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I came across this sentence:

さまざまな授業内容で生徒の不能性を引き出します。

I understand it's supposed to mean something along the lines of "A variety of teaching contents brings out the potential of the students".

But I do not see why

生徒の不能性

should mean "the potential of the students". As 不能性 means "impossibility, incompetence", why doesn't it translate as the "incompetence of the students"?

Thanks in advance :)

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    I suspect it's a typo for 可能性...
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 22:46
  • It's probably a mere typo. (Since the meaning is completely reversed, I cannot rule out the possibility that this is some kind of intentional joke, but you should be able to tell from the context.)
    – naruto
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 2:10
  • @aguijonazo Haha, you are right. Thanks. Should have watched more carefully :)
    – Tobi
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 9:45
  • @naruto It is indeed a mere typo and not a joke :) Thanks for the answer
    – Tobi
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 9:46

1 Answer 1

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First of all, although the term 不能性 is comprehensible to me, and I believe to all native speakers, it is not an established term, and is not found in the dictionary. One would still understand this term though, as "Impossibility" or "Inability", made up of 不能 + 性 .

Back to your sentence, you are right about this sentence not making sense, as obviously we cannot draw out the student's incompetence with all sorts of lecture contents. As aguijonazo has suggested in a comment, there is strong possibility that this is a type for 可能性, a common word meaning "possibility" or "potential".

さまざまな授業内容で生徒の可能性を引き出します。
Draw out the potentials of students with various lecture contents.

As a side note, the proper antonym for 可能性 is 不可能性, rather than 不能性. The latter is still understandable, but not established/standard. Just like the proper noun form of impossible is impossibility, yet if I say impossible-ness you'd still understand me.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. I should have read it more carefully. And thanks for the additional clarification between 不能性 and 不可能性. I think that was also a typo on my side though, hehe.
    – Tobi
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 9:50

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