Lexical ambiguity

Scope and ambiguity in expanded categorial semantics

The traditional view is that ambiguity comes in two varieties – lexical ambiguity, and structural ambiguity.

Lexical ambiguity:
In instances of lexical ambiguity, a single morpheme has two or more entries in the lexicon;  alternatively, the same surface form (spelling/pronunciation) corresponds to two or more morphemes. A
prominent logical example is ‘and’ which has two different meanings, as in:

  • Jay respects Kay and Elle
  • Jay is between Kay and Elle

For example, the first one means that Jay respects Kay and Jay also respects Elle, but the second one does not mean that Jay is between Kay and Jay is between Elle, which is nonsense.



Introduction to Natural Language Processing
University of Michigan
Coursera, October 5 – December 27, 2015

Natural Language Processing (2013)
by Michael Collins
University of Columbia