Evidence of active system in Russian [Re: Roll Your Own IElanguage]
|From:||Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, April 7, 1999, 7:21|
Danny Wier wrote:
> I noticed that [in Russian] masculine singular nouns and all
> plural nouns have animate/inanimate distinction in the accusative
> case: if animate, same form as genitive; if inanimate, the
Ah, I've read about that. That occurs in quite a few Slavonic langs.
It's a new feature, rather than a survival of PIE, tho. Originally, it
began in nouns referring to *free adult healthy males*, that is, it was
not used of cripples, children, or slaves! It was, apparently, a form
of respect. However, it eventually generalized. I think I remember
reading that Russian has generalized it furthest.
"It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father
was hanged." - Irish proverb
AIM Screen-name: NikTailor