Animacy in Latin: explaining some peripheral phenomena

Research outputpeer-review


The aim of this chapter is to investigate the manifestations of animacy in the Latin language and, particularly, the phenomena which pertain to the periphery of this category. Since reliable criteria to establish whether a noun is animate or not are lacking in the traditional Latin grammars, this study aims, first, at offering a method of diagnosing animacy/inanimacy and, second, at explaining some peripheral phenomena. The method of diagnosing animacy/inanimacy is based on differences in syntactic behavior of animate/inanimate nouns in passive constructions. The author draws on comparative material from some other languages, with a particular focus on Russian, and comes to the conclusion that the conceptualization of entities as animate/inanimate can be influenced by the grammatical number, the degree of individuation and by other parameters pertaining to the anthropocentric nature of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLemmata Linguistica Latina
Subtitle of host publicationClause and Discourse
EditorsLidewij van Gils, Caroline Croon, Rodie Risselada
Place of PublicationBerlin/Munich/Boston
PublisherDe Gruyter
ISBN (Electronic)9783110678222
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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    Zheltova , E. (2019). Animacy in Latin: explaining some peripheral phenomena. In L. van Gils, C. Croon, & R. Risselada (Eds.), Lemmata Linguistica Latina: Clause and Discourse (Vol. 2, pp. 199-218). De Gruyter.