Conscious Elimination Of Ambiguity In Inadequate Context English Language Essay

The cardinal significance for human being to mean and have accurate information explains the indispensableness of riddance of ambiguity in deficient context in specific linguistic communication. Ambiguity here is confined to lexical 1s, viz. those caused severally by lexical ambiguity, a word with multiple significances ; homonymy, two separate lexemes that portion the same signifiers or sounds every bit good as in grammatical construction. Equally far as lexicology is concerned, ambiguity by and large arises in the unwritten or written signifier due to the absence of specific context. This paper therefore is devoted to analyze the substantial importance of extinguishing omnipresent ambiguity to accomplish effectivity in verbal or written communicating between the addresser and addressee under specific background.

Keyword: ambiguity, riddance, unequal context, lexical ambiguity, homonymy, consciousness, effectual communicating

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Universally believed by the linguistics, linguistic communication is termed as “ a system of arbitrary, vocal symbols used for human communicating ” ( Wardhaugh 1972 ) . The effectivity of human communicating, nevertheless, more frequently than non, can non be arrived at. Ambiguity of the unequal context deemed as the chief barrier in communicating. Although the effectivity of vocalization and composing assume great weight in human communicating, misunderstandings of the addresser and addressee emerge. William Empson indicates “ Ambiguity is the enemy we have to watch ” ( qtd.Zhang ) .Suppose one is consciously placed in the specific context and the two parties are both cognizant of the context. Equally long as the insufficient context is removed, ambiguity thereupon is eliminated. The function of context therefore is embodied.


2.1 The definition of ambiguity

“ Ambiguity is that of information, in words, images, or other media, is the ability to show more than one reading ” ( Wilkinson 2006 ) .Still, termed in Oxford Dictionary of Literary Footings, “ ambiguity is the openness to different readings, or an case in which some usage of linguistic communication possibly understood in diverse ways, sometimes known as ‘plurisignation ‘ or ‘multiple intending ‘ ” ( 398 ) . And the Dutch lingual Kooij defines ambiguity as the feature of a sentence ; that is, a sentence has more than more significance, but the sentence itself does non supply sufficient information to determine its significance.

2.2 The types of context

The relevant restraints of the communicative state of affairs that influence linguistic communication usage, linguistic communication fluctuation, and discourse sum-up. “ Context refers to the environment within a text or the environment beyond ( outside ) a text, which includes lingual context, cultural context, situational context and matter-of-fact context ” . ( Lu 399-400 ) . Still, “ Context is used in different sense. Narrowly speech production, it refers to the words, clauses, sentences in which a word appears, known as lingual context. Broadly talking, context includes the physic cal state of affairs where a word is employed, called non-linguistic context, covering the participants, clip, topographic point, and even the whole cultural background ” ( Zhang 2011 169 ) . The latter one explains what is covered in this paper.


3.1 Polysemy

3.1.1 The scrutiny of lexical ambiguity

“ A instance of lexical ambiguity is that of one same word has more than one significance ” ( Huzhuanglin 2004 135 ) .

3.1.2 Examples of ambiguity in lexical ambiguity

“ He is a difficult man of affairs. Hard in this context can intend both ‘hardworking ‘ and ‘difficult ‘ ” ( Zhang 2011 174 ) . For one thing, the sentence can intend ‘he is a man of affairs who works really difficult ‘ . For another, ‘He is a difficult man of affairs to acquire along with ‘ may besides be read.

“ She ca n’t bear kids ” ( Zhangyi The ambiguity in English linguistic communication ) . The word bear in this sentence can both intend ‘to base ‘ and ‘to be able to bring forth ‘ .

It is by no agencies hard to happen that here in stray context readers can barely separate what specifically the author signifies. The author is unconscious about the ambiguity of the sentence and cause great incommodiousness for the readers, hence doing a failure in communicating. The consciousness of accurate description topographic points an of import function in the addresser ‘s duty for witting look. See if the sentence is located in a duologue, can it be equivocal?

3.2 Homonymy

3.2.1 The account of homonymy

“ A instance of homonymy is that of words of different significances portion the same signifier or sound ” ( Hu 2004 135 ) .

3.2.2 Examples of ambiguity in homonymy

Here the Red Queen began once more “ Can you answer utile inquiries? ” she said. “ How is bread made? ”

“ I know that! ” Alice cried thirstily. “ You take some four- ”

“ Where do you pick the flower? ” the White Queen asked, “ in a garden, or in the hedges? ”

“ Well, it is picked at all, ” Alice explained, “ it ‘s land — – ”

“ How many estates of land? ” said the White Queen. aˆ¦ ( Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass page? )

The words flour and flower portion the same pronunciation but differ in significance, with the former significance ‘a white or brown power that is made by crunching smile ‘ and the latter ‘the portion of a works frequently is brilliantly colored and grows at the terminal of a root and merely last a short clip ‘ .

“ Please give me a camel ” ( Zhangyi The ambiguity in English linguistic communication ) .In this, camel can intend ‘a alone animate being able to last in desert ‘ and besides intend ‘a sort of coffin nail named after the animate being ‘ .

These illustrations listed above are some of the omnipresent state of affairss. Once the author puts these equivocal sentences in a scattered and stray context, the readers are doomed to be unable to construe the designed significances.


4.1 A representative illustration in syntactic ambiguity

Grammatical construction can besides do ambiguity to emerge if the sentence is unrestricted and used entirely in an stray context.

“ Syntactic construction arises when a phrase can be parsed in merely one manner. Such phrases are assigned different readings because different grammatical constructions can be assigned to the same twine of words ” ( Kroeger Paul page? ) .See this sentence “ He ate the cookies on the sofa ” . ( ) .Here on the couch generates ambiguity. This sentence can on the one manus mean ‘He Ate the cookies that are placed on the sofa, non on the tabular array or other topographic points ‘ and on the other manus it can besides intend ‘He Saturday on the sofa and he ate the cookies ‘ . This sentence is a typical communicating barrier in the sense of grammatical use in the context.


In order to extinguish the barrier and accomplish effectivity in human communicating, here some suggestions to assist extinguish ambiguity and facilitate communicating are provided. It is executable to turn up the ways in the footings of the causes of ambiguity. First, it is necessary for the addresser to consciously restrict and confine words in a specific context, and construe the stuff by manner of facial looks, gestures, verbal hints in duologues and cultural background. Once the specific significance is conveyed, the stuff can be hence easy interpreted. Following, linguistic communication is linguistic communication. Any human linguistic communication itself can be divided into written and verbal signifier. For the written stuff, it is advisable to do the elements of a sentence such as words, phrases, participials and clauses a hint to separate the significance ; sometimes the punctuations can besides assist. As to the verbal stuffs, paying attending to the pronunciation and modulation, tone is of great importance. If the witting pronunciation is articulated, how can ambiguity emerge?

6. Decision

As discussed above, ambiguity is a alone and inevitable linguistic communication phenomenon, which exists in any of the human linguistic communication, and the ubiquitousness of ambiguity survives every bit long as linguistic communication exists. Meanwhile, equivocal looks are misinterpreted in reading, listening, most significantly, communicating. The substantial significance of the survey on the riddance therefore poses a possible lingual challenge for the participants involved in human linguistic communication. As a consequence, the substantial function of context has perfectly make sense. In existent communicating one is encouraged and expected to pay witting attending to the stuffs between the participants. Equally long as the insufficient context is removed with the joint attempts of the participants, ambiguity thereupon is of course eliminated.


a‘?Kroeger Paul ( 2005 ) . Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pp.26-27. ISBN 978-0-521-01653-7

a‘µ Wardhaugh Ronald ( 1972 ) The Study of Language subdivision one of Language and Learning to Read: What Teachers Should Know about Language. University Press of America.Inc.4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706

aԦ Kooij: ( 1977 ) . The Ambiguity in Natural Language

a‘· Lewis Carrroll: Alice ‘s Adventures in Wonderland, Tthrough the Looking-Glass

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