Essay by reneetriciamulchanJunior High, 8th gradeF, March 2006

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Assignment: State and Illustrate Levels at which Ambiguity is Possible in Discourse.

In every human language, there are individual expressions used that may have two or more distinct meanings. Thus, a word, phrase or sentence is ambiguous if it has more than, one meaning. Ambiguity, occurs when meaning of a word phrase or sentence can have two possible interpretations and the reader cannot determine from the sentence which is correct. A distinctive feature, of ambiguity is that one sound makes another sound significant. However meaning can vary in a word but can change overtime, ambiguity arises in syntax, not because of a cluster in a sentence but because of what arises in deep structure and surface structure.

Ambiguity can occur on four levels:

1. Words (lexical ambiguity)

2. Sentences (structural ambiguity)

3. Ideas (ambiguity of scope)

4. Context (pragmatic ambiguity)

There are two types of ambiguity: Lexical and Structural.

Lexical ambiguity is by far the more common.

The word 'light' for example can mean not very dark. Words like 'light' 'note' 'bear' and over are lexically ambiguous. They induce ambiguity in phrases and in sentences in which they occur, such as 'light suit' and 'the woman can't bear children'. However, phrases and sentences can be ambiguous even if none of their constituent is. The phrase 'porcelain egg container', is structurally ambiguous. Ambiguity, can have both a lexical and structural basis for example; 'I left her behind for you' and 'he saw her duck'. Lexical ambiguity, occurs because words have multiple meanings. Some common examples of lexical ambiguity are nouns like 'chip', 'pen' and 'suit', verbs like 'call', 'draw' and 'run' and adjectives like 'deep', 'dry' and 'hard'. Further examples in depth of lexical ambiguity are:

1. 'He picked a date'

Date used in this context could have a number of...