Essay On Ambiguity

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Introduction Ambiguity, as is defined in the Webster‟s Third International Dictionary(许素波,Types of Ambiguity in English,1999-04), is “the condition of admitting of two or more meanings, of being understood in more than one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time.” In other words, ambiguity is the presence of two or more possible meanings in a single passage. In speech and writing, there are two basic types of ambiguity: lexical ambiguity and syntactic ambiguity. Lexical ambiguity means the presence of two or more possible meanings within a single word; Syntactic ambiguity means the presence of two or more possible meanings within a single sentence or sequence of words. From the website of Wikipedia, we also can know that…show more content…
However, it would normally be clear in a given context which of the two homonyms, 'port1' ('harbor') or 'port2' ('kind of fortified wine'), is being used--and also which sense of the polysemous verb 'pass' is intended." Characteristics of Lexical Ambiguity "The following example, taken from Johnson-Laird (1983), illustrates two important characteristics of lexical ambiguity: The plane banked just before landing, but then the pilot lost control. The strip on the field runs for only the barest of yards and the plane just twisted out of the turn before shooting into the ground. First, that this passage is not particularly difficult to understand in spite of the fact that all of its content words are ambiguous suggests that ambiguity is unlikely to invoke special resource-demanding processing mechanisms but rather is handled as a by-product of normal comprehension. Second, there are a number of ways in which a word can be ambiguous. The word plane, for example, has several noun meanings, and it can also be used as a verb. The word twisted could be an adjective and is also morphologically ambiguous between the past tense and participial forms of the verb to twist." Lexical Ambiguity and the Processing of
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