A clearer picture of how the MIDDLE VOICE works can be seen if we compare it to the other two voices. Recall that there are two types of Greek verbs in the present tense: In the ACTIVE VOICE, present tense athematic and thematic verbs use somewhat different endings to designate person and number, as well as the infinitive. The term DEPONENT VERBS (Latin for, CONJUGATING THE PRESENT, INDICATIVE, MIDDLE, CONJUGATING THE FUTURE, INDICATIVE, MIDDLE, CONJUGATING THE PRESENT, INDICATIVE, MIDDLE: CONTRACT VERBS, γίγνομαι, γενήσομαι happen, become, be born, σκοπέω/σκέπτομαι, σκέψομαι look at, examine, consider, λαμβανω (fut. In the MIDDLE VOICE, both types of verbs use exactly the SAME PERSONAL ENDINGS to designate person and number, as well as the infinitive mood. For example: Such distinctions, when they occur, are noted in your lexicon. Consider, for example, the following pairs of sentences: Distinguishing voice can be difficult for speakers of English who have been taught that there are only two voices: active and passive. Recall that some verbs add a marker (often a ν) to the stem to indicate that the verb is in the present tense. All –ω verbs have a sort of buffer sound just before the verb’s ending. Certainly the English terminology for the three voices suggests this conception. The temporal... Moods. ACTIVE VOICE: The subject causes the action. This makes sense, when we realize that the difference between the MIDDLE and PASSIVE could at times be almost indistinguishable for Greeks. If someone frees or unties your horse, then the verb is in the ACTIVE VOICE in Greek: But if you untie your own horse so that you can ride it, this would be in the Greek MIDDLE VOICE: Oftentimes, verbs that are intransitive and ACTIVE in English are rendered in the MIDDLE VOICE in Greek, particularly if there is a reflexive quality about them (e.g. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The rules of vowel contraction operate in verbs when the stem ends in one of the vowels α, ε or ο. Both types of verbs build and parse the same way. If so, these markers are retained in the MIDDLE VOICE: The Present, Indicative, Middle of δείκνυμι (athematic; S 418; GPH p. 156), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: δείκνυσθαι, The Present, Indicative, Middle of λύω (thematic; S 383; GPH p. 69), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: λύεσθαι, The Present, Indicative, Middle of λαμβάνω (thematic), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: λαμβάνεσθαι. It is important to understand, however, that the fundamental dichotomy for Greeks was actually between ACTIVE and MIDDLE. –σθαι signals that a verb is in the infinitive. II. Change from the active voice to the middle voice in the present tense and 3). The vocabulary for this chapter introduces a number of verbs that were used by the Greeks only in the MIDDLE VOICE. So far, all verbs that we have discussed have been in the ACTIVE VOICE. The Ancient Greek verbal system has seven tense - aspect forms, traditionally called "tenses". There were no distinct PASSIVE forms, nor does that voice seem to have been used. To begin building a Greek verb, we start with the VERB STEM, which tells the action that a verb describes. Example: φυετε: 1) φύετε 2) φύεσθε 3) φύσεσθε. in the future tense. Conjugate in full, including the infinitive, the following verbs in the Present, Indicative, Middle: IΙI. One clue to identifying a PASSIVE use of a middle form is to look for ὑπό followed by a genitive; when modifying a passive verb, this construction indicates the agent of the verb. All endings are short. Provide the correct accent, 2). I move; I stop). It is tempting, as English speakers, to think of the ACTIVE and PASSIVE VOICE as opposing poles, between which is located the MIDDLE VOICE. They just use somewhat different endings to designate person and number. These types of verbs, unsurprisingly, are known as –μι verbs. If a verb is thematic (-ω verb), then a thematic vowel (-ο/-ε) is added before its endings. Consequently, while all the Greek verbs in this chapter are parsed – and almost always translated – in the MIDDLE voice, they can occasionally be translated with an English PASSIVE when context demands. In other words, the subject is both the cause and the focus, the agent and experiencer, of a verbal action. Ancient Greek verbs can be divided into two groups, the thematic (in which a thematic vowel /e/ or /o/ is added before the ending, e.g. In these cases, this final vowel of the stem contracts with the thematic vowel of –ω verbs. That said, to a native speaker of Greek, the action of some intransitive verbs made sense ONLY in the MIDDLE VOICE. The persistent accent of the infinitive is on the ANTEPENULT. For the following verbs, 1). Greek originally inflected verbs to indicate ACTIVE and MIDDLE VOICES. Say you have a horse. For example, some verbs that mean come and go in Greek occur only in the MIDDLE VOICE. Ancient Greek for Everyone by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. A subject is inevitably participating in the action of coming or going, so it just seemed natural that some of these verb should be in the MIDDLE VOICE. ἐσ-μέν (es-mén) "we are". If a verb is athematic (-μι verb), then these endings are added directly to the tense stem. Recall that adding –σ– to the verb stem marks a verb as in the FUTURE TENSE. T… In this lesson, we introduce the MIDDLE VOICE. (-εσαι →) –ει or –ῃ = you (2nd person singular). Thematic verbs are much more numerous. What voice is used, for example, in the following sentences? This is true in both the ACTIVE and MIDDLE VOICES. Verbs in the MIDDLE VOICE are extremely common in Greek, and appear in most Greek sentences. PASSIVE VOICE: The subject receives the consequences of the action. Observe the following inflections, paying close attention to the contractions that result in the 2nd person singular. The verbs that we met earlier use the 1st person singular present indicative active ending –μι. Most Greek verbs in the present tense, however, are –ω verbs, so called because they use the 1st person singular present indicative active ending –ω. Note that the second person singular regularly appears in one of two contracted forms that result from the loss of the INTERVOCALIC SIGMA (S 628). Note also that the accent of the infinitive is on the antepenult of the uncontracted form. To see the distinction that Greeks made between the ACTIVE and MIDDLE VOICE in transitive verbs, let’s consider the following example. λύ-ο-μεν (lú-o-men) "we free"), and the athematic (in which the endings are attached directly to the stem, e.g. Recall that there are two types of Greek verbs in the present tense: – μι verbs (athematic) – ω verbs (thematic) In the ACTIVE VOICE, present tense athematic and thematic verbs use somewhat different endings to designate person and number, as well as the infinitive. As the need for the PASSIVE VOICE emerged, Classical and Koine Greek used the MIDDLE VOICE forms of the verb to represent also the PASSIVE VOICE (S 1735). So now the stem looks and sounds like this: Remember: ALL VERBS, whether they be –μι verbs or –ω verbs in the present, use –ω verb endings in the future tense. The Future, Indicative, Middle of δείκνυμι, The Future Indicative Middle Infinitive: δείξεσθαι, The Future, Indicative, Middle of λύω (S 383; GPH p. 75), Future Indicative Middle Infinitive: λύσεσθαι. The Present, Indicative, Middle of λαλέω (S 385; GPH p. 110), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: (λαλέεσθαι →) λαλεῖσθαι, The Present, Indicative, Middle of ἐρωτάω (S 385; GPH p. 101), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: (ἐρωτάεσθαι →) ἐρωτᾶσθαι, The Present, Indicative, Middle of δηλόω (S 385; GPH p. 118), Present Indicative Middle Infinitive: (δηλόεσθαι →) δηλοῦσθαι. This construction is called the GENITIVE OF AGENT. Voice, you will recall, indicates the role that the subject plays in the action of the verb. Finally, for some Greek verbs, there can be an important distinction in meaning between the ACTIVE and MIDDLE VOICES (S 1728, 1734). tense is always middle: λήψομαι). MIDDLE VOICE: The subject is part or all of the action. Ancient Greek verbs Tenses. –εσθαι signals that a verb is in the infinitive.