Classical Gluonic Topic

Possession and Association with Ablative Noun Phrases

Keywords: possession, nouns, ablative

In Classical Gluonic examples seen so far, all noun phrases have been in the absolutive case, which unlike in languages that use dependent marking for morphosyntactic roles is used for virtually every role a noun phrase can have in a sentence. There is one other case, though, what the early Gluonicists chose to call the "ablative" case. This decision has led to some controversy, but the terminology has stuck. Nouns in the ablative case can perform every syntactic role that nouns in the absolutive case can. What the absolutive case does is it marks the referent as possessed, associated or subordinated in some fashion to some other referent. It is the principal mechanism for marking possession in noun phrases, like using the genitive case (apostrophe-s) or an expression using "of" in English.

Refer to the attached article on Noun and Adjective Declensions to see how the ablative is made. If the referent of the noun phrase is possessed, or otherwise subordinated to something, the entire noun phrase is placed in the ablative case. A colour clitic may be used if required or desired. In fact, it is common to use strong colour clitics at the end of a possessed noun phrase in order to set it off unambiguously from the possessor, especially if the two are of the same colour.

Then the possessor noun phrase or pronoun follows the ablative possessed noun phrase. It may itself be ablative if it is in turn possessed. Something in the possessor position is required. At minimum, a dummy pronoun is needed - in this role, a pronoun can be used without first introducing its antecedent as long as it agrees in colour with the possessed noun phrase.

There are two types of possessors, "topical" and "non-topical." A topical possessor is itself a topic of conversation that can be referred back to separately from the thing possessed, and the non-topical possessor is a possessor that is just being mentioned to add information about the topical thing possessed and cannot itself be referred back to.

Non-topical referents agree with the possessee in colour and do not require a colour clitic to introduce, or may use a strong clitic to separate itself from a further possessor even if it hasn't been previously mentioned. Topical referents are usually set up deliberately to contrast with the possessee in colour, and do require a colour clitic if this is their first introduction.


These examples assume the referents have not been introduced. In the first example, the possessor is non-topical, and in the second it's topical. The predicate is an adjective and so does not get a colour clitic.

Aalemi veppeke'be gorano'go iveene.

"The child's ball is white."

Aalemi veppeke'be gerane iveene.

"The child's ball is white."

In the latter case, if the speaker were concerned about the parsing being ambiguous they might front the subject.

Here's another example where the possessor is represented by a pronoun, with all topical referents introduced:

Kwajsulema gorano'go veppeke'be thoo gawmy'ty.

"The child throws their ball to the dog."


Related Topics

Related Literature