Sketching the possessive structures of Rawàng Ata, III

OK, the least interesting part, but just tying up loose ends…


Direct and indirect possession both form noun phrases, and both are used for quite ‘close’ forms of relation. Locative absolutes differ in both respects. A locative absolute is simply an absolute in the locative case. This can be used to show physical location or proximity, or a looser and more general and non-specific ‘relation’ or ‘connexion’ between an object and the content of the absolute. As with all absolutes, locative absolutes modify only the topic (or a supertopic).


Appositives are more usually used to show identity, but they can also be used to indicate possession. As a guideline, use of appositive possessives is inappropriate if it produces ambiguity with an appositive of identity, or if it is important to know the nature of the possessive relationship. They are generally topical equivalents of locative absolutes, although they are more restricted in scope (there must be some obvious, known, close connexion between topic and appositive).


Althought the version system is not primarily concerned with possession, it does interact with possession (beyond the plain fact that directly-marked possessums are considered to constitute the fourth version). Specifically, the second version can be used to indicate possession by the speaker and/or the interlocutor; the third version, meanwhile, can have the connotation of ownership by the general surrounding community.


“Dualism” is the phenomenon where a topic is given a comment in the form of a verbal clause in which the topic is explicitly not an argument. Instead, one argument is fronted and enters into a particular relationship – dualism – with the topic. Dualisms can be interpreted in many ways, but one of the most common ways is possession: the topic is read as a possessor, and the fronted argument (usually the subject) is read as a possessum. These relationships can be extremely non-specific, and dualisms are also used to convey instrumental, causal, benefactive, avertive, equative and analogistic meanings.


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