Structural ambiguity, also known as syntactic ambiguity, is a type of linguistic ambiguity that occurs when a sentence or phrase can be interpreted in more than one way due to its syntax, or the way the words are arranged in a sentence. This type of ambiguity can arise when a sentence contains words or phrases that can be interpreted in multiple ways, or when a sentence has more than one possible structure.
For example, consider the following sentence: "The old man the boat." This sentence is structurally ambiguous because it can be interpreted in two different ways. The first interpretation is that the old man owns the boat, while the second interpretation is that the old man is located in the boat. The presence of the word "the" before both "old man" and "boat" makes it difficult to determine which interpretation is correct.
Structural ambiguity can also occur when a sentence contains words or phrases that can be interpreted in multiple ways. For example, the word "bank" can refer to a financial institution or to the edge of a river. In the sentence "I deposited my money in the bank," the word "bank" could refer to either a financial institution or the edge of a river, depending on the context in which it is used.
Structural ambiguity can be a source of confusion and can lead to misunderstandings in communication. However, it can also be used as a literary device to add depth and complexity to written or spoken language. For example, poets and writers may use structural ambiguity to create multiple layers of meaning in their work, or to encourage readers or listeners to think critically about the words and phrases they use.
Overall, structural ambiguity is a common occurrence in language and can have a significant impact on the way we interpret and understand communication. By understanding the concept of structural ambiguity, we can better navigate the complexities of language and improve our communication skills.
What is structural ambiguity in linguistics?
The purported availability of both readings suggests that sentences with negation s and descriptions are sense-general rather than ambiguous, contradicting many standard assumptions about the available truth conditions these structures should make available. A word or sentence is ambiguous when it has more than one sense. In many cases our best theory predicts an ambiguity in the sentence used, without predicting confusion over how the utterance ought to be interpreted. If multiple interpretations are impossible, there is evidence of ambiguity. A syntactic ambiguity is one type of ambiguity. The phenomenon is subject to syntactic constraints. An example of the second may be found in the infamous case of Smith vs.
Difference Between Lexical and Structural Ambiguity
Introduction Introduces the facts for sentence structure and reveals its function, is based on a problem solving move towards language. Its meaning is clear. A word, phrase, or a sentence becomes ambiguous if it can be interpreted with more than one meaning. There are numerous meanings to English words, and determining what one is intended to convey can be difficult. Both of my reading and writing method I have discovered for myself throughout my school years has helped me learn better and just in generally better myself academic wise.
First, a bookkeeping issue: should we relegate lexical ambiguity to the lexicon two non-identical entries for ambiguous terms or to semantic interpretation one lexical entry, two or more meanings? Sometimes, people use these terms with intent; other times, they do not even know that they used one. Lexical Ambiguity Lexical ambiguity according to Hurford and Heasley 128 is any ambiguity resulting from the ambiguity of a word. For example, the law divides between patent and latent ambiguity, where the former roughly corresponds to a case where the meaning of a law is unclear, the latter to cases where the meaning is clear but applies equally well to highly disparate things. There is no guarantee that unambiguous utterances will result in full univocal clear understanding either. The Stoics on Ambiguity.
Again, a phrase is like a box of words within the sentence, which can be picked up and carried somewhere else. These tests generally depend on the presence or lack of interpretations and on judgments regarding the ridiculousness of interpretation the absurdity of the meaning is known as zeugma— though it should probably be known as syllepsis. The colours and the feathers are light. I skidded on ice and hit the same car. But ambiguity of a sentence or sentences uttered does not necessarily result in any unclarity regarding what was expressed or meant by the speaker.
One more terminological note: in the cognitive linguistics literature e. Your doctor may tell you that you have healthy urine on account of it being a positive indication of your health. This provides a unified treatment of the function of anaphora in natural language and dispenses with the need to think of anaphoric interpretation as ambiguous as opposed to merely context-sensitive. Kratzer 1983 treats modals as univocal but indexical: they get their differing interpretations by taking in different input sets of worlds and orderings induced on the relevant sets. Personally I believe it is just a story about a mentally unstable woman for reasons such as : trauma for having her husband lost and presumably dead, trauma for the war and several other descriptions in the text.
This suggests that the issue is more like a problem than a nuisance or a trivial choice and actually has serious ramifications for how to pursue truth conditional semantics. Syntactic Ambiguity: within a sentence or sequence of words This form of ambiguity is also called structural or grammatical ambiguity. Maria solved the problem too. An example of the first concerns regarding the regimentation of natural language in formal logic: arguments that may look good in virtue of their linguistic form in fact can go very wrong if the words or phrases involved are equivocal. This can also provide a sense of surprise or even uncertainty. When a sentence has more than one meaning due to its structure, this is referred to as structural ambiguity.
Ockham, for example, was willing to countenance ambiguities in mental sentences of a language of thought but not mental terms in that language see Spade p. . On the operator treatment, we dispose of quantification over worlds and let the predicates be interpreted relative to the operators, perhaps as a matter of movement, perhaps by other semantic means. It is not because they do not hear it or something. However, it is worth noting that other treatments abound. See Davidson 1967, Gillon 1990, and Saka 2007 Ch.
If this assumption turns out to be false, then it will be a great deal more difficult to locate the source of some ambiguities. Telling between these two possibilities is difficult. Similar considerations hold for verb phrases. This may just go to show how hard it is to dis prove a claim to ambiguity using the tests. It is the largest Indonesian daily newspaper in Central Java, Indonesia which is made in Semarang, Central Java. However, the impossibility of these readings demonstrates constraints on interpretation. Authors, poets, lyricists and the like, on the other hand, have often found ambiguity to be an extremely powerful tool.
Given below are some examples of structural ambiguity. Others, however, have been content to posit ambiguities in type for one and the same expression. This suggests a real ambiguity in the scope of the two quantifiers. Distinguishing ambiguity from these related phenomenon can be a difficult and tendentious and sometimes tedious! One might think that this provides evidence against ambiguity in bare plurals. I mention this merely to disambiguate what this entry is about, which concerns a word or phrase enjoying multiple meanings.