All Slavic languages: inanimate nouns becoming animate

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Encolpius, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Hello, the masculine declension makes difference for inanimate and animate nouns. But sometimes inanimate masc. nouns take animate declension endings. I know this works in Czech, I am not sure about Slovak, it also works in Polish and BSC. So, it is possible to say:

    Mam Mercedesa. (instead of Mercedes) Polish
    Imam Mercedesa. (BCS)

    How about other languages, when do you use animate endings for things? How about cars?

  2. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Well, actually, animate declension for cars is not standard, literary BCS. But many (most?) people would use it indeed in everyday conversation. That would be the case for many names of branded products used in everyday life: Ja imam epla, a ti samsunga.
  3. marco_2 Senior Member

    Hello Encolpius, I guess by "animal declension" you mean the situation when Accusative = Genitive for masculine nouns. It is true, as you noticed, for the makes of cars (mam mercedesa, opla etc.), for dances (tańczę twista, menueta ...), for the names of mushrooms (znalazłem prawdziwka, rydza ...) and, of course, for cigarettes (zapalić papierosa). In non-standard Polish you can also hear such forms for other nouns, e.g. *chcesz torta?* *włóż buta* *mam smaka na...* (I fancy...), though they are considered incorrect.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  4. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Exactly, thanks. :thumbsup:
  5. Azori Senior Member

    It would be possible to hear both "mám Mercedes" and "mám Mercedesa" in Slovak. Not sure if the latter would be considered grammatically correct, though.
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    One of typical examples in Polish is: mieć kaca [to have a hangover] < kac
  7. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    In Polish it is also possible with many names of sports or games: grać w hokeja/tenisa/badmintona/kosza/pokera/brydża/krykieta/niemca/tysiąca/bilarda itd.
  8. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Interesting. Only sports and games? That does not work in Czech...
  9. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    In Ukrainian, masculine nouns (type II) decline identically regardless of whether they are animate or inanimate with the exception of the dative, vocative, and accusative cases. In the dative case, the standard ending for masculine animate nouns is -ові and for inanimate it is -у. That having been said, animate nouns can also take the -у ending if this makes sense stylistically. Inanimate nouns that have been anthropomorphised will take the animate case endings. If you use the vocative case for an inanimate object, you are by definition anthropomorphising it and therefore need to give it the animate case endings.

    The accusative case endings of masculine animate nouns are the same as those of the genitive case, whereas those for inanimate nouns are the same as those of the nominative case. There are four situations, however, where inanimate nouns will take genitive endings in the accusative case:
    1. negative sentences (with some exceptions): Чи ти знайшов стілець? Ні, я стілця не знайшов.
    2. partitives: Передай, будь-ласка, хліб (Please pass the bread). Передай, будь-ласка, хліба (Please pass some bread).
    3. anthropomorphised objects: Він любив того човна, як свою жінку.
    4. There is another situation in which inanimate objects can take either the animate (genitive) or inanimate (nominative) endings in the accusative case. Compare:
    Він написав листа до мами.
    Він написав лист до мами.
    Both are grammatically correct, but there is a subtle difference in flavour that is very hard to explain. Even linguists do not agree on the logic behind these cases. Some argue there is a partitive aspect, others claim it is a hangover from when the language differentiated between definite and indefinite indicators. Whole dissertations have been devoted to this phenomenon with no resolution or agreement. Suffice to say that it is one of those annoying intangibles one has to be aware of when learning the language, without being able to understand it and it only comes once one develps a feel for the language. I know it does not exist in Russian, but do not know whether it exists in other Slavic languages.
  10. bibax Senior Member

    In Czech we say:

    zahrát si pokra, cvika/cvička, ferbla (pokr, cvik/cviček, ferbl - card games);

    koupit chleba, sýra, ...;

    But I am afraid that these forms are in fact (partitive) genitive.
  11. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    It is really interesting. This can work only with the word лист? Or with any noun? Thanks
  12. Sobakus Senior Member

    Well that's quite new to me, there's nothing similar going on in Russian, though it is possible to decline an object as animate in speech when there's serious confusion about the subject and the object (such as in case of inversion), but it will be mostly jokular. I think it's not as much of a problem for Russians as we use у меня есть Nom. instead of я имею Acc..
  13. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Plus those given by Marco. It doesn't work with all of them, though. For instance: grać w futbol/baseball; uprawiać boks. These are the only examples I can think of at the moment. I think that these equaling the accusative with the genitive are in the majority.

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