[Corpora-List] Ambiguous words in English and their frequency

Geoffrey Williams geoffrey.williams at wanadoo.fr
Thu Jan 26 10:08:34 CET 2012


I was not going to reply, but I shall.

He: My wife bought this jumper here last week. Now she wants another just like it." Salewoman: Yes, sir. What bust? He: Oh, nothing, she tore it on a nail

Punch 1933

What percentage of words are ambiguous? Shall we say 100%.

Words do not have meanings, meanings have words - Firth

Everything is played out in context, we understand through Grice's cooperative principle? We can deliberately cause misunderstanding for jokes, poetry etc. Everyword in the joke has some degree of ambiguity.

Geoffrey

Le 26/01/2012 05:06, Linda Bawcom a écrit :
> *Subject:* Re: [Corpora-List] Ambiguous words in English and their
> frequency
> Dear Karen,
> (I had to send this to the corpora list because I get bounced mail for
> you).
> I would like to help but am unsure what you mean by an ambiguous
> word. I can understand that a particular word in a sentence might be
> ambiguous. For example, "Mary's a funny person" could mean that she
> is comical or that she is strange. However, words are used in some
> kind of context. Therefore, in the example, 'funny' is only ambiguous
> if I have insufficient context to help me decide the particular use of
> that polysemous word. In short, I believe we do not think of words
> themselves as being ambiguous. What may be ambiguous (e.g. in need of
> clarification) is the way a word/phrase is used in a particular
> context or context of situation. Perhaps you can offer a few
> examples. Apart from that, I can only offer the following from my
> small data base where ambiguity is discussed:
> Aspects of English (2nd) 202,205,262,264,270 etc. Bolinger,D.
> Harcourt 1975
> Discourse Structure &Anaphora 3,48,50-4,56-7,60,108,123,128,131 Fox,
> Barbara A. CUP 1987
> Computational Analysis of English 21,26,27,39,43,51, etc.
> Garside,R.Leech.G.Sampson, G.. Longman 1987
> Corpora in Applied Ling. 44-5,145,149 Hunston, Susan CUP 2002
>
>
>
>
>
> Semantics (2nd edition) 31,38,42-3,48-50,86,105-8etc Palmer,
> F.R. CUP 1981
> Corpus, Concordance,Col 104-05 Sinclair, John OUP 1991
> Relational Models of the Lexicon 114,117,227 Walton Evens, M.
> (ed) CUP 1988
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 84
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 7-Sep
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Text and Corpus Analysis 188-9 Stubbs, Michael Blackwell 1996
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 139.141
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 145
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity
> 5-6,86,92-4,143,149,157 Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity
> 4-6,69,112,157,212-13 Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 11
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 212
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Relational Models of the Lexicon 291-92,316,319,33,328-29 Walton
> Evens, M. (ed) CUP 1988
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity
> 9-12,38,131-152,215 Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 131-36
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 150-52
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
> Semantic Interpretation and the Resolution of Ambiguity 134-36
> Hirst,Graeme CUP 1987
>
> Kindest regards,
> Linda Bawcom
> Kindest regards,
> Linda Bawcom
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* "FORT, Karen" <Karen.FORT at inist.fr>
> *To:* "corpora at uib.no" <corpora at uib.no>
> *Sent:* Wed, January 25, 2012 1:33:02 PM
> *Subject:* [Corpora-List] Ambiguous words in English and their frequency
>
> Hi all,
>
> I need to find this information (the proportion of ambiguous words in
> English and their frequency).
> For example, we know that in French 8% of the words represent 30% of
> the ambiguity.
> Of course, it's very rough, but it's only to have a rough idea.
>
> Can somebody help me with this (of course, I searched for a ref but
> could not find anything precise)?
>
> Thank you in advance,
>
> Regards,
>
>
> Karën FORT
> Ingénieure/Engineer et/and doctorante/PhD student
> INIST-CNRS / LIPN
> 2, allée de Brabois
> 54500 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy
> France
> Bureau/Office: H112
> +33 (0)3 83 50 46 36
>
> http://www-lipn.univ-paris13.fr/~fort/
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