Pragmatic Motivation for Inflectional Middle Voice in Modern Greek
The occurrence of inflectional middle voice in Modern Greek texts is motivated by diverse pragmatic pressures which are related to particular components of its semantic structure. The prototypical value of the semantic category instantiated by middle inflection comprises various internally complex components such as HIGH AFFECT and LOW VOLITION of a nonagentive subject, and LOW INDIVIDUATION of an agent-like source. The semantic component of HIGH AFFECT is shown to be analogous to the expressive function of Subject Enhancement, whereas the components of LOW VOLITION and LOW INDIVIDUATION are related to the textual strategy of Agent Defocusing. Both the semantic components and the pragmatic functions of middle voice are encompassed by more general speaker based strategies of foregrounding and/or backgrounding some element of a conceived situation; these strategies are shaped by subsystems of encyclopedic knowledge that are utilized in particular communicative contexts.
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