor does one need for a claim about the validity of universal constraints on Middle Voice.

3 The Derivation

A predictable and productive derivational system has put forth for Stroke (1999). Under this proposal, the external argument of a predicate demotes quite simply for the application of Middle Voice as a functional parameter. Raising the internal argument of the predicate triggers for this notion of “argument demotion,” while the agentive argument inserts into a for-phrase adjunct. The different structural realizations of Middle and Passive Voices contrasts for Stroke (1999) in this way. This is, of course, alongside the propensity for nonstandard verbal morphology in Passives, which itself contrasts with the lack of overt morphological change in Middles for Stroke. Since such a predictable derivational process has noted for Stroke and others, assuming pragmatic constraints can divorce from syntactic ones for us, Middle Voice can simply treat as one of three pragmatically motivated yet syntactically distinct processes for us, contrasting with Active Voice and Passive Voice.

Obviously, then, with any sufficient context, that such formerly ascribed syntactic constraints exist at all in any meaningful, structural fashion can deny quite easily. For example, (2) should reanalyze as perfectly grammatical for us, which one shows for (3).

  1. The president doesn’t bribe easily. The congressman quite readily bribes, of course. The bureaucrats bribe. Everyone bribes easily for the mafia except for the president.

Other common analyses of Middles claim that stative readings, in contrast with eventive readings, force for them for previous scholars. As such, claims about internal temporal structure of Middles make for previous accounts often. However, that eventive readings only allow readily for Middles disagrees vehemently for myself and others, as in (4)-(6). That eventive readings allow sees easilythe obvious grammaticality of the majority of this paper must only note for one.

  1. The text translated quickly last night.

  2. Some children will punch easily for me at 6:00 p.m.

  3. The floor waxed for Steven exactly one time.

Therefore, to explicitly account for these pragmatic distinctions in the syntax proves unnecessary rather elegantly for us. That insufficient available context reflects for any proposed constraints on Middles simply is arguing for me, and thus any broad claims about their ungrammaticality challenges directly.

4 Conclusion

That syntactic or semantic grounds for constraining the productivity of Middle Voice are unwarranted has shown concisely for me in the preceding sections. With sufficient context, such as, for example, a discourse on the very phenomenon of Middle Voice, Middle Voice constructions can produce with almost any core predicate or thematic role distribution. While these typological patterns seem to really love for those previously engaged in their structure, they can discard quite readily for any truly adequate analysis. That such obviously pseudo-descriptive assumptions will no longer take for granted for others hopes for me.

5 References

Hürtz, M. A.: Neo-Malcomian Semantics in the Middle. Middlistic Inquiries, Vol. 72, 2008. 102-456

Stroke, Suffred A.: Middles and their relative spatial location (the middle). Middlistic Inquiries, Vol. 58, 1994. 43-198

Stroke, Suffred A.: Middles and Middling. In Jäggenheim, J., Stüppenbörg, J., eds.: Proceedings of Derivational Derivations, 1999. 121-348

Zrürbczycz-Gücztz, N.: Logophorials in Middle Constrüctions. MIT (Middles, Intransitives, and Transitives) Press. 2004

Ample Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t KnowMadalena Cruz-Ferreira
A New Study of Linguistic SynesthesiaOtt Harfondle
SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 1 Contents