Browse Definitions :
Definition

lexical ambiguity

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Lexical ambiguity is the potential for multiple interpretations of spoken or written language that renders it difficult or impossible to understand without some additional information. The ambiguity typically results from the fact that words can mean different things; the additional information typically supplies context that clarifies which meaning is intended in this instance. Lexical means related to words, from the Greek lexikos.

Lexical ambiguity is what makes puns and other types of wordplay funny, and unintentional humor can occur when words aren’t considered carefully enough. For example, the Columbia Journalism Review once published a collection of ambiguous headlines, such as “Red Tape Holds up New Bridge.” The ambiguity there results from the fact that holds up can mean both delays and supports, and the humor comes from the fact that the idea of holding a bridge in place with red tape is ridiculous. Headlines rendered difficult to parse because of ambiguity are sometimes known as crash blossoms, so-named for one that appeared in Japan Today: “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms.”

Lexical ambiguity is often contrasted with structural or syntactic ambiguity, which complicates the interpretation of written or spoken language because of the way in which words or phrases are arranged. Linguistic ambiguity, which includes both of these as well as other categories, is a particular problem for natural language processing (NLP) programs. Word sense disambiguation (WSD) is an essential component of speech recognition, text analytics and other language-processing applications.

This was last updated in January 2019

Continue Reading About lexical ambiguity

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

Extensions de fichiers et formats de fichiers

Motorisé par:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • payload (computing)

    In computing, a payload is the carrying capacity of a packet or other transmission data unit. The term has its roots in the ...

  • passphrase

    A passphrase is a string of characters longer than the usual password (which is typically from four to 16 characters long) that ...

  • Web application firewall (WAF)

    A Web application firewall (WAF) is a firewall that monitors, filters or blocks traffic to and from a Web application. WAFs are ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • computational storage

    Computational storage is defined as an architecture that couples compute with storage in order to reduce data movement. In doing ...

  • data deduplication

    Data deduplication -- often called intelligent compression or single-instance storage -- is a process that eliminates redundant ...

  • public cloud storage

    Public cloud storage, also called storage-as-a-service or online storage is a service model that provides data storage on a ...

Close