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Problem of meaning ambiguity in a language

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Functional Re-evaluation of Grammatical Forms in Context. Problem of intending ambiguity in a linguistic communication


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1. The significance of ambiguity

2. Lexical ambiguity

3. Structural ambiguity

4. Semantic ambiguity

5. Re-evaluation of Verb. Aspect significance

6. Meaning of class of Voice

7. Class of Tense

8. The most controversial class – Mood

9. Synonymy in Grammar



“ Understanding a sentence is much more kindred to understanding a subject in music than one may think. ”

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

What does ambiguity make? How is poetic indefiniteness constitutive of propositional content? Do rhetorical and poetic figure of speechs organize communicative Acts of the Apostless in order to do them more apprehensible? Or do they instead dis-organize them in order to do them more apprehensible? What, so, is “ understanding ” ? Does “ the call of the phoneme ” ( Culler 1988 ) clarify and crystallise semantic mention? Distract us from the lucidity of semantic mention? Simply deflect us? The possible attractive force and distraction of ambiguity is ever-present in discourse.

Language is an organiser of the universe into meaningful units and gives signifier to see.

However, this forming function of linguistic communication is, by a figure of histories, the root cause of both the possibility of significance and the inevitableness of ambiguity. Because linguistic communications are necessarily smaller than the universes of experience they describe, words have get more than one significance.

The job of possible lexical ambiguity in grammar is one of the most of import, the one which is really complex and seems to be relevant to a figure of facets. Observations in this country have proved the efficiency of contextual, distributional and transformational methods of lingual analysis. We distinguish here the mutuality of word-forms within the syntactic construction, the mutuality of elements within the word-forms and the influence of other degrees of the same linguistic communication.

1. The significance of ambiguity

A word, phrase, or sentence is equivocal if it has more than one significance. The word ‘light ‘ , for illustration, can intend non really heavy or non really dark. Wordss like ‘light’ , ‘note’ , ‘bear’ and ‘over’ are lexically equivocal. They induce ambiguity in phrases or sentences in which they occur, such as ‘light suit ‘and ‘The duchess ca n’t bear kids ‘. However, phrases and sentences can be equivocal even if none of their components is. The phrase ‘porcelain egg container ‘is structurally equivocal, as is the sentence ‘The constabulary shot the rioters with guns ‘ . Ambiguity can hold both a lexical and a structural footing, as with sentences like ‘I left her buttocks for you ‘and ‘He saw her duck ‘.

The impression of ambiguity has philosophical applications. For illustration, placing an ambiguity can help in work outing a philosophical job. Suppose one wonders how two people can hold the same thought, say of a unicorn. This can look perplexing until one distinguishes ‘idea ‘ in the sense of a peculiar psychological happening, a mental representation, from ‘idea ‘ in the sense of an abstract, shareable construct. On the other manus, gratuitous claims of ambiguity can do for excessively simple solutions. Consequently, the inquiry arises of how echt ambiguities can be distinguished from specious 1s. Part of the reply consists in placing phenomena with which ambiguity may be confused, such as vagueness, unclarity, inexplicitness and indexicality.

Although people are sometimes said to be equivocal in how they use linguistic communication, ambiguity is, purely talking, a belongings of lingual looks. A word, phrase, or sentence is equivocal if it has more than one significance. Obviously this definition does non state what significances are or what it is for an look to hold one ( or more than one ) . For a peculiar linguistic communication, this information is provided by a grammar, which consistently pairs signifiers with significances, equivocal signifiers with more than one significance

2. Lexical ambiguity

Lexical ambiguity is more common. Everyday illustrations include nouns like ‘chip’ , ‘pen ‘and ‘suit’ , verbs like ‘call’ , ‘draw’ and ‘run’ , and adjectives like ‘deep’ , ‘dry’ and ‘hard’ . There are assorted trials for ambiguity. One trial is holding two unrelated opposite word, as with ‘hard ‘, which has both ‘sofT ‘ and ‘easy’ as antonyms. Another is the concurrence decrease trial. See the sentence, ‘The seamster pressed one suit in his store and one in the municipal tribunal’ . Evidence that the word ‘suiT ‘ ( non to advert ‘press’ ) is equivocal is provided by the anomalousness of the ‘crossed reading ‘of the sentence, on which ‘suit ‘is used to mention to an article of vesture and ‘one’ to a legal action.

The above illustrations of ambiguity are each a instance of one word with more than one significance. However, it is non ever clear when we have merely one word. The verb ‘desert’ and the noun ‘dessert ‘, which sound the same but are spelled otherwise, count as distinguishable words ( they are homonyms ) . So do the noun ‘bear’ and the verb ‘bear’ , even though they non merely sound the same but are spelled the same? These illustrations may be clear instances of homonymy, but what about the noun ‘respect ‘ and the verb ‘respect’ or the preposition ‘over ‘and the adjectival ‘over ‘? Are the members of these braces homonyms or different signifiers of the same word? There is no general consensus on how to pull the line between instances of one equivocal word and instances of two homonymic words. Possibly the difference is finally arbitrary.

Sometimes one significance of a word is derived from another. For illustration, the cognitive sense of ‘see ‘ seems derived from its ocular sense. The sense of ‘weigh’ in ‘He weighed the bundle ‘is derived from its sense in ‘The bundle weighed two lbs ‘. Similarly, the transitive senses of ‘burn ‘ , ‘fly ‘and ‘walk ‘are derived from their intransitive senses. Now it could be argued that in each of these instances the derived sense does non truly measure up as a 2nd significance of the word but is really the consequence of a lexical operation on the underived sense. This statement is plausible to the extent that the phenomenon is systematic and general, instead than peculiar to peculiar words. Lexical semantics has the undertaking of placing and qualifying such systematic phemena. It is besides concerned to explicate the rich and elusive semantic behaviour of common and extremely flexible words like the verbs ‘do ‘and ‘put ‘and the prepositions ‘at’ , ‘in ‘and ‘to ‘. Each of these words has utilizations which are so legion yet so closely related that they are frequently described as ‘polysemous ‘ instead than equivocal.

3. Structural ambiguity

Structural ambiguity occurs when a phrase or sentence has more than one implicit in construction, such as the phrases ‘Tibetan history instructor ‘, ‘a pupil of high moral rules ‘and ‘short work forces and adult females ‘, and the sentences ‘The miss hit the male child with a book ‘and ‘Visiting relations can be tiring ‘. These ambiguities are said to be structural because each such phrase can be represented in two structurally different ways, e.g. , ‘ [ Tibetan history ] instructor ‘and ‘Tibetan [ history instructor] ‘ . Indeed, the being of such ambiguities provides strong grounds for a degree of implicit in syntactic construction. See the structurally equivocal sentence, ‘The poulet is ready to eat ‘, which could be used to depict either a hungry poulet or a grilled poulet. It is arguable that the operative reading depends on whether or non the inexplicit topic of the infinitive clause ‘to eat ‘is tied anaphorically to the topic ( ‘the poulet ‘) of the chief clause.

It is non ever clear when we have a instance of structural ambiguity. See, for illustration, the egg-shaped sentence, ‘Perot knows a richer adult male than Trump ‘. It has two significances, that Perot knows a adult male who is richer than Trump and that Perot knows adult male who is richer than any adult male Trump knows, and is hence equivocal. But what about the sentence ‘John loves his female parent and so does Bill ‘? It can be used to state either that John loves John ‘s female parent and Bill loves Bill ‘s female parent or that John loves John ‘s female parent and Bill loves John ‘s female parent. But is it truly equivocal? One might reason that the clause ‘so does Bill ‘ is unambiguous and may be read unambiguously as stating in the context that Bill does the same thing that John does, and although there are two different possibilities for what counts as making the same thing, these options are non fixed semantically. Hence the ambiguity is simply evident and better described as semantic underdetermination.

Although ambiguity is basically a belongings of lingual looks, people are besides said to be equivocal on juncture in how they use linguistic communication. This can happen if, even when their words are unambiguous, their words do non do what they mean unambiguously determinable. Strictly talking, nevertheless, ambiguity is a semantic phenomenon, affecting lingual significance instead than talker significance ; ‘pragmatic ambiguity ‘ is an oxymoron. By and large when one uses equivocal words or sentences, one does non consciously entertain their unintended significances, although there is psycholinguistic grounds that when one hears equivocal context of vocalization words one momentarily entrees and so regulations out their irrelevant senses. When people use equivocal linguistic communication, by and large its ambiguity is non intended. Occasionally, nevertheless, ambiguity is calculated, as with an vocalization of ‘I ‘d wish to see more of you ‘ when intended to be taken in more than one manner in the really same.

4. Semantic ambiguity

Sentences whose semantic contents seem to differ in different contexts, in virtuousness of incorporating looks of such kinds as the followers ( there may be others ) :

• indexicals/demonstratives: [ tense ] , I, today, now, here, we, you, she, they, so, there, that, those

• relational footings: neighbour, fan, enemy, local, foreign

• perspectival footings: left, distant, up, behind, foreground, skyline, swoon, occluded, clear, vague

• gradable adjectives, both comparative and absolute: tall, old, fast, smart ; level, empty, pure, dry

• philosophically interesting footings: know, might, necessary, if, ought, free

• prepositions: in, on, to, at, for, with

• certain short verbs: put, acquire, travel, take

• genitive phrases, adjective phrases, noun-noun braces: John ’ s auto, John ’ s hometown, John ’ s foreman, John ’ s company ; fast auto, fast driver, fast tyres, fast clip ; kid maltreatment, drug maltreatment ; vitamin pill, hurting pill, diet pill, kiping pill

• inexplicit temporal, spacial, and quantifier sphere limitation

• weather and other environmental studies: ( It is ) raining, humid, midday, summer, noisy, eerie

• apparently unary looks ( when used without complements ) that denote binary dealingss: ready, late, finish, strong plenty

• “ predicates of personal gustatory sensation ” : merriment, drilling, tasty, cute, sexy, gross, cool

• assorted: and, or, cut, ( is ) viridity

The jobs with these content misinterpretations are as follow:

1.Contextualist cliche: Many sentences, even with all their components being used literally and even factoring out ambiguity, can be used to intend different things in different contexts. ( This doesn ’ t entail that there ’ s anything context-sensitive in or about the sentence itself. )

2. Anti-compositionalism: Many ( declaratory ) sentences semantically express propositions that are non wholly determined by the semantic contents of their components and their syntactic construction.

3. Unarticulated Constituentism: Many sentences semantically express propositions some of whose components are non the semantic contents of any of the sentence ’ s components.

4. Anti-propositionalism: Many sentences do non semantically express propositions, even in contexts ( because of lexical underspecificity, phrasal underdetermination, or propositional rawness ) .

5. Psychological Anti-semanticism: The compositionally determined semantic content of a sentence, whether or non to the full propositional, plays no function in the psychological procedures involved in communicating ( on either the talker ’ s or the listener ’ s side ) .

6. Outright Anti-semanticism: Many sentences do non hold ( compositionally determined ) semantic contents at all.

7. Utterance “ Contextualism ” : The semantic content of about any given sentence, whether or non it is to the full propositional, falls short of the “ intuitive content ” of a likely vocalization of the sentence because its semantic content is excessively unelaborated, abstract, or otherwise nonspecific to be what the talker means.

Three signifiers of semantic contents ( each can be stronger or weaker as to run of application and function of context, and possibly different versions apply to different categories of looks ) :

1. Indexical Contextualism: The semantic contents of many sentences vary because they contain “ non-obvious ” indexical looks whose contents are determined by context.

2. Variable Contextualism: The semantic contents of many sentences vary because they contain looks that have variables associated with them whose values are determined by context.

3. Modulational Contextualism: The semantic contents of many sentences vary because they contain looks whose senses ( and/or phrases whose manners of composing ) are “ modulated ” by context.

5. Re-evaluation of Verb. Aspect significance

Functional re-evaluation of grammatical signifiers is a beginning of changeless lingual involvement. We may state that whatever may be the other jobs of grammar larning the polysemous character of grammatical signifiers is ever primary in importance.

Most grammatical signifiers are polysemous. On this degree of lingual analysis differentiation should be made between synchronous and possible lexical ambiguity.

The aspective significance of the verb reflects the manner of the realisation of the procedure. The resistance of the uninterrupted signifiers of the verb to the non-continuous represents the aspective class of development. In symbolic notation it is represented by the expression be… ing. The primary denotive significance of the Present Continuous is characterised by three semantic elements: a ) present clip, B ) something progressive, degree Celsius ) contact with the minute of address. The three significances make up its synchronous lexical ambiguity.

By possible lexical ambiguity we mean the ability of a grammatical signifier to hold different connotative significances in assorted contexts of its utilizations. Examine for illustration the connotative ( syntagmatic ) significances of the Present Continuous signalled by the context in the undermentioned sentences:

Brian said to his cousin:“ I ‘m subscribing on every bit good in a manner,merely for life.I ‘m acquiring married. ”Both stopped walking. Bert took his arm and stared:“ You ‘re non. ”

I am.To Pauline( Sillitoe ) — future clip mention. “ It was a nuptials in the state. The best adult male makes a address.He is beaming all over his face,and he calls for attending…( Gordon ) — past clip mention ; … “ I ‘m regretful ”,he said, his dentition together,“ You ‘re non traveling in there ”.( Gordon ) — the Present Continuous with the deduction of imperative mode ;

“Iam ever thought of him ” , said she.( Maugham ) — perennial actions ;She is evergrouchingabout trifles —the qualitative Present, the lasting feature of the topic.

Four combinations of the uninterrupted and the indefinite are possible in rule in Modern English. E.g. : While I was typing, Mary and Tom were chew the fating in the adjoining room. While I typing, Tom and Mary were chew the fating in the adjoining room. While I was typing, they chatted in… While I typed, they chatted.

Clearly, the difference in intending can non lie in their clip indications. The clip is shown by their clip signals ( were – erectile dysfunction ) . The meaningful difference consists in the followers: the uninterrupted shows the action in the really procedure of its realisation ; the indefinite points it out as a mere fact. We speak of the morphological class of the verb, but attention should be taken that the character of the development of the action may besides be expressed lexically or stay inexplicit. E.g. : When I entered the room he was composinga missive. He wrote and wrote the missive ( lexically ) . When I entered the room, he wrote a missive.

In the last sentence the signifier of the verb does n’t show the Continuous facet explicitly because the talker is n’t interested in the action, but in the object of the action. The Continuous refers a to a definite time-point. The class of development undergoes explicit assorted decreases:

1. The unlimitive verbs are really easy neutralized Ex. The dark is wondrous soundless. The stars shine with a ferocious luster, the Southern Cross and air current. The Duke ‘s face seemed blushed, and more lined than some of his recent exposure showed. He held a glass in his manus.

2. Angstroms to the statal verbs, their neutralisation sums to a grammatical regulation. They are so called “ never-used-in-the-Continuous ” verbs: a ) the alone “ to be ” and “ to hold ” ; B ) verbs of ownership, verbs of relation, of physical perceptual experience, of mental perceptual experience

3. Worthy of note is the regular neutralisation with the introductory verb back uping the participial building of parallel action. Ex. He stood smoking a pipe.Not usually: He was standing smoke.

4.On the other manus, the Continuous can be used to denote accustomed, perennial actions. Continuous verb signifiers are more expressive than non-continuous – they are used in emotional address. Ex. : He is ever kicking.

5.Particular note should be of the widening usage of the Continuous with unlimitive verbs. Here are some typical illustrations. Ex. I heard a rumour that a certain member here present has been seeing the captive this afternoon( E.M. Forster ) . I had a horrid feeling she was seeing right through me and cognizing all about me. What matters is, you ‘re being darn saps( A.Hailey )

6. Compare similar heterotaxies in the looks of awaited hereafter. E.g. : Dr. Aarons will be seeing the patient this forenoon( A.Hailey ) . Soon we shall be hearing the intelligence about the moorage of the starships holding gone through.

Since the neutralisation of the Continuous with these verbs is rather regular, we have an emphasized decrease functioning the intent of address expressiveness.

How cryptic adult females were! One lived alongside and knew nil of them.What could she hold seen in that fellow Bosinney to direct her mad?For there was lunacy after all in what she had done— brainsick moonstruck lunacy, in which all sense of values had been lost, and her life and his life ruined!( Galsworthy )

It ‘s a sort of fagot peace, and I frequently wonder howI couldholdbeen so lacerateand tortured.( Galsworthy )

It is of import to retrieve that could+ Infinitive II may connote two diametrically opposite significances: a ) a existent action in the yesteryear and B ) a non-fact with mention to the yesteryear. And here the implied context is all that can be considered relevant.

6. Meaning of class of Voice

The class of Voice expresses dealingss between the topic and the object of the action or between the topic and the action.

The resistance of the inactive signifier of the verb to the active signifier of the verb expresses the voice of the English Verb. E.g. : writes – is written.The inactive signifier is the strong member of the resistance. On the plane of look it is marked by the combination of the subsidiary be with the Past Participle of the fanciful verb. The agent may be expressed in the sentence and it ‘s normally introduced with the aid of the preposition by. Ex. The book is written by a immature author.

The sentence with the inactive voice may include a agencies of the action, which is introduced, with the aid of the concurrence with. Ex. The book is covered with a newspaper.

The class of voice has a much broader representation in the system of the English verb than in the system of the Ukrainian verb, since in English non merely transitive but besides intransitive verbs can be used.

The limit line between the passivized and non-passivized set is non stiff, and the verbs of the non-passivized set may migrate into the passivized set in assorted contexts. Ex. The bed has non been slept in. The house seems non to hold been lived in.

Sometimes the resistance between 2 signifiers may be reduced. It means that the verb may be used in the Active Voice signifier with the significance of the Passive Voice.

Some verbs which are normally followed by an object ( to sell, to cut, to rinse ) can be used without an object and take on a inactive significance. In this instance, the individual transporting out the action of the Verb is non referred to. Ex. This book sells good, i.e. it is sold to many people. The frock washes/irons good, i.e. it is easy washed/ironed. This stuff makes up nicely into suits, i.e. it can be used by the seamster for doing suits. The butter spreads easy, i.e. it can be spread easy. The staff of life is cutting severely because it ‘s really soft, i.e. to cut the staff of life is hard.Other tenses may besides be used. The book sold good. The frock has washed good. The stuff will do up nicely.

Note: the verbs are followed by adverbs in the above illustrations. It is besides possible to exclude the adverb, if the significance is clear. This is frequently the instance in the inquiry signifier and in the negative. E.g. : The book did n’t sell, so it was n’t reprinted. The frock is really reasonably. Will it rinse? The stuff should do up into a winter frock, should n’t it? Butter won ’ t spread when it ‘s been in the electric refrigerator. Will the staff of life cut? If non, seek the other knife.

There are some other verbs of this kind, with the nouns ( topics ) that they are frequently used with in this building

( A auto ) drives, tips

( A boat ) canvass

( A clock ) winds up

( A door ) locks, unlocks

( A book ) reads good / easy, i.e. the book is good / easy to read.

Large native coffin nails smoked easy and nervelessly. The king of beasts chops will eat better than they look.

Besides there 2 Voice some writers speak of some more Voice signifiers. The most popular are the Automatic Voice and the Reciprocal Voice and the Middle Voice. Ex. She dressed herself. They helped each other.

The reflexive and mutual pronouns should be looked upon as the voice aides. Such word combinations are treated as analytical verb

signifiers of the Reflexive or Reciprocal voice. However we ca n’t hold to the thought, because:

1. The reflexive/reciprocal pronouns preserve their lexical significance but aides in analytical signifiers loose their significances.

2. There are syntactic dealingss between the constituents. The automatic / mutual pronouns are objects to the verbs. We can turn out this by utilizing homogenous objects. Ex. He dressed himself and his brother. They praised one another and all the pursuits. He defended himself, a victim of the state of affairs.

Therefore, such word combinations are free word combinations. As for the Middle Voice, some writers find it when comparing the undermentioned sentences: Ex. He opened the door.-The door opened.

The Middle Voice utilizations are instances of neutralizing decrease of the voice resistances. Ex. He broke the ice.-The ice broke.

The verbs are active in signifier, but inactive in intending. Ex. She was delicious to look at, witty to speak to.

Another instance of neutralisation: You are mistaken ( Passive in signifier, but active in intending ) . It expresses a province.

The signifiers of the Active Voice ca n’t be opposed and it there is no resistance we ca n’t talk of any particular grammatical class. In sentences like “ the door opened ” we should talk of median verbs in the Active Voice.

7. Class of Tense

Traditional grammar speaks of 16 tense signifiers in English but really there exist merely 4 of them. The affair is that when talking about an action we express its primary features of tense but so it may be necessary to demo the character of the development of the action or to compare the action with some other one and so in such instances the primary tense class is modified by some other verb classs such as facet ( uninterrupted or non-continuous ) , perfect ( perfect or non-perfect ) .

So we get complex analytical signifiers, which express non one class of tense but a figure of them. Ex. If we analyze such signifiers, as “ is reading ” we should state that this verb expresses Present Tense and uninterrupted facet. Hence the alteration of the class of Tense by the class of aspect brings about the visual aspect of 16 verb signifiers.

When talking about the class of tense we should retrieve that we distinguish different tense signifiers on the footing of some resistance. But in a figure of instances these resistances may be reduced. It means that morphological signifier typical of one tense may show the significance of some other tense. We normally observe it in definite contexts.

Ex. The signifier of the Present Tense may show the significance of the Past, Future Tense in low-level clauses of clip and status ( If I see him tomorrow I will inquire him to make it for you ) .

Besides the Present Tense may be used to show an action planned for the Future particularly with verbs of gesture.

When covering with the class of tense we should touch upon one more jobs, which is typical of English. The job is known as the Sequence of Tenses. In English if the predicate verb in the chief clause of a complex sentence is used in the past tense, the predicate verbs in the subsidiary clauses с а n be used in the present or future tenses. The Present Tense is replaced by the Past Tense modified or non modified by the Perfect and the Future Tense is replaced by the Future-in-the-Past.

The Sequence of Tenses is explained by many traditional grammars as a mechanical displacement of tenses. However, this account can ’ t be treated as adequate. No mechanical displacement takes topographic point.

In the events in the chief and low-level clauses are coincident, so the same tense signifiers are used. If the events of the subsidiary clause precede the events of the chief clause, than the predicate verb in the subsidiary clause is modified by the Perfect.

In the actions the subsidiary clause follow the events of the chief clause, so the predicate verb takes the specific signifier in the Future-in-the-Past.

We observe this correlativity of events merely when the get downing temporal centre is in the Past.

But if the starting point is in the Present, no sequence of tenses is ascertained and we use any tense signifier in the subsidiary clause or clauses, which is required by the logical sequence of events. So what we mean by the traditional term Sequence of Tenses that is in world sequence of events is nil but a synthesis of two categorical impressions:

1 ) The class of tense which expresses the relation of the action to some minute of clip. ;

2 ) The class of perfect, which expresses the relation of actions to each other.

7. The most controversial class – Mood

The class of Mood is the most controversial class of the verb.

B.A. Ilyish: “ The class of temper in the present English verb has given rise to so many treatments, and has been treated in so many different ways, that it seems barely possible to get at any more less convincing and universally acceptable decision refering it. ”

The class of Mood expresses the dealingss between the action, denoted by the verb, and the existent world from the point of position of the talker. The talker may handle the action/event as existent, unreal or debatable or as fact that truly happened, happens or will go on, or as an fanciful phenomenon.

It follows from this that the class of Mood may be presented by the resistance

obligue temper – direct temper

= unreality = world.

The former is the strong member.

The latter is the weak member.

Temper relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty, duty, necessity, and possibility.

The most debatable inquiry in the class of temper is the job of figure and types of Oblique Moods. Oblique Moods denote unreal or debatable actions so they ca n’t be modified by the class of tense proper. They denote merely comparative clip, that is simultaneousness or precedence. Due to the assortment of signifiers it ‘s impossible to do up regular paradigms of Oblique Moods and so sort them.

Some writers pay more attending to the plane of look, other to the plane of content. So different writers speak of different figure and types of tempers. The most popular in Grammar has become the system of tempers put frontward By Prof. Smirnitsky. He speaks of 6 temper signifiers:

The Indicative Mood

The Imperative Mood

Subjunctive I

Subjunctive II

The Conditional Mood

The Suppositional Mood

Subjunctive Iexpresses a debatable action. Subjunctive I is used in American English and in newspaper manner. Subjunctive I coincides with the Infinitive without the atom to. Ex. : Ringing me up if he would be at that place.

This temper is expressed in English to a really minor extent ( e.g. : So be it so!) . It is merely used in certain set looks, which have to be learned as wholes:

Come what may, we will travel in front.

God savethe Queen!

Sufficeit to state that…

Be that as it may…

Heaven forbidthat…

So be it so.

Longpopulate the King!

Grammar be hanged!

This Mood is besides used in that clauses, when the chief clause contains an look of recommendation, declaration, demand, etc. The usage of this subjunctive I occurs chiefly in formal manner ( and particularly in Am E ) where in less other devices, such as to – infinitive or should = infinitive.

It is necessary that he be at that place.

It is necessary that he should be at that place.

It is necessary for him to be at that place.

Subjunctive IIdenotes an unreal action and it coincides in the signifier with the Past Indefinite Tense ( Subjunctive II Present ) or Past Perfect ( Subjunctive II Past ) . Ex. : I wish he had told the truth. If merely he were here!

Mood is expressed in English to a much greater extent by past tense signifiers. E.g. :

If you taught me, I would larn rapidly.

If she was/were to make smth like that.

He spoke to me as if I was/ were deaf…

I wish I was/were was


1 ) “ Was ”is more common in less formal manner

2 ) Merely “ were ”is acceptable in “ As it were ” ( = so to talk )

3 ) “ Were ”is usual in “ If I were you ” .

The Conditional Mooddenotes an unreal action and is built by the subsidiary verb “ universe ” + any Infinitive a non-perfect infinitive expresses simultaneousness while a perfect infinitive expresses precedence. E.g. : But for the rain we would travel for a walk. But for the rain we would hold gone…

The Suppositional Moodbesides expresses a debatable action and is formed with the aid of the subsidiary verb “ should ” for all the individuals + Infinitive. E.g. : Ringing me up if he should be at that place.

This temper can be used with any verb in subsidiary that – clauses when the chief clause contains an look of recommendation declaration, demand etc. ( demand, require, insist, suggest… ) E.g. : It is necessary that every member should inform himself of these regulations = It is necessary for every member to inform… It is unusual that he should hold left so early.

Subjunctive Iand theConjectural Temperare differentiated merely by their signifier but their significance is the same.

Taking into consideration the fact that the signifiers of theOblique Temperscoincide in many instances with the signifiers of the Indicative Mood, there arises a job of homonymy or lexical ambiguity. E.g. : He lived here.( The declarative mood Mood, Past Tense, Priority, existent action ) .

If merely he lived!( Subjunctive II, simultaneity, unreal action )

The significance of each necessary grammatical abstraction makes itself clear merely in the class of its use.

Compare besides the following forms with the verb should:

Had I known about it,I should hold comeyesterday. ( should+ Infinitive II used with mention to a non-fact ) .

That scientific discipline in the USSRshould hold attainedso high a degree of development is but natural ( should+ Infinitive II showing a existent action in the yesteryear with particular accent laid upon its realization ) .

The assortment of significance as potentially inexplicit in a grammatical signifier, we of course associate with the development of synonymity in grammar.

8. Synonymy in Grammar

Synonymic signifiers in grammar are non precisely likewise, they normally have all right portions of difference in manner and intent, and pupils need to be alive to these differences. There is ever choice in the distribution of grammatical signifiers in existent address. They must harmonize with the context as appropriate to a given state of affairs.

The alteration in synonymous grammatical signifiers is frequently a alteration in manner, and the consequence on the reader is rather different. Even a little change in the grammatical device can subtly switch the significance of the vocalization. Analyze the undermentioned sentence:

“ … Have you been injuring him? ”

“ It is my bad luck to be obliged to injure him ”,said Clara.

“ Quite needlessly, my kid,for marry him you must ” .( Dreiser )

Ellen had wrung her custodies and counseled hold, in order that Scarlett might believe the affair over at greater length. But to her pleadings, Scarlett turned a dark face and a deaf ear.Marry she would!And rapidly, excessively. Within two hebdomads.( Mitchell )

Cf. :Marry she would!and She would get married.

We can non neglect to see that there is a pronounced difference in manner between the two verb signifiers: the former is impersonal, the latter is extremely expressive.


“ But, no affair— when her pes healed she would walk to Jonesboro. It would be the longest walk she had of all time taken in her life, butwalkit she would ” .( Mitchell )

Cf. :walk it she would→ she would walk it

As equivalent word in grammar express different sunglassess of the grammatical significance, one should be careful in the pick of the right signifiers, the best to convey the subtler niceties of that significance.

Knowledge of synonymic distinction between the grammatical signifiers permits a systematic, nonsubjective probe and description of manner.

With respect to the methodological analysis employed in our description of synonymity in grammar there are certain observations which are pertinent t о a drumhead statement. It will be helpful to separate between a ) paradigmatic equivalent word and B ) contextual equivalent word or equivalent word by map in address.

In English morphology equivalent word of the first group are really few in figure. Such are, for case, synthetical and analytical signifiers in the Subjunctive and Suppositional Mood, e. g. :

… ‘Inow move, that the study and histories for the twelvemonth1886be received and adopted ” .( Galsworthy )

( be received and adopted=should be received and adopted )

Paradigmatic equivalent word with similarity in map and structural characteristics may besides be exemplified by the followers:

Non-emphatic Emphatic
Present Indefinite
Icognize Imake cognize
He knows He does cognize
Past indefinite
I knew Idid cognize
Imperative Temper
Come Do come

Analytic verbal signifiers with the intensive bashcan show a whole assortment of subjective average significances: pleasance, esteem, fondness, surprise, choler, mild reproach, encouragement, warning, etc. , e.g.

Oh! favorite, do n’t hurt! I do so detest it for you.( Galsworthy ) There was so much coming and traveling round the doors that they did non like to come in. Where does he populate? I did see him coming out of the hotel.( Galsworthy )

Eagerly her eyes searched the darkness. The roof seemed to be integral. Could it be— could it be— ?No, it was n’t possible. War stopped for no-thing, non evenTara,built to last five hundred old ages. It could non hold passed overTara.Then the shadowy lineation did take signifier. The white walls did show at that place through the darkness.Tarahad escaped. Home!( Mitchell )

But Swithin, hearing the name Irene, looked badly at Euphemia, who, it is true, ne’er did look good in a frock, whatever she may hold done on other occasions.( Galsworthy )

Strong accent is besides produced by utilizing redundant forms with cleavages, e. g. : He ne’er did attention for the river, did Montmorency.( Jerome )

As we have already said, there are no absolute equivalent word in grammar. Synonymic signifiers will by and large differ either in assorted sunglassess of the common grammatical significance, expressive intension or in stylistic value. The former may be referred to as comparative equivalent word, the latter as stylistic 1s.

Further illustrations of paradigmatic equivalent word will be found among the alleged circumlocutious signifiers of the English verb.

Relatively synonymous are, for case, the Future Indefinite tense-forms and the circumlocutious “to be traveling to ”hereafter. A simple affirmatory statement of purpose with no external fortunes mentioned ( clip, status, ground, etc. ) is by and large expressed by the circumlocutious signifier. When a future action depends on the external fortunes the “ to be traveling to ”is rare. Cf. :

1. a ) He will sell his house,( rare )

B ) He ‘s traveling to sell his house.( normal )

2. a ) He ‘ll sell it if you ask him.( normal )

B ) He is traveling to sell it if you ask him.( rare ) 1

To be traveling towith a personal topic implies a much stronger purpose than the Future Tense with shall/willdoes.

Forms with the inactive aides beand acquirewill besides exemplify grammatical equivalent word of the first type.

The inactive signifiers in Modern English are represented by analytic combinations of the subsidiary verb to bewith the past participial of the conjugated verb. The verb to acquirecan besides work as an aide of the passive, e. g. : ( 1 ) My frock got caught on a nail.( 2 ) He got struck by a rock. These are non new uses, but 1s which are distributing.

To acquireseems closer to the true inactive aide bein forms like the followers: She got blamed for everything. She gets teased by the other kids.

The stabilization of lexico-grammatical devices to bespeak the aspective character of the action has besides contributed to the development of synonymity in Modern English.

A particular involvement attaches to contextual equivalent word on the grammatica1 degree created through heterotaxy of related grammatical signifiers, Neutralisation of the typical characteristics of the opposed grammatical signifiers leads to situational synonymity. Here are a few illustrations to exemplify the statement:

( 1 )Areyoucomingto the PPRS Board on Tuesday?( Galsworthy ) ( The Supposition Present — Future is neutralised ; Are you coming?is synonymus with Will you come? )


( 2 ) Whom do you believe I travelled with? Fleur Mont. We ran up against each other at Victoria. She ‘stakingher male child to tiring following hebdomad to recuperate him.( Galsworthy ) ( She ‘s taking= she will take )

A particular involvement attaches to contextual equivalent word on the grammatica1 degree created through heterotaxy of related grammatical signifiers, Neutralisation of the typical characteristics of the opposed grammatical signifiers leads to situational synonymity. Here are a few illustrations to exemplify the statement:

( 1 )Areyoucomingto the PPRS Board on Tuesday?( Galsworthy ) ( The Supposition Present — Future is neutralised ; Are you coming?is synonymus with Will you come? )


( 2 ) Whom do you believe I travelled with? Fleur Mont. We ran up against each other at Victoria. She ‘stakingher male child to tiring following hebdomad to recuperate him.( Galsworthy ) ( She ‘s taking= she will take )

Present Continuous and Present Indefinite may work as situational equivalent word in instances like the followers:

( 3 ) Dickey! said James. Youareever blowing money on something.( Galsworthy ) ( You are ever blowingis synonymous with You ever waste ).

( 4 ) Sheiscontinuallyconceive ofingdangers when they do non be. ( She isconceive ofing=she imagines ) .

( 5 ) June read: Lake Okanagen. British Columbia,I ‘m non comingback toEngland. Bless you ever.— John.( Galsworthy ) ( I ‘m non coming= = I shall non come ).

( 6 ) Fleur huddled her mentum in her pelt. It was easterly and cold. A voice behind her said: Well, Fleur,am I travelingEast?( Galsworthy ) Cf. Am I traveling East?= Shall I go East?


In this essay we have tried to turn out that although conceptional content is surely an of import facet of lingual communicating, it is a error to see lucidity of referential significance as a maestro accomplishment, in two ways. First it is an mistake to presume that all other words serve at the pleasance of pass oning talker ’ s intended semantic mention ; and 2nd, it is an mistake to presume that all meaningful lingual action has lucidity of referential significance as its cardinal end, or that lone messages with clear referential content are in some sense communicative. Polysemy, ambiguity, synonymy frequently helps accomplish a communicational end.

No uncertainty this strikes many readers as obvious. And yet, while we might state that in the Western rational tradition they have ever been recognized as an inevitable characteristic of natural linguistic communications, we might state with more strong belief that they have normally been recognized as a job. Sometimes they break clear transmittal of idea from a talker to an audience and merely undermine significance.

But we propose two things: foremost, that ambiguity may in fact be productive of understanding and non merely destructive of it ; and back, that what we take as discourse signifiers transparent to their conceptional referents frequently are non. This attack calls for reconsidering what we might intend when we speak of “ understanding. ” Usually, apprehension is taken to intend acknowledgment of the cognitive content of an vocalization. We might good supplement this with a less proficient thought which, at the minute, we can merely name “ acquiring it. ”

When we think about lingual communicating as a multi-channel corporal participatory experience, our focal point displacements to characteristics of contextualized pattern that are multimodal, multivocal, and lean more to a great extent on non-propositional characteristics of communicating — characteristics that have complicated relationships to the saving or presentation of clear referential content. The general sense in the Western tradition has been that words organize propositional content into more pleasing signifier — “ good thoughts, good expressed, ” the melding of signifier and content. But possibly looks work independently of propositionality, sometimes helping, sometimes undermining, sometimes stepping into the breach where propositionality finds itself at a loss for words.

Cite this Problem of meaning ambiguity in a language

Problem of meaning ambiguity in a language. (2017, Jul 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/problem-of-meaning-ambiguity-in-a-language-1675/

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