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What is

AMBIGUITY

22

Alice in Wonderland
The mouse says, I have a long and sad tale. Alice responds that she can see that the mouse s tail is long, but asks, why do you call it sad? Isn't this is ambiguous in speech ..

THE AMBIGUITY PARADOX


y Everything is ambiguous, as long as it is taken by

itself, while nothing is strictly ambiguous if we look at it top-down, placing it in its proper, cognitive environment.

BOAT NAMES
y Nauti By Nature y Ahoy-Vey y Pier Pressure y Berth Control y Harvey Wharfbanger

ATTRACT .. with ambiguity


y y y y y

Mustard s Last Stand (a hot dog restaurant) The Wizard of Ooze (a septic tank cleaner) Currier and Chives (a catering service) Wreck-Amended (an auto body shop) Curl Up and Dye (a beauty shop)

y It is called as public cutespeak and conjectures that enjoying these names has to be an acquired taste.

CULTURAL AMBIGUITY
y When Jack Paar , in his show, told a mildly

risque story about a WC, the network censored him, causing him to walk off his show for a week. misunderstood a British woman s request for information about the W.C.

y The story was about a Swiss schoolmaster who

y The school master thought the woman was

asking about the Wayside Chapel, but was instead asking about the Water Closet (British for toilet).

y The schoolmaster wrote, The W.C. is situated

nine miles from the house. It is capable of holding 229 people and is open on Sunday and Thursday only. I would suggest that you come early, although there is plenty of standing room as a rule. A good number of people bring their lunch and make a day of it. It may interest you to know that my daughter was married in the W.C., and it was there that she met her husband. I can remember the rush there was for seats. There were 10 people to a seat usually occupied by one.

LEXICAL AMBIGUITY
y On a Garbage Truck: Our business is picking up. y Ad for Cheese: Cheese can make you a hero this weekend. y On a Drapery Shop: After 35 years, we ve finally got the hang of it. y Optometrist s Sign: There s more to a vision examination than meets the eye. y Ad for Aspirin: We go to a lot of pains.

FROM RANDOM TEXTBOOKS


y The governor is a dirty street fighter. y Did you ever see a horse fly? y I cannot recommend him too highly. y He gave her dog biscuits. y It s the world s largest war surplus store. y Cynthia left directions for her Dad to follow.