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Edit Engine: Animate Nouns

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Using the Edit Engine: Animate Nouns

Image from Edit EngineThe list of noun classes in the Class field includes options such as "9/10" and "9/10an." What does the "an" mean, and how do you tell whether a noun should be labelled "an"?

The "an" tag means a noun is "animate." Animate nouns are living, breathing creatures. Although many animate nouns have the standard "m/wa" pattern of forming plurals - the prime example is mtu (person)/ watu (people) - many other animate nouns are pluralized according to the patterns of other noun classes. A lizard is animate (mjusi/ mijusi). A doctor is animate (daktari/ madaktari). A teenager is animate (kijana/ vijana). A giraffe is animate (twiga/ twiga).

Standard "m/wa" animate nouns are Class 1/2. Class 1/2 nouns are living, breathing creatures that begin with "m" in the singular and "wa" in the plural. But to what classes do the examples above belong? In the Edit Engine, we attach the tag "an" to the noun class pattern that the creature is pluralized as. For example, standard 3/4 nouns are those that begin with "m" in the singular and "mi" in the plural, such as city (mji/ miji) - the big difference between standard 3/4 nouns like mji/ miji and 3/4an nouns such as mjusi/ mijusi is the ability to live and breathe.

example looks like class belongs to class
mjusi/ mijusi 3/4 (mji/miji) 3/4an
daktari/ madaktari 5/6 (jina/majina) 5/6an
kijana/ vijana 7/8 (kitabu/ vitabu) 7/8an
twiga/ twiga 9/10 (nchi/ nchi) 9/10an

Note that most animate nouns function as 1/2 nouns when you use them in sentences - they take the standard 1/2 subject markers, pronouns, adjective agreements, etc. The animate "an" designation tells you that the noun looks like a noun class other than 1/2, but functions like a 1/2 noun in sentence constructions because it is a living, breathing creature.

Edit Engine data fields and instructions

/content/animate-nouns

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