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Summary Details


Query:   Animacy II
Author:  Andrew Carnie
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   DEAR COLLEAGUES,

A FEW WEEKS AGO I POSTED A QUERY ( LINGUIST 9.1462 ) ABOUT THE LINK BETWEEN
DEFINITENESS AND ANIMACY, AND RECEIVED MANY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE
MESSAGES. AFTER POSTING A SUMMARY ( LINGUIST 9.1653 ), I RECEIVED EVEN
MORE INTERESTING AN INFORMATIVE MESSAGES. HERE THEY ARE:

*************
FROM: SEAN WITTY

NOT SURE IF THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR, BUT KOREAN EXPRESSES OVERT
DEFINITION IN SUBJECT POSITION AND USES ANIMATION IN THE ASSIGNMENT OF
GENDER.

WITTY'S GENERAL RULE OF GENDER ASSIGNMENT (ALL LANGUAGES):

1. ALL NOUNS HAVE GENDER OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER, IRREGARDLESS OF
BIOLOGICAL SEX.

2. NOUNS REFERRING TO HUMANS, OR NON-HUMAN NOUNS (INCLUDING FRENCH
OCCUPATIONAL NOUNS) WITH DEFINITE SEX, ARE CATEGORIZED +ANIMATE, AND
RECEIVE INITIAL MASCULINE GENDER.

3. OTHER NOUNS RECEIVE ARE CATEGORIZED -ANIMATE, AND RECEIVE INITIAL
NEUTER GENDER.

4. GENDER BY ASSOCIATION. NOUNS RECEIVING INITIAL NEUTER GENDER MAY BE
RECLASSIFIED AS EITHER MASCULINE OR FEMININE (OR WHATEVER, IN THE CASE
OF SOME AFRICAN LANGUAGES), DEPENDING ON DECLENSION. THUS, THE LATIN
'TABULA' IS FEMININE BECAUSE IT FOLLOWS THE FIRST DECLENSION, IN WHICH
ALL +ANIMATE NOUNS ARE ALSO FEMININE (TO INCLUDE, CURIOUSLY, FOUR THAT
TYPICALLY REFER TO MALES).

5. IN SOME LANGUAGES, I.E., ANGLO-SAXON, NON-ADULT NOUNS MAY BE
ASSIGNED NEUTER, OR SOME OTHER GENDER, TO DESIGNATE THEM AS BEING
+ANIMATE, -ADULT. IN GERMAN, FOR EXAMPLE, INDEFINITE CHILDREN ARE
ASSIGNED NEUTER GENDER, WHILE ONLY MALE CHILDREN RETAIN MASCULINE GENDER
(I'M NOT SURE WHY, BUT I THINK IT IS FOR NON-LINGUISTIC REASONS, UNLESS
IT IS TO DESIGNATE THAT THE CHILD IS MALE).

6. AMONG +ADULT NOUNS, FEMALE NOUNS ARE REASSIGNED FEMINNINE GENDER,
WHILE ALL OTHER NOUNS RETAIN THE INITIAL MASCULINE.

7. AT ALL LEVELS OF DISTINCTION BEYOND THE FIRST, THERE MAY EXIST OTHER
GENDER CATEGORIES TO CLASSIFY THESE DISTINCTIONS. FOR EACH OF THESE
ADDITIONAL CLASSIFICATIONS, THERE MAY ALSO BE ANOTHER VARIANT APPLIED TO
THE INITIAL NEUTER NOUNS. THUS, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A LANGUAGE TO HAVE
IN EXCESS OF 17 GENDER CLASSIFICATIONS.

GIVEN THESE PRINCIPLES, WHICH ARE BY NO MEANS COMPLETE, A KOREAN ADULT
NOUN WILL RECEIVE INITIAL MASCULINE GENDER, UNLESS THE NOUN IS OF
DEFINITE FEMALE SEX. THUS, A WORD LIKE 'HAKSENG', STUDENT, CARRIES
MASCULINE GENDER WHEN INDEFINITE, AND FEMININE GENDER WHEN KNOWN TO BE
FEMALE (POSSIBLY 'YOHAKSENG', BUT THIS IS RARE USAGE, PRONOMINAL
INFLECTION IS MORE LIKELY; 'KUNUN', HE AND THAT PERSON; 'KUNYONUN',
SHE).

IRRESPECTIVE OF THIS DEFINITE/INDEFINITE RELATIONSHIP, A DEFINITE NOUN
TAKES EITHER THE SUFFIX '-I' OR '-GA', DEPENDING ON THE FINAL SOUND. AN
INDEFINITE NOUN TAKES EITHER THE SUFFIX '-UN' OR '-NUN', ALSO DEPENDENT
ON THE FINAL SOUND. THUS, 'KUGO' (VOWEL ASSIMILATION OF '-GA'),
'KUNYOGA', 'KUNUN', AND 'KUNYONUN' ARE ALL POSSIBLE.

HOPE THIS HELPS.

*****************

FROM: BINGFU


HI, ANDREW,
I JUST WONDER WHETHER ARE YOU AWARE OF
BERNARD COMRIE'S FOLLOWING WORKS.
1977: SUBJECT AND DIRECT OBJECT IN URALIC LANGUAGES: A FUNCTIONAL
EXPLANATION OF CASE-MARKING SYSTEM. ETUDES FINNO-OUGRIENNES
12 (BUDAPEST: AKADEMIAI KIADO) 5-17

1987: DEFINITE AND ANIMATE DIRECT OBJECTS: A NATURAL CLASS.
LINGUISTICA SILESIANA 3: 13-21.

WHERE HE EXTENSIVELY DISCUSSED THE PHENOMENA RELATED TO YOUR ISSUE
AND PROVIDE A QUITE CONVINCING EXPLANATION.

BEST
BINGFU LU

********

FROM:

LL Issue: 9.1726
Date Posted: 06-Dec-1998
Original Query: Read original query