Why “あなたのコップは事故で割られました。” is wrong?

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Jun 30, 2011 10:08 Japanese_language 自発 「れる/られる」 他動詞 自動詞
あなたのコップは事故で割れました。(a)
あなたのコップは事故で割られました。(b) (The only difference is ら after 割.)
I think many learners know the difference and which is correct. However, I wonder if they understand truly. The correct one is (a). By contrast, (b) is contradictory because it is the combination of 事故 (accident) and 割られた (intentionally).

To tell you the truth, the explanation is not so easy. In short:
割れる means 自発 (spontaneous; jihatsu).
割る does not mean 自発.

What is difficult to understand is that a passive voice often means 自発 and, therefore, both 割れる and 割られる (the passive of 割る) seem to be 自発. However, in this case, a genuine 自発 surpasses れる/られる. Therefore, 割られる is not 自発.

I want to say one more thing. Generally, when there is a pair verb of intransitive and transitive verbs, intransitive verbs like 割れる mean 自発 and transitive verbs like 割る do not mean 自発. (By the way, I did not write as “transitive and intransitive”. The reason is that in Japanese, intransitive verbs are essential.)

自発 is the key concept of the Japanese language. It is not in English. However, it is in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, etc. It is called middle voice.

See also:
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/977312/ (自発)
http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/828534/ (田中先生は,ロシア語が分かる。 v. ロシア語を分かる。)
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