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* I hit the door's knob.
* *I hit the door on the knob. (incorrect)

Surely we would say 'I hit the doorknob'? I would think it is fairly common to leave off the 's genetive for a smaller part of some inanimate noun (e.g. table leg). Also, I would contend that 'I hit the door on the knob' is not incorrect. --Junglehungry 16:07, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

In the section about animacy in English, the article uses the example of the correct "my face" vs. the incorrect "the face of me." However, what about the expression "for the life of me"; i.e., "I can't for the life of me figure out how to open this package!" Granted, this is more of a stock phrase, but when it was new it wasn't. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:09, 11 August 2009 (UTC) -- (talk) 18:51, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The English section has a number of problems--to the extent that I think I have to disagree with the proposed generalization. Consider "the face of God," or the expressions all/part/some/enough of me, or the immortal movie title "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia." All of these examples suggest that *"the face of me" is the kind of phrase that is behaving differently, and not the paradigmatic case at all. Pronouns are always goofy in English, anyway. "Lord Rutherford's stern gaze" and "the stern gaze of Lord Rutherford" are equally workable. As for the other end of the supposed continuum, who says "the face of the clock" is preferable? I find myself indifferent between the choices. We were just discussing the film "Winter's Bone," and I don't think anyone said it really should have been called "The Bone of Winter." There may be a very general sort of tendency here, and there may not, but there is assuredly no rule and the article far overstates any case there is to be made. Thoughts, anyone? --Craigkbryant (talk) 18:53, 17 November 2011 (UTC)


Grammatical virility (which might be a more accurate description of what exactly is going on in the Russian example given) is in some sense an area on the continuum of animacy-inanimacy. Does it deserve a separate page, or would it be appropriate to add a section to this one? Myself, I could only add information for Russian and Old Church Slavonic at best. Duke Atreides (talk) 06:29, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Something half-remembered from a decade-old linguistics class[edit]

in Navajo... the structure being translated as passive voice would more accurately be translated as something like "A let itself be x'ed by B"--that is, the implication/intent is that the higher-animacy thing is controlling the situation, so if the lower-animacy thing does something, it's only because the higher-animacy thing allowed it. It seems like that should be mentioned somehow, but 1. I can't quite find the source, and 2. I'm not sure how to phrase it encyclopedically enough. Thoughts? Tamtrible (talk) 09:40, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Also, I'm pretty sure the animacy heirarchy is being incorrectly represented, it's not to do with size, it's to do with speech. That is, a small thing that can "cry" is of higher animacy than a large thing that can't. I'm pretty sure a housecat would be at the same animacy level as a horse. I won't correct it myself, because I'm not *sure* (the linguistics class was nigh unto 2 decades ago), but... I think it's wrong. I'm pretty sure the correct heirarchy would be "things that can talk"/"things that can cry/make noise, but not talk"/"animals that can't cry"/"living things that aren't animals" (then, not sure of any further heirarchy, what's there is probably correct) Tamtrible (talk) 17:32, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Keep it simple stupid[edit]

Any more than a three-level human-animal-thing hierarchy is really stretching it and verging on Original Research. Include sufficient verifiable sources or leave it out of the article.. (talk) 05:56, 22 September 2017 (UTC)