Ablative case

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In grammar, ablative case (abbreviated abl) is a grammatical case (a type of noun inflection) in various languages that is used generally to express motion away from something, although the precise meaning may vary by language. The name "ablative" derives from the Latin ablatus, the (irregular) perfect passive participle of auferre "to carry away". There is no ablative case in English.

Indo-European languages[edit]

Latin[edit]

Nouns in the Latin ablative case (ablativus) are mainly used adverbially to modify verbs.

The ablative case has numerous uses, descending from three Proto-Indo-European cases: ablative (from), instrumental (with), and locative (in/at).

Greek[edit]

In Ancient Greek, there was no ablative case; its functions were taken by the genitive, so that the genitive had functions belonging to the Proto-Indo-European genitive and ablative cases.[1] The genitive case with the prepositions ἀπό apó "away from" and ἐκ/ἐξ ek/ex "out of" is an example.

Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian[edit]

As in Ancient Greek, the functions of the ablative case in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian are performed by the genitive case. Of three forms of genitive in Serbian, as well in Croatian and Bosnian, namely partitive, possessive and ablative, the noun in the ablative genitive marks the origin of something, so as departure or detachment from it.

Albanian[edit]

The ablative case is found in Albanian where it is the fifth case and is called rasa rrjedhore.

Sanskrit[edit]

The ablative case, known as apādāna (अपादान) in Sanskrit, is the fifth case (panchami) in the grammar, and has similar function to that of Latin.

Sanskrit nouns in this case often refer to a subject "out of" which or "from" whom something (an action, an object) has arisen or occurred—e.g., patram vṛkṣāt patati "the leaf falls from the tree".

This case is also used for nouns in several other senses, e.g., where the action occurs "because of" or "without" a certain noun; nouns indicating distance or direction. When it appears with a comparative adjective, e.g. śreṣṭhatamam, "the best," the ablative is used to refer to that which the adjective is comparing, "better than X".

Armenian[edit]

In the Western Armenian language, the ablative case is rendered by the suffix -e (indefinite) or -en (definite).

Mart - man
Marten - from the man
Marte - from (a) man
Doon - house
D'nen - from the house
D'ne - from (a) house

In Eastern Armenian, the suffix -its is used for both definite and indefinite nouns.

Mard- man Mardits- from man

Toon- house T'nits- from house

Both suffixes derive from Classical Armenian. The Western suffix -e is from the Classical singular and the Eastern suffix -its is from the Classical plural; both have been generalized for singular and plural in the dialects that use them.

In Armenian, the ablative case has several uses.

  • Its principal function is to show motion away from a point in space or time.
    • KAGHAKEN katsi. - I came FROM THE CITY. (Eastern Armenian; KAGHAKITS gnets)
    • ASTEGHEN heroo g'abrei. - I used to live far FROM HERE. (Ea. ASTEGHITS heroo ei b'nakvoom)
  • The case also shows the agent when used with the passive voice of the verb.
    • INE misht g' sirveis. - You were always loved BY ME. (Ea. INDZITS misht eis sirvoom)
    • AZAD'CHNEREN azadetsank. - We were freed BY THE LIBERATORS. (Ea. AZATOGHNERITS azatfetsink)
  • The ablative case is also important to comparative statements in colloquial Armenian.
    • Inch MEGHREN anoosh eh? - "What is sweeter THAN HONEY?" (proverb) (Ea. Inch MEGHRITS e anoosh?)
    • Mariam EKHPEREN b'zdig eh. - Mary is smaller (younger) THAN HER BROTHER. (Ea. Maro AKHBERITS e bakas)
    • In this use, the ablative can also be used with infinitives and participles.
      • Tooz hamdesel e lav DESNALE. - Figs are better to taste THAN TO SEE. (Ea. T'zner hamtesel e laf TESNELITS)
  • The ablative case is also important to case government with postpositions.
    • INE var - Below ME (Ea. INDZITS var)
    • KEZME ver - Above YOU (Ea. KEZITS ver)
    • ANONTSME verch - After THEM (Ea. N'RANITS verj)
    • MEZME arach - Before US (Ea. MEZNITS araj)

Uralic languages[edit]

Finnish[edit]

In Finnish, the ablative case is the sixth of the locative cases with the meaning "from, off, of", e.g. pöytä – pöydältä "table – off from the table". It is an outer locative case, used just as the adessive and allative cases to denote both being on top of something and "being around the place" (as opposed to the inner locative case, the elative, which means "from out of" or "from the inside of"). In the locative meaning, the receding object was near the other place or object, not inside it.

The Finnish ablative is also used in time expressions to indicate start times (e.g. kymmeneltä "at ten") as well as with verbs expressing feelings or emotions.

The Finnish ablative has the ending -lta or -ltä according to the regular rules of vowel harmony.

Usage

  • away from a place
Katolta
Off the roof
Pöydältä
Off the table
Rannalta
From the beach
Maalta
From the land
Mereltä
From the sea
  • to stop some activity with the verb lähteä
lähteä tupakalta
stop smoking (in the sense of putting out the cigarette one is smoking now; literally 'leave from the tobacco')
lähteä hippasilta
stop playing the game of tag (hippa=tag, olla hippasilla=playing tag)
  • to smell/taste/feel/look/sound like something
haisee pahalta
smells bad
maistuu hyvältä
tastes good
tuntuu kamalalta
feels awful
näyttää tyhmältä
looks stupid
kuulostaa mukavalta
sounds nice

Hungarian[edit]

The ablative case in Hungarian is used to describe movement away from a solid object. For example, if one is walking away from a friend one could say: a barátomtól jövök - I am coming (away from) my friend.

Note that this case in this example implies that the user was next to the solid object, and not inside it. This means that if one said a postától jövök it would mean one is coming from being stood next to the post office, and that you were not inside the building.

The application of vowel harmony gives two different suffixes: -tól and -től. These are applied to back- and front-vowel words respectively.

Its partners for movement towards a solid object and for being next to that solid object are the allative case and the adessive case respectively. Its partners that correspond to movement away from, or out of, something are the delative case (for movement from a surface or from a Hungarian city) and the elative case (for movement out of a container or from out of an international city).

Turkic languages[edit]

Azeri[edit]

The ablative in Azeri (çıxışlıq hal) is expressed through the suffixes -dan or -dən. Examples:

Ev - evdən
House - from/off the house

Aparmaq - aparmaqdan
To carry - from/off carrying

Turkish[edit]

The ablative in Turkish (-den hali or uzaklaşma hali) is expressed through the suffixes -den, -dan, -ten, or -tan. Examples:

Ev - evden
House - from/off the house

At - attan
Horse - from/off the horse

Taşımak - taşımaktan
To carry - from/off carrying

Ses - sesten
Sound/volume - from/off sound/volume

In some situations simple ablative can have a ”because of” meaning, in these situations ablative can be optionally followed by ”dolayı” (because of) preposition.

Yüksek sesten (dolayı) rahatsız oldum. / I was uneasy because of high volume.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herbert Weir Smyth. Greek Grammar. par. 1279: composite or mixed cases.

External links[edit]