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On 08/29/2015 11:52 PM, William Wright wrote:
> How might one express the concept of something being possible (i.e. "it is
> possible") using only transitive verbs and transitive verb derivatives?

As an affix[*]:

1) Dog-AGENT bite-POSSIBLE man-OBJECT.
"is it possible that a dog can bite/bit a man?"

2) Dog-AGENT-POSSIBLE bite man-OBJECT.
"is it possible that a DOG (as opposed to something else) is capable 
of/was the one biting a man?"

3) Dog-AGENT bite man-OBJECT-POSSIBLE.
"is it possible that a MAN (as opposed to something else) can be 
bitten/was bitten by a dog?"

Hm, maybe two affixes, one for capability and one for being guilty?

Serial verbs:

4) Dog-AGENT be.possible bite man-OBJECT.

Both "be.possible" and "bite" would be verbs.

Not using transitives, with a particle:

5) POSSIBLE: Dog-AGENT bite man-OBJECT.

That would probably only cover the meaning of example 1) above.


[*] "Affix" is the common word for bits that connect to other words, be 
it in front (prefix), in back (suffix), inside (infix) or around 
(circumfix), in such a fashion that you definitely get a single new 
word, not two or more words. It's handy because it says nothing about 
the type of word it connects to (inflection and declination fails that) 
or what the effect the affix will have ("plural marker" fails that).


t.