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    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
    Er... without typing out an essaysworth, I'd say um...

    Use words with minimal multiples of meanings.

    Use sentences which are simple and, of course, valid.

    Keep your communication short, concise and to the point.

    When speaking, make sure you actually open your mouth before a foggy mumbo jumbo tumbles out.

    Think before you express your communication, thus adhering to the above points too...


    ...that's all I can think of for the moment.
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
    Hmmmn, I'm guessing homework...
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    (Original post by DamianHolt)
    Hmmmn, I'm guessing homework...

    ehehe close, but still no, it's sort of an essay
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    (Original post by upwithlove)
    Er... without typing out an essaysworth, I'd say um...

    Use words with minimal multiples of meanings.

    Use sentences which are simple and, of course, valid.

    Keep your communication short, concise and to the point.

    When speaking, make sure you actually open your mouth before a foggy mumbo jumbo tumbles out.

    Think before you express your communication, thus adhering to the above points too...


    ...that's all I can think of for the moment.
    Thanks, you gave me some good ideas

    Now for the next set of questions:
    In what contexts might ambiguity impede knowledge or contribute to it?
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
    Check out Jacques Derrida and his work on deconstruction.
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
    To every extent?
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    (Original post by Tek)
    To every extent?
    well... a certain every extent.

    It impede's knowledge because well... with ambiguity, one will not "know" what you're talking/writing about they'll be wiondering if it's this or that... another pointer for you... guess you probably already have that one though
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    Thanks for the replies guys, but how can ambiguity actually contribute to knowledge, in relation with language? That got me off...
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    Where's Adhsur when you need her?
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    Thanks, you gave me some good ideas

    Now for the next set of questions:
    In what contexts might ambiguity impede knowledge or contribute to it?
    In the 60s/70s the scandinavian geologists and the american geologists spent almost a decade argueing about the properties of granite - turned out the scandinavians where using it's specific accurate definition (a course grained, felsic volcanic rock) while the americans were using it a generic term for a hard rock :rolleyes:

    Almost every branch of science has a story similar to this.
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    Where's Adhsur when you need her?
    I'm here sorry!!! hehe..I don't think I can help you though, I'm afraid. I don't think it is possible to overcome the vagueness of language at all, because whatever you do you'll end up up having to define concepts which if stretched back far enough will be too abstract to talk about in simple terms.

    W.V Quine (American philosopher of science) actually noted that the simplest form of language is in the form of observation sentences, those being the sentences everyone can agree on objectively as statements of fact.
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    Thanks Adhsur and Queen

    Now comes the difficult part! Does the balance between precision and ambiguity alter from one discipline to another?

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    I'm not a philosopher, but I'll tell you what I think.

    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?
    - so complicated:
    you could look at avoiding simplifications and elucidating the details of things (e.g. a shape is spherical/egg-like rather than simply rounded).
    as said before, avoid words with too many meaning.
    avoid implying things.
    don't use language that has a cultural basis, so that all cultures that are an audience understand it in the same way (e.g. football & soccer).

    the first point I think is the one I could imagine writing the most about, the others pretty much lead on from it.

    In what contexts might ambiguity impede knowledge or contribute to it?
    The things that come to mind are simply this:
    if you are too specific in your descriptions, you spend more time communicating and become less efficient (waste time). This increases the amount of knowledge you communicate.
    if you are too simple, there is more ambiguity/vagueness and you impede the ability of the recipient to understand your communicated ideas.

    Bias between simplicity and excessive detail depends on context. A technical biochemistry textbook might require greater emphasis on detail at the expense of efficiency. A simply overview of cell structure for primary school might do better with simplicity and efficiency at the expence of vagueness/ambiguity.

    Hope that helped.
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    Thanks Richard
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    I've got to give this essay by tomorrow. It's not long, it should be about 700 words, but the problem is trying to put all of the ideas on language and its fair share of problems onto the paper (or virtual paper in my case, since im writing it up on the computer)...

    Well, I won't have an easy night's sleep...

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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    I've got to give this essay by tomorrow. It's not long, it should be long 700 words, but the problem is trying to put all of the ideas on language and its fair share of problems onto the paper (or virtual paper in my case, since im writing it up on the computer)...

    Well, I won't have an easy night's sleep...

    Awwww, good luck!
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    (Original post by Adhsur)
    Awwww, good luck!
    Thanks Adhsur
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    Thanks for the replies guys, but how can ambiguity actually contribute to knowledge, in relation with language? That got me off...
    an interesting quote that you might like to use..."Misunderstandings may be fruitful in certain circumstances." (herman hesse, in his preface to 'Steppenwolf')

    now for my bit...

    When considering ambiguity in language when used as a form of art (ie, literature, poetry etc) its important to understand that often, human sentiment is impossible to decipher. The driving force behind prose of any nature is strong emotion...and as emotions are fickle, it is a difficult task to try and put phrase to that which we aren't entirely sure of (do you follow me?!) Basically speaking, one may not know exactly what it is that one is wishing to express, and as such, the product resulting is invested with ambiguities that it might enable a reader to impregnate it with their own personal interpretation and experiences. Ambiguities will always arise, but this is a key facet in enabling a text to truly come alive - people tend to appreciate what they can identify with a lot more than a blow-by-blow, black and white account of a single being's twisted emotions.

    *breathes a sigh of relief now that that is off her chest!*

    that's ambiguities from a literary perspective.

    Hate to hafta add more, but you might like to also consider the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove all ambiguity as personal experience contributes to perception...and as no two experiences are alike, so no two interpretations are identical.

    I promise i'll stop now!!! lol
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    (Original post by FurbyMaX)
    To what extent is it possible to overcome the ambiguity and vagueness in language?

    Gimme some opinions
    Thanks!
    for a start you could stop posting crap messages. I mean crappy messages, not messages made of crap.
 
 
 
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