Re: active vs. passive voice, or epithet?

Subject: Re: active vs. passive voice, or epithet?
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: kelly keck <kelly -dot- keck -at- imagine-one -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 15:34:30 -0700

kelly keck wrote:
> Ned wrote:
>> Epithet is a new condition for me, thanks for drawing the distinction.
>> I hope I understand it, but my literary legs are a bit wobbly.
>>> Just take care of confusing passive voice and epithet.
>>> "The window is big, blue, shiny, displayed and functional."
>>> No passive form there.

> The term "epithet" is a new one on me too, Ned. I'd heard that
> construction described as a "complement" or "predicate adjective."
> Incidentally, I would still call "The window is displayed" passive
> voice, because "displayed" is a verb rather than a noun or adjective.
> It's not quite parallel with the other adjective examples.

WARNING: FLF (Fringe Linguistic
Fantasizing) content!

Yep. Still I wonder if Yves' hasn't apprehended one of those motes that
drift lazily in the language but are damnably difficult to pin down.

I would get a big kick out of an analysis that sees mimicry of the
passive by other constructions, in English.

Languages seem emblematic, like a national crest emblazoned on a
midieval coat-of-arms--the rigid rules paint it in graphical forms, full
of rule-laden structure. Is any room left for unknow quantities like

Along with the emblems, I also like the idea that if you call "Freeze"
and observe the language closely, they're full of tricks--they fly
backward as well as forward, they go upside down, they build nests made
of gossamer threads from nearby spider's webs. They are full of
linguistic quantum space, with little-known forces creating the illusion
of lingua firma. The woven mats of grammar and syntax mimic language,
but they're a different language.

I can imagine English professors looking at Yves' example and saying
that the passive interpretation is now recast as epithet in keeping with
the major mode of the sentence, or some such. Tricky? Yes, but also
very sensible about the reality of hijacking. Meaning is so prone to
being hijacked. Example: here we are again, poised to force it back
into the passive.

How to use that in the creation of palatable technical writing tasks
with downstream translation requirements is a practical consideration,
probably too pragmatic for the rarified glimpse Yves offered.

Hey, I wonder if Disney uses technical writers? Bah, don't need them.
Linguistic Disneyland is everywhere.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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active vs. passive voice, or epithet?: From: kelly keck

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