They also have distributive readings on which there were as many liftings of the piano as there were boys and at least two different deal brokerings respectively. Small boys and all girls are playing. It implies the way in which words are arranged so as to reveal relationships of meanings within sentences and often between them. Obviously one cannot be finished or late simpliciter but only finished with something or late for something. Let us analyze some ambiguity examples in literature. A word, phrase, or sentence is ambiguous if it has more than one meaning. Whereas related meanings have been shown to facilitate word recognition, unrelated meanings have been found to slow processing times.
Philosophy Without Ambiguity: A Logico-Linguistic Essay, Oxford: Oxford University Press. The mechanics of reference transfer are mysterious, and the interaction of transferred terms with the syntax is a matter of some dispute. A different sort of relativity occurs with sentences like 'Jane is finished' and 'John will be late'. Scope Ambiguity A further type of ambiguity called scope ambiguity is discussed by Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet 1993 , among others. In this type of ambiguity, after one has read or heard the entire sentence, the ambiguity is still present. The term structural ambiguity is often contrasted with word-related ambiguity, which often arises because words can have multiple meanings.
If in a sentence or clause, then it is grammatical or structural ambiguity. Discusses linguistic features of ambiguity and examines tests for it. B The magazine fired some of its employees. This grammar attempts to produce all and only grammatical sentences of language. Some theories hold that competition contributes to processing complications, if only briefly. We may be right, but the ease of the move should counsel a policy of caution: Do not posit an ambiguity unless you are really forced to, unless there are really compelling theoretical or intuitive grounds to suppose that an ambiguity really is present.
We will discuss testing for ambiguity below: for now, we will try to isolate ambiguity by separating it from other typical cases with which ambiguity is easily conflated. C Dickens is one of the most popular writers in the world. John, the man, or both? This leaves a range of potential objects: utterances, utterances relative to a context, sentences, sentences relative to a context, sentences given discourse relations, inscriptions and a whole host of possibilities that need to be sorted out. We should be a bit careful, then, about the relationship between words and lexemes: a word may retain its identity while the lexeme it is derived from may not constitute it over time. Are the members of these pairs homonyms or different forms of the same word? One could also imagine rope was involved, at which point lexical ambiguity comes into play. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 97—120. Peter saw his neighbour with binoculars.
But ambiguity is a fact of linguistic life. The phenomenon is subject to syntactic constraints. Is the speaker asking someone to hail them a taxi or to be called a taxi? If a term can be ambiguous but in a way so subtle that people miss it, then the zeugma might not be noticeable. Second, ambiguity can have a deleterious effect on our ability to inspect the validity of arguments on account of possible equivocation. There are two possible interpretations of the subject. This can be frustrating if you are trying to figure out where I am going. We thus seem to have ambiguity that depends on certain structural features of the sentence.
This case may be far-fetched; but we have a real live cases of it. Obviously this definition does not say what meanings are or what it is for an expression to have one or more than one. Another unclear case for polysemy could be noticed in sentence C the word , which is a noun referring to a famous writer called Charles Dickens whereas in sentence D Dickens refers to a book which is written by Charles Dickens. Similar phenomena include dead metaphors and idioms. So, for example, it is suggested that a sentence like 'Oedipus loves his mother' has two 'readings', i.
However, in context, it can be pretty easy to make them pass some of the tests for ambiguity. Berlin cut his hand off. Concept, Image, and Symbol: The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. In the semantics literature, views on which modalities are treated indexically rather than as cases of ambiguity pretty much dominate all contemporary thinking, as we shall see in section 6. This is also known as semantic ambiguity. Interestingly, there are views regarding vague language that treat vagueness as at least akin to ambiguity.
Reprinted in Pragmatics: A Reader, Davis ed. In other words, a sentence is syntactically ambiguous when a reader or listener can reasonably interpret one sentence as having more than one possible structure. Structural ambiguity is a situation where one sentence has more than one meaning due to its sentence structure. Typically, data is written to optical media,. Ambiguity and Indexicality: Are They Easily Told Apart? References and further reading Atlas, J.
First, ambiguity makes vivid some of the differences between formal languages and natural languages and presents some barriers to using the former to represent the latter. Of particular importance are claims of scope ambiguity, which are commonly made but rarely defended. Those familiar with some of the issues in current syntactic theory can skip until the next section. In this, we can put sentences inside other sentences and these sentences can be generated inside another sentences. The word 'light', for example, can mean not very heavy or not very dark.