The ambiguous adjective, which has its etymological root in
the Latin word ambigŭus, is used to describe that which does
not have a single meaning or meaning, that can be interpreted in different ways
or that generates confusion.
For example: "The official candidate's speech was ambiguous: analysts
expected more definite definitions", "I think the judicial resolution
is somewhat ambiguous", "I do not understand why you always have to be
so ambiguous; I'm just asking you if you're on my side or his. "
If we focus on linguistics, the ambiguous is what gives rise to multiple
interpretations and, therefore, can cause confusion or questions. This
ambiguity can arise from semantic aspects, syntax, or other
an ambiguous sentence is the following: "Ricardo saw
Daniel drunk and did not know what to say. " This phrase could
refer to the fact that Daniel was drunk when Ricardo found
him, or that the drunk was Ricardo himself, since the
adjective has the appropriate gender and number for both the subject (Ricardo)
and the object (Daniel), and there is not enough context to know which of the
two it modifies.
The homonym, which implies the existence of words with the
same shape and different meaning, can also lead to ambiguity. “There is no
cure in this place” is an ambiguous phrase: it can mean that in a
particular place there is no priest (although this may surprise the sender or
his interlocutor), or that in that place there is no solution to
a problem determined.
It is important to note that ambiguity can be used conscientiously to confuse
the interlocutor, or to avoid revealing certain data in a
conversation. In this case we are faced with a positive and beneficial use of
ambiguous language, although it is not always satisfactory for those who receive
If we place ourselves in the context of a conference about the launch of a
revolutionary electronic device, for example, it is normal that the company that
presents it does not make all its features public, either due to the desire to
wait for consumers to present them. find out once you have it in your hands or
to reduce the chances of competitors stealing your ideas. When asked about the
technical specifications of the product, company representatives can appeal to
ambiguity to protect their information without being rude.
For example, if the question were “I have noticed that your new console
can manipulate hundreds of photos in real time; Does this speak to the
compression and decompression capabilities of the device? ” , the ambiguous
answer could be «As you know, we are facing a new step on the path of
technological advances, and so it should not surprise you that our device has
exceptional performance, whether in image manipulation or in
all other scopes ».
Of course, ambiguous language can also be annoying or even
not very productive, if the lack of information is unnecessary and causes
communication problems in a work team. In certain settings, such as medicine or
computing, where precision is critical to safety and good performance, ambiguity
should be avoided by all means in pursuit of clear and direct language.
Whoever is not defined through their expressions or actions,
is also qualified as ambiguous. If an ambiguous journalist is asked which team
will win the next Spanish soccer tournament, he can answer: "Barcelona
is very good, but Real Madrid has a great team and Atlético de Madrid is having
an excellent time. "