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Old discussion deleted.

Suggest 2 possible wiki links for Ambiguity.

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the Ambiguity article:

an ambiguous story is when the author leaves the ending to the readers to figure out.

  • Can link Spoken language: he was sitting on the [[couch]] when he ate the cookies. Spoken language can also contain lexical ambiguities, where there is more t...
  • Can link economic growth: ... will think he opposes taxes in general because they hinder economic growth; others will think he opposes only those taxes that he beli...

Notes: The article text has not been changed in any way; Some of these suggestions may be wrong, some may be right.
Feedback: I like it, I hate it, Please don't link toLinkBot 11:31, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Lojban/ Loglan reference

I added this passage, which I shifted in slightly edited form from the Imprecise language page to here, since these languages do not seek to avoid Vagueness; they merely avoid ambiguity. (At the imprecise language page, the suggestion was that they avoid vagueness.) For example, Loglan users presumably do not have in mind, when they apply their predicate "X is tall" to "John" (asserting of John that he is tall), that there is a certain exact number of inches which John's height is thereby said to exceed. So their word for "tall" is still vague, and hence imprecise, in this respect. Matt9090

Rationale for removal

Dreftymac added this in an HTML comment in the article, and I figured it'd be better here (I changed a little formatting):

The following was removed;;

Their unambiguity makes them better suited than natural languages for use in communication between humans and computers.

Highly debatable: 1) conclusion that conlang better suited than "natural languages" for this purpose; 2) whether there *is* such a thing as "communication between humans and computers" (as opposed to communication between humans who use computers and humans who program them); 3)whether the increased precision of conlangs is empirically superior by themselves (rather than superior because the people who use them just tend to be more precise than average anyway). 4) sounds a bit too much POV.

--Galaxiaad 17:16, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


In linguistics there are some famous examples like "The horse raced past the barn fell" and in speech segmentation "How to wreck a nice beach you sing calm incense". it might be nice to note these examples with the appropriate references. Josh Froelich 15:28, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Also, idiomatic or anaphoric ambiguity. I can't think of the right example, but something like "Dick, Bob and Jane went to the mall, but he left without her" where the pronoun "he" is ambiguous in whether it is Dick or Bob.Josh Froelich 15:30, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I am not convinced with the last example. According to my teacher, the pronoun always refers to the last noun it can apply. If Jane is girl, hence, "he" means Bob. dima 03:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

A good rule of thumb is that a pronoun corefers with the last noun that has the right characteristics, but this is a weak constraint and is easily violated. In the previous example "Dick, Bob and Jane went to the mall, but he left without her", (prosodically) emphasizing "he" makes "Dick" the preferred antecedent of "he". IdleBoy 16:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

More suggestions

Ambiguity in Mathematics is absent.. We need examples and reterences. dima 02:34, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Concur with the above. I've never heard of ambiguity in Math, either.--Orthologist 18:11, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I'm working on Patent ambiguity. I lost data while editing, poss. an edit conflict. Bearian 20:47, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Magmi (talk) 21:58, 15 September 2008 (UTC) Hopefully , We need a link to "Ambiguity" related to formal languages theory and automata . That will be good linking to other materials . Especially , the field of theoretical computer science .

Music, Video, Film, Poetry, Art, Philosophy

The following is something I wrote in reference to the ambiguous nature of a certain music video. Later I realized with potent effect that the statement rings true for ambiguity in all of the above. I poetically described ambiguity as differing "personal interpretations begetting the divine spark that ignites debate." ---Eaglekrafts08 09:02, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

In nuce

In a nutshell, ambiguity is the use of one word to designate more than one concept. This article fails to communicate clearly this basic truth. A reader who is looking for information about ambiguity is provided with many unessential, even misleading, definitions and examples.Lestrade (talk) 21:02, 3 August 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

The sentence "He hit the man with the gun" is ambiguous, but one can hardly maintain that in this example the ambiguity is the use of one word to designate more than one concept. Thus your nutshell packs something that is less than true. I see nothing wrong with the definition in the lede: a word, term, notation, sign, symbol, phrase, sentence, or any other form used for communication, is called ambiguous if it can be interpreted in more than one way. Can you give an example that is not ambiguous but satisfies this definition, or that is ambiguous but fails to satisfy it?  --Lambiam 17:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

You're right. My definition was limited to the ambiguity of a word. It didn't take into consideration that a sentence could be ambiguous. I said that ambiguity is the use of one word to designate more than one concept. Your example shows that one group of words (one sentence) can ambiguously designate more than one concept. Concept 1 is "using a gun to hit a man." Concept 2 is "hitting a man who is holding a gun."Lestrade (talk) 00:56, 12 August 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


Ambiguity is not a property of being ambiguous, just as meaning is not a property of something being communicated to you. Ambiguity means that there are at least two ways to interpret what you hear - and you cannot decide on how to understand something that sounds to have multiple meanings to you. You may come to that conclusion, because you segment what you hear in a different way, or because your scope of knowledge covers more than just one sense. It may also be that the form you find ambiguous is meant to be ambiguous in the sense that we expect something in one usual form but we read something slightly distorted on purpose to communicate both ideas as a kind of blending. Multiple meaning may be attributed not just to one word, but longer clusters and passages, subject to your capacity to keep a chunk of verbal input in your working memory. Besides, you also deal with other sensory input, body talk, etc. and the total impression may also be confusing as you cannot decide on which signs to interpret in a congruent and sensible way and which ones to ignore. So ambiguity needs to be got rid of, and calls for more contextualization. Just as disambiguation like here in Wikipedia is the same as decontextualization, a rather stupid exercise. (talk) 14:44, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Eva Mendez' Sex Tape

would be a good example (tape=video OR tape=glued strip). -- (talk) 21:07, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

do with

This phrasal verb does indeed have several meanings, but when accompanied by the modal verb 'could', it has only one meaning: 'need'. (Pamour (talk) 15:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)).