Remarks on Dionysios Thrax’s concept of ‘Diáthesis’
The purpose of this paper is to present a new interpretation of Dionysios Thrax’s original definition of diáthesis. Diáthesis was regarded as one of seven morphological categories of the (finite) verb of which there were two and only two formal variants, i.e., enérgeia “performance” and páthos “experience” (generally referred to as the active and middle sets of personal endings respectively). Diáthesis was manifested in the personal ending of the verb, whose function was to represent various properties of the ‘subject’, i.e., its person and number as well as its diáthesis “disposition” – or general thematic relation – to the verb. The morpheme for the diáthesis enérgeia “performance” exhibited the active set of personal endings as its ‘form’ and expressed the person and number of the subject as well as the fact that it ‘performed’ the predication as its ‘schematic’ meaning; the morpheme for the diáthesis páthos “experience” exhibited the middle set of personal endings as its ‘form’ and expressed the person and number of the subject as well as the fact that it ‘experienced’ the predication as its ‘schematic’ meaning. Moreover, just as the other Greek (and Roman) grammarians, so too was Dionysios Thrax well aware of instances in which there was a discrepancy between ‘form’ and ‘meaning’. Accordingly, he incorporated such ‘anomalies’ into his definition by mentioning four concrete examples and labeling them with his technical term mesótēs “middle”: the first two examples were active forms which exhibited the meaning of páthos, whereas the second two examples were middle forms which exhibited the meaning of enérgeia.
Published online: 01 January 1994
Allwood, Jens, Lars-Gunnar Andersson & Östen Dahl
In press. “Zur Diathese”. To appear in Historische Sprachforschung.
Robins, R[obert] H.
Cited by 2 other publications
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