Is there any traditional or accepted classification of French pronominal verbs by how they are related to their respective non-pronominal forms?
As a beginning student of French I have noticed that this relationship can vary from verb to verb. In the background below, I will try to explain what I mean.
I am looking for an account of French pronominal verbs that will subsume what I have noticed, lay out the different possibilities, give them names, and so on.
Of course I would appreciate an answer that undertakes to do all that here on the spot.
It seems to me that a French pronominal verb can "separate" from its non-pronominal form by a small or great distance.
(1A) Le docteur asseoit la patiente.
(1B) Je m'assois.
I call this a case of no separation. In each sentence, the (grammatical) subject causes the (grammatical) object to have a seat. The doctor and je do the seating. The patient and me get seated.
(2A) Vous m'étonnez.
(2B) Je m'étonne.
Here, me gets surprised in each sentence. But only in 2A does vous do any surprising; in 2B je does not do any surprising. Still the sense of étonner is the same. We just don't know who or what did the surprising in 2B. So we may say that there is only a slight syntactic separation (because étonner connects to vous and je in different ways).
(3A) Il m'agrippe
(3B) Je m'agrippe à Tom.
Here the separation seems much greater. In 3B, if anybody is grabbed, it's Tom. We may say that 3b's m'agrippe à corresponds to 3A's agrippe, or that agripper has undergone an extensive syntactic change. (If we had to isolate the sense of aggriper alone in 3B, it might be "to put someone in a state of grabbing." Also, expressions like je suis agrippé à Tom would seem to derive from 3B rather than 3A. If I was grabbed by Tom, would that be je suis agrippé par Tom?)