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Amira
Cognitive scientists develop new take on old problem: why human language has so many words with multiple meanings - http://aminotes.tumblr.com/post...
Cognitive scientists develop new take on old problem: why human language has so many words with multiple meanings
Cognitive scientists develop new take on old problem: why human language has so many words with multiple meanings
"Ambiguity actually makes language more efficient, by allowing for the reuse of short, efficient sounds that listeners can easily disambiguate with the help of context. (...) By comparing certain properties of words to their numbers of meanings, the researchers confirmed their suspicion that shorter, more frequent words, as well as those that conform to the language’s typical sound patterns, are most likely to be ambiguous — trends that were statistically significant in all three languages. (...) It is “cognitively cheaper” to have the listener infer certain things from the context than to have the speaker spend time on longer and more complicated utterances. The result is a system that skews toward ambiguity, reusing the “easiest” words. Once context is considered, it’s clear that “ambiguity is actually something you would want in the communication system.” (...) - Amira from Bookmarklet
“You would expect that since languages are constantly changing, they would evolve to get rid of ambiguity,” Wasow says. “But if you look at natural languages, they are massively ambiguous: Words have multiple meanings, there are multiple ways to parse strings of words. … This paper presents a really rigorous argument as to why that kind of ambiguity is actually functional for communicative purposes, rather than dysfunctional.” - Amira
this would explain why poetry books are usually the slimmest among publications -- it's cognitively cheaper for the reader to infuse meaning than for the poet to elaborate at length :-) - Adriano
I ain't even touchin' that one ^ - t-ra: WeirdnessSandwich
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what i choose it to mean -neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -that's all." - Lewis Carroll/Through the looking-glass - Taha
"As long as words a different sense will bear, // And each may be his own interpreter, // Our airy faith will no foundation find; // The word’s a weathercock for every wind." — John Dryden, The Hind and the Panther (1687) :-) - Amira