Word of the Day

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wirusa and virus

Żona i syn chorego lekarza też mają wirusa A/H1N1.

Two closely related languages, like Czech and Polish, can have different views on what constitutes animacy in grammar. The sentence that starts this post in Polish (Wife and son of ill doctor also have virus A/H1N1) contains the noun wirus plus the accusative ending - a - typical for animate nouns. The same sentence in Czech would be Žena i/a syn chorého/nemocného lékaře též/taky mají virus A/H1N1 has the noun virus without the a, also characteristic of animate nouns in Czech, which means that for Czes viruses are inanimate and for Poles they are animate, at least grammatically speaking.

The Slovak equivalent (Žena a syn chorého lékara tiež majú virus A/H1N1) behaves like Czech.

No comments: