the -hat/-het suffix adds a "potential" meaning to the verb, like the english auxiliary could; for example, repülhet = could fly. The verb lenni=to be with -het gives lehet, roughly the verb could be.
Then the -etlen/-atlan suffix roughly means -less; when added to a noun or verb, it means the "lack of" the stem. And the lack of "could-be-ness" is what impossible means.
Thank you, Joeinthetheory, for the quick, proper and kind response. This helps me a lot to understand this word and maybe to many others.
It's interesting that "-het" is "could" instead of "can".
and I guess "could-be-ness" is a simply mistyping of "could-be-less" from this context.OK?
Thank you !!!!!!
Well, I meant that could-be-less is a lack of could-be-ness...
English could and can (and may) are very close, and similarly whether to use tud or -het is an important distinction. There is a difference between tud repülni (an ability to fly: "the bird can fly, but the person can't") versus repülhet (a potential to fly: "the person could fly, but will take the train instead).
Sorry, I misread your explanation. ok, [ lehetetlen ] is [ a lack of "could-be-ness" ].
And you make it clear, another point, that "could" is not a meaning of the past sentence but the meaning of potentiality. Do I understand it properly? Also this helps me a lot to get magyar deeper.
Thank you !!!!!!
The -hat/-het suffix is more about ability than anything else. I think "can" would be a better word here, and conversely "cannot" for the combination -hatatlan/-hetetlen.
- láthatatlan - from lát - cannot be seen = invisible
- elérhetetlen - from ér - cannot be reached = unavailable
- érthetetlen - from ért - cannot be understood = unintelligible
For the positive versions you use -ható/-hető:
- látható - visible
- elérhető - available
- érthető - understandable
Lehet and its relatives are a bit more special. "Possible" is most often better translated as lehetséges instead of lehető. Also lehet derives from van - to be, which shares its infinitive form with another verb. The other verb is lesz - to become, and the infinitive is lenni, like Joe said already.