Meaning of Ambiguous

By | January 15, 2021

The ambiguous adjective, which has its etymological root in the Latin word ambigŭus, is used to describe that which does not have a single meaning or meaning, that can be interpreted in different ways or that generates confusion.

For example: “The official candidate’s speech was ambiguous: analysts expected more definite definitions”, “I think the judicial resolution is somewhat ambiguous”, “I do not understand why you always have to be so ambiguous; I’m just asking you if you’re on my side or his. ”

If we focus on linguistics, the ambiguous is what gives rise to multiple interpretations and, therefore, can cause confusion or questions. This ambiguity can arise from semantic aspects, syntax, or other factors.

According to DigoPaul, an ambiguous sentence is the following: “Ricardo saw Daniel drunk and did not know what to say. ” This phrase could refer to the fact that Daniel was drunk when Ricardo found him, or that the drunk was Ricardo himself, since the adjective has the appropriate gender and number for both the subject (Ricardo) and the object (Daniel), and there is not enough context to know which of the two it modifies.

The homonym, which implies the existence of words with the same shape and different meaning, can also lead to ambiguity. “There is no cure in this place” is an ambiguous phrase: it can mean that in a particular place there is no priest (although this may surprise the sender or his interlocutor), or that in that place there is no solution to a problem determined.

It is important to note that ambiguity can be used conscientiously to confuse the interlocutor, or to avoid revealing certain data in a conversation. In this case we are faced with a positive and beneficial use of ambiguous language, although it is not always satisfactory for those who receive it.

If we place ourselves in the context of a conference about the launch of a revolutionary electronic device, for example, it is normal that the company that presents it does not make all its features public, either due to the desire to wait for consumers to present them. find out once you have it in your hands or to reduce the chances of competitors stealing your ideas. When asked about the technical specifications of the product, company representatives can appeal to ambiguity to protect their information without being rude.

For example, if the question were “I have noticed that your new console can manipulate hundreds of photos in real time; Does this speak to the compression and decompression capabilities of the device? ” , the ambiguous answer could be «As you know, we are facing a new step on the path of technological advances, and so it should not surprise you that our device has exceptional performance, whether in image manipulation or in all other scopes ».

Of course, ambiguous language can also be annoying or even not very productive, if the lack of information is unnecessary and causes communication problems in a work team. In certain settings, such as medicine or computing, where precision is critical to safety and good performance, ambiguity should be avoided by all means in pursuit of clear and direct language.

Whoever is not defined through their expressions or actions, is also qualified as ambiguous. If an ambiguous journalist is asked which team will win the next Spanish soccer tournament, he can answer: “Barcelona is very good, but Real Madrid has a great team and Atlético de Madrid is having an excellent time. ”