Language can be used to dehumanize by imputing a nonhuman animality to a human in the dominating/dominated power relationship, according to the animacy hierarchy
, ranging from the most animate to the lifeless.
In the final section, "Metals," she pushes animacy to its farthest potential, delving down to the lowest rung on the animacy hierarchy
by applying animacy theory to inanimate matter.
Chen argues that the initiation and operations of the dominant animacy hierarchy
queers ontology and intimacy by subverting the taxonomical borders it putatively erects between humans and animals or humans and metals, for example.
According to (de Hoop and Malchukov, 2008, 569), the object is obligatorily marked with accusative case in Awtuw if the object is as high as or higher than the subject in the animacy hierarchy
This explanation finds confirmation in the use of ma-, analyzed as mu- + a dative element /a/, which is the only means of expressing the dative for first person, the pronoun which is at the top of the Animacy Hierarchy
However, according to Aristar, this particular hierarchy only applies to the structural use of case, the animacy hierarchy
really being a markedness hierarchy for predicate arguments.
This result goes against a widely acknowledged crosslinguistic tendency to show animacy-based word order preferences; in fact, the effects of the animacy hierarchy
are categorical in some languages, such as Lummi, which have person-driven passives (Bresnan et al.
It is within this second, more specific, descriptive interpretation that hierarchies have been studied in this paper, by analysing a group of priority hierarchies which have been proposed as relevant to Subject selection in English: the Definiteness Hierarchy (definite > other specific > non-specific), the Person Hierarchy (first person / second person > third person), the Number Hierarchy (singular number > plural number), the Animacy Hierarchy
(human > other animate > inanimate force (3) > other inanimate), the Concreteness Hierarchy (concrete entities > abstract entities), and the Entity Hierarchy (first-order entities > higher-order entities) (Dik 1997a: 279).
Generalizations are presented in the form of implicational hierarchies, most notably the Animacy Hierarchy
, seen in Chapters 3 and 4 to constrain the kinds of nominal which can be marked for number, with higher-ranked items (e.
An animacy hierarchy
is at work in some places but not others.
Her data cover the topmost ranks of the animacy scale in (15), that is, the person scale that places local persons (speaker and addressee) over third person, bur her model has implications for the rest of the animacy hierarchy
the Extended Animacy Hierarchy
or Silverstein's hierarchy (cf.