The suffixes "-igx" vs "-at" - what's the difference?
This is something I stumbled across recently. I was wondering if there is any difference between the intransitivizer "-igx" and the passive participle "-at".
I understand the "-igx" concept and why it's necessary. E.g. when you say "Mi komencas la feston", it's clear that "komencas" is transitive - i.e. it needs an object: I cause the party to start. If I said "La festo komencas", then something is wrong, because it would imply that the party starts something else (rather than it being started by me). The solution is the "-igx" suffix: "La festo komencigxas" (The party starts/is beginning).
While this all makes perfect sense, it makes me wonder if I can just use "-at" instead: "La festo komencatas", lit. "The party is being started (by somebody)". What's the difference? One could argue that the later implies an agent, where as the former doesn't, but don't all verbs that require "-igx" kind of do that?
Thanks in advance!
PMEG seems to address exactly that question here (in Esperanto).
My own (rough, paraphrasing) translation:
-iĝ verbs made out of transitive verbs often resemble passive (-at, etc) verbs. The difference is that -iĝ implies that the action occurred more or less by itself, or that nobody is interested in who actually caused the act.
Examples from PMEG (again, I'm very roughly translating):
- Li estis naskita en Januaro. Normal passive sentence. The focus is on the act, which was fulfilled with a result (thus -it form instead of -at). Someone definitely did cause it, but the sentence doesn't say who. You could also give the mother using de: Ŝi estas naskita de saĝulino.
- Li naskiĝis en Januaro. He "became born". More attention is given to the infant born than to the mother, who hardly even appears in this kind of sentence.
- Li estas nomata Petro. Normal passive sentence. Someone named him Petro.
- Li nomiĝas Petro. Petro is his name, and it doesn't matter whether people use that name or not.
- Tiu libro estas legata de multaj homoj. Normal passive. Many people read that book.
- Tiu libro legiĝas facile. The actual readers don't matter. That book is easily readable.
SO - yes, you are right that the latter implies an agent. As does the normal use of the verb itself (naskas, nomas, legas). The -iĝ suffix, though, specifically removes (or renders irrelevant) that agent, whereas the passive participle leaves its importance intact, even if the agent does not explicitly appear in the sentence.
I hope that makes sense, one komencanto to another (with the help of a thick online textbook). :-)
Wow, awesome reply! These examples help a lot to get the point across. Dankegon!
Maybe you should move this to the Esperanto discussion page. You might get better results.