The third of three types of ambiguity: imaginary ambiguity

Imaginary ambiguity occurs when a word with a fixed meaning seems to have a different one.  Imaginary ambiguity derives from the optional interpretation that the recipient of the communication places on the information received.  Two distinct types of ambiguity can be categorised as imaginary ambiguity:  emphatic and suggestive.  Emphatic Ambiguity The question of ambiguity deriving … Read more

The second of three types of ambiguity: actual ambiguity

Actual ambiguity refers to ambiguity that occurs in the act of speaking.  It arises when a word or phrase, without variation either in itself or in the way the word is put forward, has different meanings.  The statement does not contain adequate information to resolve the ambiguity, resulting in a number of legitimate interpretations.  Two … Read more

The first of three types of ambiguity: potential ambiguity

Again, this is lifted from my thesis which looks unlikely to ever see the light of day unless I take it off the shelves in BEL library at UQ. Potential ambiguity arises when a term or a sentence is ambiguous in and of itself, for example, before its use in the context of a sentence … Read more

The nature of ambiguity

The following is an excerpt from my thesis, written in 2000.  Ambiguity is an inherent property of all natural languages, including English (Jespersen 1922; Williamson 1994). Absolute precision of a language is pragmatically undesirable, because the language is unable to adapt to new concepts (Williamson 1994). The communication needed to ensure effective and efficient report … Read more

Professional Services Firms and Technology

I have been working for professional service firms since 1997 (nearly 9 years!), and I recall sitting in a meeting with the national board of a former employer – a national accounting firm – in 1997 when the topic of email came up.  Most didn’t understand it, most thought it could be an expensive exercise … Read more