by Don  

The word for animal in Russian is животное. You will notice that it resembles the word живу ‘I live,’ and indeed the root жив- means ‘live.’ In fact in Old Russian the word живот meant life, although nowadays it means stomach. You'll note that животное has a neuter adjectival ending. I suspect that it originally was part of the phrase «животное существо» ‘living being,’ although that's just a guess. In any case, the word is now used as a noun, even though its endings are adjectival, and for that reason we can call it a deadjectival noun. It declines like this:


Notice particularly that since the word is neuter, the accusative singular does NOT copy the genitive singular.

Ты видишь то животное, которое лежит перед оградой? Do you see that animal that is lying in front of the fence?
Какое красивое животное! What a beautiful animal!
Миша любит животных. Он хочет быть ветеринаром. Michael loves animals. He wants to be a veterinarian.
— Что это за животное?
— Это утконос. Он интересен тем, что самцы утконоса ядовитые, что нетипично для млекопитающих.
“What kind of animal is that?”
“It's a platypus. It's interesting in that the males are poisonous, which is atypical for mammals.”

No feedback yet

Form is loading...