English Ambiguity Essay

1295 Words 6 Pages
On different types of English ambiguity
摘要:Linguistic is the scientific study of language, which studies not just one language of any one community, but the language of all human beings. English ambiguity exists in our life and may directly lead to the wrong understanding and communication when it occurs. We classify categories of them based on the different parts.
In English, we usually confront with ambiguous sentence, that is to say we can understand in two ways or more ways. We make a brief analysis from phonetic, syntactic and semantic ambiguity.
一. Phonetic ambiguity
Generally speaking, phonetic ambiguity only happens in spoken language and communication, usually bringing about through homophony, stress, intonation and pause.
1. Homophony
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The rising tone at the end of an utterance is often used for asking yes-no questions and showing politeness or surprise, whereas the falling tone sometimes leads to rudeness and abruptness. A difference in tone changes the meaning of a group of words, phrases and sentence. The tone is used in the following example: if we read this sentence in a rising tone, this sentence means that I can’t hear, please tell again. Although in a falling tone, we will understand I am sorry and please forgive me.
二. Syntactic ambiguity
Syntactic ambiguity is a situation where a sentence may be interpreted in more than one way due to ambiguous sentence structure. Syntactic ambiguity arises not from the range of meaning of single words but from the relationship between the words and clauses of a sentence, and the sentence structure underlying the word order there in. in other words, a sentence has syntactic ambiguity when a reader can reasonably interpret one sentence as having more than one possible structure.
1. Adverbial
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Therefore, in some sentence, multiple adverbials will increase the difficulty of understanding.
2. Attributive ambiguity
In English, there are several modifiers in a noun center, providing several attribute. Sometimes, the relationship between attribute and modifiers are complex and this situation involves the problem of attribution scope, becoming the cause of ambiguity.
3. Negative ambiguity
The uncertainty of the scope of the negation can cause ambiguity of the negatives. Some negative words in the sentence are completely negative or partially negative.
4. Compare structure ambiguity
For example:we know the boy better than you. This sentence we can understand is that we know the boy better than you do (you know the boy), and we can also know that we know the boy better than we know you.
三. Semantic ambiguity Semantic is the study of the communication of meaning through language. Semantics studies the meaning that can be expressed. Semantic ambiguity may be defined that people have a different understanding of a word in a sentence. There are many factors which cause semantic ambiguity.
1. Polysemy
The term is often used to refer to a word representing various meanings.
a. She did not take his

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