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Animacy in Edievian
This public article was written by argyle, and last updated on 3 Mar 2015, 22:07.

[comments] Menu 1. History of Animacy 2. Animacy in Contemporary Edievian Animacy is not a highly marked feature of a Edievian, but is the only real class distinction in Edievian nouns.

[top]History of Animacy

 Colian distinguished nouns along two categories: animacy and gender. Animacy was inherent to a noun and was only marked in the declension of the noun, which involved mainly the consonants of the endings. Gender was marked on vowels; nouns of either gender could have /a a: o o: u u:/ in their stems, while masculine nouns usually had /e e: i i:/ and feminine nouns usually had /ø ø: y y:/. Verbs also conjugated according to gender in the second and third persons, entirely controlled by vowel roundness (this feature died out in all the daughter languages). Verbs also had distinct forms for the animate and inanimate persons in the third person, but this was another feature lost to phonetic evolution. The declension endings in nouns were also almost exclusively split masculine into front unrounded and feminine into front rounded. Correspondingly, there were eight third person pronouns:

SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
li
MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.INANInanimate (gender/class)
inanimate, sessile
ni
FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
.ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
ly
FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
.INANInanimate (gender/class)
inanimate, sessile
ny
Over the course of South Colian evolution (the vulgar language that gave rise to  Laendish,  Mogazian,  Colese, and  Edievian), the front rounded vowels collapsed into their unrounded counterparts (this process never completed in Mogazian, and then Hungarian influence brought back a resurgence of the front rounded vowels). This marked the end of the gender distinction in all of these daughter languages (again, except for Mogazian), including Edievian. This then left Edievian with four pronouns:

SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
leli
INANInanimate (gender/class)
inanimate, sessile
neni
[top]Animacy in Contemporary Edievian

Animacy in contemporary Edievian means very little in regards to the grammar of the language. As nominal morphology is limited to just singular/plural distinction (the declension system eroded away), the difference between animate and inanimate nouns in morphology was long lost. Similarly, since verbs make no distinction between animate and inanimate subjects, the there is not a trace of animacy left on the verbs. Instead, Edievian exists in a similar state as does English: animacy is marked on pronouns.

Edievian usage of le and li versus ne and ni somewhat mirrors English usage of "he/she" versus "it": it is mainly a question of semantics. The basic rule is that if the referent is a person or animal, go with the animate pronoun (le/li). If the referent is anything else, stick with the inanimate pronouns (ne/ni). There are a few exceptions to this rule, listed here:

  • The sun and moon both are referred to with le.
  • Insects and other crawlies are referred to with le, unlike English.
  • Vehicles are exclusively referred to with ne, unlike the occasional English "she".
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