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RFV discussion[edit]

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Rfv-sense: Four adverb senses, worded as adjectives. The non-gloss definitions are intended to supersede them. See also discussion at WT:RFC#possibly. Pingku 13:54, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

RFV failed, senses removed. —RuakhTALK 16:07, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

RFC discussion: November 2009–March 2011[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup (permalink).

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All of the definitions are worded as adjectives. DCDuring TALK 16:01, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Its peculiarity may be that it modifies a statement about the truth or untruth of a proposition. Thus we need some formula other than "in a manner that".
All the examples and synonyms are focused on the future. How about "Sarah possibly has my keys." or "John was possibly asleep at the wheel."? Pingku 17:34, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. Also, consider: "What you said is true, possibly." and "What you said is possibly true." It does not have to modify a sentence (or clause).
CGEL classes it as a modal adverb among perhaps 30 others. Modal, domain ("linguistically", "professionally") and evaluative ("fortunately", "ironically", "ominously") are their other adverb-containing subclasses of adjuncts of clauses. Reviewing the adverbs one subclass at a time is enormously revealing of defective entries. DCDuring TALK 19:10, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I've come across modality before in the context of logic. I note that "possibly" has an obvious link to the epistemic (aka alethic) modal pairing possibility/necessity. (And from modal logic, "not possibly not" = "necessarily", and vice-versa.) It occurs to me that "possibly" could, just by itself, be expressive of a range of modal concepts in the epistemic domain. Maybe it can encroach on the deontic (may/must) as well?
Modal adverbs sound interesting from the point of view of attaching themselves to a variety of verbs, particularly non-modal verbs, thereby attaching an aspect of modality. Pingku 16:42, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I am addicted to the weasel words semantically weak modal adverbs (possibly, seemingly, evidently, etc), especially in written communication, because they seemingly (!) soften what might be too direct a statement. They seem slightly less ambiguous than the weak modal verbs.
I have created and partially populated Category:English modal adverbs. Most of them are based on CGEL. I have added a couple of synonyms. Any phrasal ones are not CGEL. It might (!) be useful to break them into syntactic/synonym subgroups (possibly overlapping) to support quality improvement by sense comparisons and to facilitate translations, especially using trans-see where appropriate. Perhaps (!) an Appendix or a couple of Wikisaurus pages would do the job. DCDuring TALK 19:50, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Getting back to the case in point, how about, for a start:
1. (modifying a sentence or clause) {{non-gloss definition|Indicates that the proposition may be true (is not certainly false) regardless of any facts or circumstances known to, stated by or implied by the speaker}}
2. (modifying a verb) {{non-gloss definition|Indicates that the action may successfully be performed (is not impossible) regardless of any facts or circumstances known to, stated by or implied by the speaker that might limit the performance}}
It doesn't fix the problem of wording it like an adverb, but at least it will be flagged. Pingku 16:29, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Good finessing of the problem. I've been using {{non-gloss definition}} quite a bit for hard cases. It is easy to justify for all kinds of sentence adverbs. Modals, too, even when not being used as sentence adverbs. DCDuring TALK 16:41, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I've added the above, plus one for adjectives, but couldn't remove the old defs - they link to the glosses in the Translations section. From a brief look, the Dutch seems to be an adjective, the Russian may be OK for a general translation, but the Finnish and Swedish have different translations for different glosses. Pingku 16:50, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I think we have to give due process (RfV?) to the bad senses anyway. I don't see how we can avoid ttbc'ing the translations if the senses are wrong. I had optimistically hoped that translators look at the PoS in addition to the gloss, but my optimism seems unwarranted. There is no reason to keep erroneous definitions, just because there are translations. We can keep the existing trans tables with the bad glosses, insert a check-trans notice above them to discourage more translations from being added to the bad glosses, ttbc the translations of bad glosses, and trreq translations of senses we have confidence in. Argh. I hope some of those who translate are watching this. DCDuring TALK 17:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I checked fi translations. The second definition is a real brain-twister. It reads "Indicates that the action may successfully be performed...", but all examples are of actions that are impossible to perform. After some pondering one may realize that the trick is in negation, i.e. the examples are of "not possibly". Could someone native write an example of positive use of the word? --Hekaheka 05:37, 28 March 2011 (UTC)