Definitions for animacy

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word animacy


  1. animacy(Noun)

    The characteristic of a noun, in some languages, that is dependent on its living or sentient nature; this characteristic affects grammatical features (it can modify verbs used with the noun, affect the noun's declension etc).


  1. Animacy

    Animacy is a grammatical and/or semantic category of nouns based on how sentient or alive the referent of the noun in a given taxonomic scheme is. Animacy can have various effects on the grammar of a language, such as choice of pronoun, case endings, word order, or the form a verb takes when it is associated with that noun. In languages which demonstrate animacy, some have simple systems where nouns are either animate or inanimate, whereas others have complex hierarchical systems. In such a system, personal pronouns generally have the highest animacy, followed by other humans, animals, plants, natural forces such as wind, concrete objects, and abstractions, in that order. It is possible that different languages with animacy hierarchies could rank nouns in different ways; but because human languages have not all been thoroughly documented yet, it is impossible to generalise completely.

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