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この本は日本語の文法の本です。 日本語というと、万葉集や源氏物語などの古代の言葉も、日本の各地で話されている方言も、みなすべて日本語ですが、この本で扱えるのは現代日本の東京の言葉だけです。

I'm reading the preface of an online book. Why is the word in bold in the potential? I assume it means that the Japanese treated in the book is only that of modern Tokyo, but is it not possible to just use 扱う?

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この本で扱えるのは現代日本の東京の言葉だけです

I think the potential form pairs up nicely with だけ. Literally, "In this book, what we are able to handle is only the language of modern day Tokyo Japanese", or more naturally "We can only handle the Japanese of modern day Tokyo in this book". Presumably suggesting that they couldn't handle anything else without a much bigger book.

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    OMG, I feel so dumb now. I've seen it so many times and not understood it, it's only now that I ask and got an answer. Thanks.
    – firuvi
    May 8 at 15:10

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