By Mutsumi Yamamoto
The idea that of 'animacy' issues the elemental and cognitive query of the level to which we realize and show dwelling issues as saliently human-like or animal-like. In Animacy and Reference Mutsumi Yamamoto pursues major ambitions: First, to set up a conceptual framework of animacy, and secondly, to give an explanation for how the concept that of animacy could be mirrored within the use of referential expressions. Unlike earlier reviews at the topic focussing on grammatical manifestations, Animacy and Reference sheds mild upon the conceptual houses of animacy itself and its mirrored image in referen. Read more...
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When Mr Bruce Alton, the president of the institution, speaks for the College, this same institution is referred to as we; Mr Alton regards the College as a body of human beings which runs the organisation, including Mr Alton himself. The referring expression they towards the end of the text also highlights the aspect of Rocky Mountain College as a body of human beings. This example clearly demonstrates how an organisation is sometimes recognised as animate and sometimes as inanimate and expressed as such in human language.
WHAT IS ‘ANIMACY’? 33 However, Rommetveit (1974: 46) argues that Chomsky’s treatment is still insufficient. He argues that (24) should be construed as in: (27) I am not against MY FATHER, only against THE LABOR MINISTER AS A GOVERNMENTAL POSITION. In (27), Rommetveit demonstrates that THE LABOR MINISTER is regarded as A GOVERNMENTAL POSITION, which is a quite dehumanised, institutional role. However, it should be also noted that the above paraphrase appears to show no sense of coreference at all between the two noun phrases in question, since at a future or past time, the Labor Minister may be a different person from ‘my father’.
17 ghosts and other supernatural and mythological beings which/who are treated as if they are living things belong to this category of entities. Myhill (1992: 38) construes that supernatural beings are animate but non-human, whereas Fowler (1977: 17) treats them as borderline cases between animate beings and inanimate beings. However, it seems more sensible to leave them just as ‘supernaturally animate’, although, as Myhill points out, researchers should be alert to the distinction between levels of ‘supernaturalness’ because, for example, in Greek mythology gods display more human-like behaviour than the titans do (1992: 38).