Sources of Ambiguity in Language

Obrazek miniatury
Kadłub, Magdalena
Tytuł czasopisma
Tytuł tomu
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego
The English language can lead to many ambiguous utterances. A mere word or a phrase may, in its relationship to other words or phrases, force a reader or listener to attempt to construe its meaning in more than one way. It is frequent that a sentence on its own can be vague, but it can become disambiguated within a certain frame of reference. The focus of this paper are sentences or phrases which are difficult to understand because of incorrect or imprecise possessive determiners. Such sentences are often the source of voluntary or involuntary humour. As long as the humour is intended, the ambiguity is acceptable and even encouraged. On the other hand, when the main purpose is to convey information the point of the sentence should be as straightforward as possible. Bearing this in mind, I will attempt to resolve the problem by finding as many interpretations as possible and correcting the sentences, so that it leaves the reader with only one clear meaning.
Słowa kluczowe
syntax , syntactic ambiguity , possessive determiner ambiguity , disambiguation , humour
Studia Anglica Resoviensia T. 14 (2017), s. 44–57