In linguistics, Lexical or Semantic ambiguity is a type of ambiguity that arises out of the fact that a word may have more than one meaning. In most cases, the intended meaning is made clear by the context.

Examples:

  • "Child’s stool great for use in garden."
  • "Drunk gets nine months in violin case."
  • "I saw a bat."

This type of ambiguity often appears in newspaper headlines "Pope says masturbation OK as long as you keep it in hand." Lexical Semantic ambiguity is also used by persuasion professionals and some therapists. The existence of Semantic ambiguity is a huge problem for computer scientists working on language applications.


Sources:
http://www.cs.umn.edu/news/items/152.html
http://www.xrefer.com/entry/572050
http://wilkes.edu/~tindell/Ed515/langcomp.htm

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