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Posted: 2018-10-03, 20:21
by cHr0mChIk
I've been learning Sanskrit and I've had a few questions about it.

One of the things I couldn't quite figure out is the difference between the Active and Middle voice. I'm sure it's something pretty simple, but I just don't get it. Yet.

I was also wondering whether there is something like a translation thread of the Sanskrit language, where one would translate a sentence or a text into Sanskrit, and then someone who is more proficient in Sanskrit could proofread it.

If there isn't, perhaps this thread could be used for that.

I want to start really simple. So my sentence is "My hair is black."

The way I'd translate it, would be: "Mama kēśa kālā asi." [मम केश काला असि]

Re: Sanskrit

Posted: 2018-10-03, 21:44
by ceid donn
I haven't gotten this far with Sanskrit, but according to my copy of Teach Yourself Sanskirt, middle voice--called Ātmanepada--is basically the same as middle voice in Ancient Greek. That would make it analogous to pronominal verbs in Romance languages--verbs that reflect an action being done to the subject of the sentence:

Spanish: Tengo que sentarme -- I have to sit (myself) down
French: Je me suis réveillé à midi -- I woke (myself) up at noon

When I googled "ātmanepada" specifically, I came up with this site:

All of the verbs we've learned so far are usually called parasmaipada. The word literally means "word for another," and it usually describes two kinds of verbs: verbs of activity (go, walk, wander, ask, stand, steal, find) and verbs used with an object (steal, push, emit). The traditional definition is that the result of the action does not go to the one who acts. So, they are "other-serving" verbs, or verbs for another.

I mention the word parasmaipada as a handy term for the verbs we've studied. In this lesson, we'll study verbs of a different kind. These verbs are called ātmanepada, meaning "word for the self." The traditional definition is that the "fruit of action," meaning the result, goes to the one who acts. Hence, they are "self-serving" verbs, or verbs "for the self."

We can think of the ātmanepada verbs as reflexive verbs since the result of the action, whatever it is, goes back to whatever acted in the first place. For illustration, consider the verb pac, meaning "cook," in the examples below.

My Greek is too rusty for me to whip a sentence using middle voice conjugation on the spot, but from what I'm reading in TYS, it is a specific type of verb that, when conjugated in the middle voice, expresses a reflextive action that affects the subject. The website I quote seems to agree with this.

If anyone else is more knowledgeable about this, feel free to amend what I said here, but I don't think the English sentence example you provided is considered a middle voice construction in Sanskrit, as it's a description, not an action being done to the subject.

Re: Sanskrit

Posted: 2018-10-04, 0:14
by cHr0mChIk
Thank you very much for your reply. And no, the sentence I wrote wasn't supposed to be in the Middle Voice.

Re: Sanskrit

Posted: 2018-10-16, 19:30
by Eril
I remember having heard that it originally was similar to how it's in Ancient Greek but that in most Sanskrit texts, the middle voice really doesn't have a middle meaning for most verbs but is just the way these verbs inflect. Pretty much like the deponent verbs in Latin (and Greek).
I might be mistaken about that, though.

Re: Sanskrit

Posted: 2018-11-04, 10:52
by rmanoj
I'm going through TY Sanskrit at the moment. Just about to do the chapter 6 exercises.

I believe your sentence should be
mama keśaḥ kālaḥ

Or some different order. Maybe

kālaḥ mama keśaḥ

'asi' is the second+person singular form of 'be'. What you need here is the third-person singular form: asti. I don't think you really need it in a sentence like this. If you want to use it, then with sandhi it would be:

mama keśaḥ kālosti