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I have read in "Ukrainian - A Comprehensive Grammar" by S. M. Pugh and I. Press that some Ukrainian inanimate nouns, such as лист, can optionally take singular-accusative in -а, i.e. they are treated gramatically as animate nouns. In this question I'll call this feature 'facultative animacy'. I would like to know how common facultative animacy is: are there a lot of nouns such as лист? Do such nouns belong to specific classes with common meanings? What is the perceived stylistic difference (if any) of facultative animacy?

  • hi, I think that it's not about the animate and inanimate nouns, it's more about genitive/accusative cases used with certain verbs and nouns. – P. Vowk May 27 at 12:55
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    @P.Vowk, this is one great question because it touches a deep historical background of Ukrainian language. And it is, indeed, tightly related to animacy. Wikipedia: «У сучасній українській форми родового відмінка витіснили форми знахідного для істот, а у розмовно-побутовому мовленні — навіть і для неістот – bytebuster May 27 at 13:06
  • See also: “Genitive case after transitive verb?”. – Sasha May 27 at 14:48

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