‘Voice’ became the most frequent term in domain of studies concerning the verbal category of diathesis, or indeed grammatical voice. The English lexeme voice is a loan word from the Latin vox, through the ancient French, voix. But, if the path taken by the signifier is quite noticeable, the signified is harder to define and describe. Vox appears in the works by Latin grammarians, about verbal accidents, along with other terms, such as significatio or affectus or genus, but it hasn’t the same meaning. Vox refers to formal and morphological feature of diathesis, instead others labels represent semantic property. Charisius used vox with the determiners ‘active’ or ‘passive’ to denote the verbal ending opposed to meaning. In Institutiones Grammaticae by Priscianus, the term is used also without determiners, especially in a context in which one could translate vox as morpheme. In Modern Linguistics, voice assumes a broader meaning: although it maintains the reference to formal feature, like in Latin, it has become a hyperonym relating to the verbal category that has to do with the alternations in the correspondence between semantic roles and grammatical relations (Shibatani 2004: 1146). However, there is a disagreement among linguists about use of category labels: some scholars (Mel’čuk 1993; Kulikov 2010) use voice, keeping the Latin meaning, in opposition to Greek term diathesis. The metalinguistic story sheds light on possible research toward two directions. The first investigation explores retrospectively the label’s origin and briefly the Greek model; the second one proceeds from Latin to Modern Age to clarify the meaning of voice and some grammatical voice-related terms.
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