On Thu, 23 Nov 2006 20:51:00 -0800, Jens Wilkinson <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >--- Rex May <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >> >> go kanfey. I am literate. (I read-can) >> to hon bekanfey. The book is legible. (be-read-can) > >Actually, this may sound heretical in the world of >language design, where people like to be precise, but >my own opinion is that those two words could really be >the same. > >I can read. >That book can read. > >In the second case, there's probably a missing >subject, like: >That book (people) can read. > >In the overwhelming majority of cases, it's perfectly >clear from the context which of the two meanings is >referred to. In Japanese, incidentally, the word for >"can eat" and "is edible" are the same (taberareru). > >The only time is would be ambiguous is a situation >where something is both potentially the actor and >patient, like if you speak about a lion or fish or >something. Kind of like the ambiguous sentence in >English: > >The missionaries are ready to eat. > >But in practice, those sentences don't pose problems, >due to the context in which they occur. People might >make a general statement like "cow can eat" meaning a >cow can be eaten, but nobody says "cow can eat" in the >sense that cows are capable of eating, because it >would be silly to believe the opposite. If you say >"that cow lost all its teeth, and no can eat," I would >imagine the person wanted to say it was incapable of >eating, not of being eaten. Though in that case, it >could I suppose mean the other one. For some reason, >not having teeth is symptomatic of some underlying >health problem that makes it inedible or something >like that. > Not heretical to me. In my South Midlands dialect, it's common to say "That corn eats good," or "The lawn mows easy."