Meaning Of Syntactic Ambiguity
Ambiguity, as is defines in the Webster’s Third International Dictionary, is”the condition of admitting of two or more meanings, of being understood in more than one way, or of referring to two of more things at the same time.” In ordinary books on linguistics, the term is generally defined roughly as a linguistic phenomenon that a word, phrase or clause can have more than one possible interpretation. It is thus an attribute of any idea or statement whose intended meaning cannot be definitively resolved according to a rule or process with a finite number of steps. In ambiguity, specific and distinct interpretations are permitted (although some may not be immediately obvious), whereas with information that is vague, …show more content…
Syntactic ambiguity arises not from the range of meanings of single words, but from the relationship between the words and clauses of a sentence, and the sentence structure underlying the word order therein. In other words, a sentence is syntactically ambiguous when a reader or listener can reasonably interpret one sentence as having more than one possible structure.
The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose. — Henry VI (1.4.30), by Shakespeare
Amphiboly occurs frequently in poetry, sometimes owing to the alteration of the natural order of words for metrical reasons. The sentence could be taken to mean that Henry will depose the duke, or that the duke will depose Henry.
Eduardum occidere nolite timere bonum est. — Edward II by Marlowe
According to legend, Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March famously plotted to murder Edward II of England in such a way as not to draw blame on themselves, sending a famous order in Latin which, depending on where the comma was inserted, could mean either
"Do not be afraid to kill Edward; it is good" or "Do not kill Edward; it is good to …show more content…
A good life depends on a liver – Liver may be an organ or simply a living person.
Foreigners are hunting dogs – It is unclear whether dogs were being hunted or foreigners are being spoken of as dogs.
Each of us saw her duck – It is not clear whether the word “duck” refers to an action of ducking or a duck that is a bird.
The passerby helps dog bite victim – Is the passerby helping a dog bite someone? Or is he helping a person bitten by a dog? It’s not clear.
Ambiguity shows that there is no one-to-one relation between sounds and meanings, and that one cannot always determine the precise meanings from the sound along. This is further evidence that the sound--meaning relationship in language is arbitrary, and that one must learn how to relate sounds and meanings when learning the