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In an audio course of Russian language I heard several times "Я видел Петербурга". Does this mean that geographical names are animate nouns?

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    it could have been "я не видел Петербурга". This sentence is 100% correct. But without the negative particle, without the negation it is not correct. Why is this, I don't know Jan 12 '17 at 17:07
  • if that course is available online it would be nice to have a link
    – shabunc
    Jan 12 '17 at 20:25
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    Could also be something like "Я [довольно] видел Петербурга", although it's a bit old-fashioned and is unlikely to come upon in an audio course.
    – Matt
    Jan 13 '17 at 11:38
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No, Петербург is not an animate noun, and я видел Петербурга is wrong.

The only exception is if somebody is named Петербург, e.g. it is an animal name, somebody's nick etc. In this case Петербург would be an animate noun, and я видел Петербурга is correct:

У моего друга есть кот по кличке Петербург. Вчера я видел Петербурга.

or

Брат моей жены пишет в форум под ником Петербург. На прошлой неделе я видел Петербурга.

Maybe you heard я не видел Петербурга (genitive case due to negation).

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  • You are right. What I actually heard was я ещё не видел петербурга
    – Pepe
    Jan 12 '17 at 18:46
  • Isn't "Я не видел Петербург." correct though? The nuance being that with genetive the meaning is that you didn't see it because it wasn't there, whereas without genetive it just means that you didn't see it because you've never been there? Jan 12 '17 at 21:39
  • @Raskolnikov both variants are correct actually
    – shabunc
    Jan 12 '17 at 23:19
  • @Raskolnikov Off my head: «Я не видел Петербург» makes me think of sight-seeing, like the city was an essence rather than a place. I may have been there, but I have not seen what it's like anyway. Say, «Я никогда не видел Петербург ночью».
    – Evgeniy
    Jan 13 '17 at 17:28
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No. You either mis-parsed or mis-heard what they said.

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