Structural Ambiguity

Structural Ambiguity



A term used in linguistics to refer to a construction with more than one grammatical interpretation in terms of constituent analysis. A much-used example is old men and women, which is structurally ambiguous: it may be analysed as [old men] and women (i.e. only the men are old) or old [men and women] (i.e. both the men and women are old). In generative grammar, this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as ‘constructional homonymity’.


语言学用来指一个构式在组构成分分析上有不止一种语法解释。一个经常引用的例子是old men and women“年老的男人和女人”,其“结构歧义”表现在既可分析为[old men] and women“[年老的男人]和女人”(即只有男人年老),也可分析为old [men and women]“年老的[男人和女人]”(即男人和女人都年老)。生成语法中,这种现象有时称作“同形异构”。