Context and Ambiguity in communication

One proposition is this: context reduces ambiguity in communication. Nothing is further from this truth.

The sentence “You have a green light” is ambiguous. Without knowing the context, the identity of the speaker or the speaker’s intent, it is difficult to infer the meaning with certainty. For example, it could mean:

the space that belongs to you has green ambient lighting;
you are driving through a green traffic signal;
you no longer have to wait to continue driving;
you are permitted to proceed in a non-driving context;
your body is cast in a greenish glow; or
you possess a light bulb that is tinted green.
(Examples from Wikipedia)

Another example of an ambiguous sentence is, “I went to the bank.” This is an example of lexical ambiguity, as the word bank can either be in reference to a place where money is kept, or the edge of a river.

Experts warn us to consider each quote carefully – avoid taking it out of context and interpreting it based on the face value. or personal prejudice. Context controls our interpretation and ramification.

To understand what the speaker is truly saying, it is a matter of context, which is why context is important.

Yet, sometimes, we deliberately flout this maxim – we play with words. This is one way to make a joke or create humor. We do not always say what we mean and mean what we say.

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