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This page pertains to UD version 2.

Animacy: animacy

Values: Anim Hum Inan Nhum

Similarly to Gender (and to the African noun classes), animacy is usually a lexical feature of nouns and inflectional feature of other parts of speech (pronouns, adjectives, determiners, numerals, verbs) that mark agreement with nouns. It is independent of gender, therefore it is encoded separately in some tagsets (e.g. all the Multext-East tagsets). On the other hand, in Czech the (almost) only grammatical implications occur within the masculine gender, which is why the PDT tagset does not have animateness as separate feature and instead defines four genders: masculine animate, masculine inanimate, feminine and neuter. We follow the two-feature approach used in Multext-East (many languages) because it is safer.

Polish is special in that it also distinguishes grammatically human vs. non-human animates. It can be demonstrated by inflection of the example word który “which” (boldface forms differ from the middle row):

gender sg-nom sg-gen sg-dat sg-acc sg-ins sg-loc pl-nom pl-gen pl-dat pl-acc pl-ins pl-loc
animate human który którego któremu którego którym którym którzy których którym których którymi których
animate non-human który którego któremu którego którym którym które których którym które którymi których
in-animate który którego któremu który którym którym które których którym które którymi których

More generally: Some languages distinguish animate vs. inanimate (e.g. Czech masculines), some languages distinguish human vs. non-human (e.g. Yuwan, a Ryukyuan language), and others distinguish three values, human vs. non-human animate vs. inanimate (e.g. Polish masculines).

Anim: animate

Human beings, animals, fictional characters, names of professions etc. are all animate. Even nouns that are normally inanimate can be inflected as animate if they are personified. For instance, consider a children’s story about cars where cars live and talk as people; then the cars may become and be inflected as animates.

Inan: inanimate

Nouns that are not animate are inanimate.

Hum: human

A subset of animates that only includes human beings (and personified characters) but not animals.

Nhum: non-human

In languages that only distinguish human from non-human, this value includes inanimates. In languages that distinguish human animates, non-human animates and inanimates, this value is used only for non-human animates, while Inan is used for inanimates.

Animacy in other languages: [am] [ar] [bg] [bxr] [ca] [ckb] [cop] [cs] [cu] [da] [de] [el] [en] [es] [et] [eu] [fa] [fo] [fr] [ga] [gl] [got] [grc] [he] [hi] [hr] [hu] [id] [it] [ja] [kk] [kmr] [ko] [la] [lv] [mr] [nl] [no] [pl] [pt] [ro] [ru] [sa] [sk] [sla] [sl] [so] [sr] [swl] [ta] [tr] [u] [ug] [uk] [ur] [vi] [yue] [zh]