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11 votes
Accepted

Will an animate Russian noun still remain animate if used to denote an inanimate object?

In Russian, animacy is not a purely syntactic property of a noun; it depends on its semantic context. A classic example is the names of animals, which tend to be inanimate when they refer to them as ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
  • 53.8k
9 votes
Accepted

How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

It's a complicated matter, and as a native speaker I'm lucky not to think about it consciously. Typically, when a person is named after an inanimate object, the word behaves as if it were animate ...
Ivan Milyakov's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Why is "животное" neuter even though it's animate?

The real answer is the claim that "in principle all animate nouns are either masculine or feminine but cannot be neutral" is false. For instance, we consider obsolete yet existent word "дитё" (or "...
shabunc's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

How would the word "облако-кочевник" look in the accusative plural?

In compound words which have a modifier noun and a modified noun, the modified noun is what the rest of the phrase has to agree with. It means that when the two nouns have different animacy, like in ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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3 votes

Will an animate Russian noun still remain animate if used to denote an inanimate object?

It would be treated as inanimate: Именно так поступил и Джеме Уэлдон, снаряжая в плавание "Пилигрим". Пришлось отказаться от надежды дополна нагрузить "Пилигрим". Many ships bear ...
Sergey Slepov's user avatar
2 votes

Does the Russian numeral rule for the adjective that comes between the number and the noun (see below) apply to animate nouns in actual usage?

Yes, this rule applies to animate nouns as well. 2/3/4 + старых/молодых + мужчины/мальчика/солдата for masculine or neuter. 2/3/4 + старые/молодые + женщины/девушки/кошки for feminine. For feminine ...
Guest's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

A human language develops over time, and its rules often become counterintuitive. Whether you want it or not, even native speakers have to look into the dictionaries. "Козёл", as a gymnastic tool, is ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 15.2k
1 vote

How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

Usually noun in such usage just preserves the category it belongs "originally", so it's just Я вижу всех твоих тараканов. (since "таракан" is animate) - the same about "поставить на доску ската" -...
shabunc's user avatar
  • 37.9k

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