Types of ambiguity in writing english by sophomore students of english education at can tho university

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CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TYPES OF AMBIGUITY IN WRITING ENGLISH BY SOPHOMORE STUDENTS OF ENGLISH EDUCATION AT CAN THO UNIVERSITY B.A. Thesis Supervisor: Researcher: Truong Nguyen Quynh Nhu, MA Tran Thi Ngoc Hue Student ID: 7062943 Class: NN0652A2 Course: 32 Can Tho, May 2010 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all those who have contributed to the completion of this thesis in different ways. First of all, I would like to show my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Truong Nguyen Quynh Nhu MA, who gave me useful advice, clear instructions and valuable feedback on the thesis. Her encouragement and enthusiasm were the most crucial factors to the completion of my thesis. I will never forget her care about my anxiety and difficulties when I was in the teaching practicum at high school. Second, I would like to send my appreciation to Dr. Nguyen Thu Huong and Huynh Trung Tin MA. They were very supportive teachers who gave me valuable feedback on the thesis, and were willing to recommend me references. Third, I would like to gratefully acknowledge Nguyen Thi Trang Thao MA for her generous advice and support on the analysis of the data. Fourth, my deep gratitude also goes to my academic counselor, Do Xuan Hai MA, who encouraged me to do this bachelor thesis. Last but not least, my regards are due to the participants, the students of English Education course 34 at CTU and all of my classmates. Without their contribution and mental support, the study could not have been conducted. 1 TÓM LƯỢC Nghiên cứu này được thực hiện từ tháng 2/2010 đến cuối tháng 4/2010 tại trường Đại học Cần Thơ dựa trên lý thuyết về sự tối nghĩa, các loại tối nghĩa và cách kiểm tra sự tối nghĩa. Nghiên cứu nhằm mục đích (1) tìm ra những loại tối nghĩa mà sinh viên năm thứ 2 ngành Sư phạm Anh văn tại trường Đại học Cần Thơ mắc phải trong quá trình viết tiếng Anh và (2) đề xuất những phương hướng nhằm hạn chế các lọai tối nghĩa phổ biến. Có 29 sinh viên năm thứ hai ngành Sư phạm Anh văn tại trường tham gia nghiên cứu. Kết quả nghiên cứu được thu thập từ một đề bài viết. Kết quả cho thấy 100% đối tượng nghiên cứu mắc phải các lỗi tối nghĩa trong khi viết. Đồng thời, kết quả cũng cho thấy các lỗi tối nghĩa về mặt cấu trúc (structural ambiguities) và phạm vi (scope ambiguities) được sử dụng ở mức độ thường xuyên hơn so với các lỗi tham khảo (referential ambiguities) và từ vựng (lexical ambiguities). Dựa trên kết quả nghiên cứu, tác giả đề xuất các biện pháp nhằm giúp sinh viên hạn chế các loại tối nghĩa phổ biến. Bên cạnh đó, các đề nghị về phương pháp giảng dạy cũng được đưa ra. ABSTRACT This study was conducted from February 2010 to the end of April 2010 at Can Tho University basing on theories of ambiguity, ambiguity types, and ambiguity test. The purposes of this study are (1) to investigate what types of ambiguity in writing English sophomore students of English Education at CTU make and (2) to provide recommendations of resolving common types of ambiguities. There were 29 sophomore English Education majors participating in the study. Data were collected from a standardized writing test. The result of the data showed that 100% of the participants made ambiguous sentences in writing. Also, the result showed that more structural and scope ambiguities were made than referential and lexical were. On the basis of the findings, recommendations of resolving common types of ambiguities are included (i.e., structural, scope, referential and lexical ambiguities), and pedagogical implications are also provided. 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... i Abstract ....................................................................................................................... ii Table of contents ........................................................................................................ iii List of tables and figures ............................................................................................. v Chapter 1: Introduction............................................................................................ 1 1.1. Rationale ............................................................................................................... 1 1.2. Research aims ....................................................................................................... 3 1.3. Significance of the study ...................................................................................... 3 1.4. Organization of the study ..................................................................................... 3 Chapter 2: Literature Review .................................................................................. 5 2.1. Definitions of ambiguity ...................................................................................... 5 2.2. Types of ambiguity............................................................................................... 6 2.3. An ambiguity test ............................................................................................... 11 Chapter 3: Research Methodology ........................................................................ 14 3.1 Research question ................................................................................................ 14 3.2. Hypotheses ......................................................................................................... 14 3.3. Research design .................................................................................................. 14 3.4. Participants ......................................................................................................... 14 3.5. Research instrument ........................................................................................... 15 3.6. Procedures of test administration ....................................................................... 15 Chapter 4: Results ................................................................................................... 17 4.1. Ambiguity types and frequencies of occurrence ................................................ 17 4.2. Structural ambiguity types and frequencies of occurrence ................................ 21 Chapter 5: Discussions, Recommendations of Resolving Ambiguities, and Pedagogical Implications ........................................................................................ 25 5.1. Discussions ......................................................................................................... 25 5.2. Recommendations of resolving ambiguities ...................................................... 26 5.2.1. Resolving scope ambiguities ..................................................................... 26 5.2.2. Resolving referential ambiguities .............................................................. 26 3 5.2.3. Resolving lexical ambiguities .................................................................... 27 5.2.4. Resolving structural ambiguities ............................................................... 27 5.3. Pedagogical implications.................................................................................... 28 Chapter 6: Limitations, Suggestions for Further Research and Conclusions ... 30 6.1. Limitations ......................................................................................................... 30 6.2. Suggestions for Further Research ...................................................................... 30 6.3. Conclusions ........................................................................................................ 31 References ................................................................................................................ 32 Appendix .................................................................................................................. 34 4 LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES Table/Figure Page Table 4.1: Frequencies of structural ambiguity .......................................... 17 Table 4.2: Frequencies of scope ambiguity................................................. 18 Table 4.3: Frequencies of referential ambiguity ......................................... 18 Table 4.4: Frequencies of lexical ambiguity ............................................... 18 Figure 4.1: Number of ambiguous sentences .............................................. 19 Figure 4.2: Percentages of ambiguity types ................................................ 21 Figure 4.3: Frequencies of structural ambiguity types ................................ 24 5 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter will address the rationale, research aims, the significance of the study, and the organization of the thesis. 1.1 Rationale Despite the fact that English Syntax is difficult to most English majors, it is still my all-time favorite subject. I had never been so sensitized to the complexity of English until attending the course. I had simply thought that language is a clear and literal means for communication ideas; nevertheless, it was in the course that I discovered that even when we use language literally, misunderstanding may arise and meanings may shift (Clare, 2003; Jacobs, 2003). Therefore, it is obvious that such commonly written sentences as (a) “Old men and women are served first” or (b) “My house is in the park near the forest” may confuse readers because they are open to more than one interpretation in meanings. That is, readers may understand sentence (a) in two ways: (a1) Women and old men are served first and (a2) Old men and old women are served first. Similarly, sentence (b) can be paraphrased as two ways: (b1) My house is in the park which is near the forest and (b2) My house is in the park and near the forest. Clearly, normally a word or syntactic structure has more than one meaning, in or in spite of its context (Newmark, 2001). This phenomenon is part of language and defined as ambiguity in language. As a result, towards a better communication in which people understand each other without any barrier of language form and structure, ambiguities should be treated as a problem to be solved by language learners and users (Newmark, 2001; Clare, 2003; Jacobs, 2003). The attraction of ambiguity has motivated me to constantly research into ways ambiguities in English are made, fields they are employed, and strategies to disambiguate ambiguities. It is amazing that ambiguities have been employed in many fields, especially newspaper headlines, advertisement and poems to create dramatic effects on readers. Both Hoenisch (2004) and Webber (2007) agree that lexical and 6 structural ambiguities contribute to make newspaper headlines ambiguous and humorous. Such headlines as (a) Iraqi heads seek arms and (b) Stolen painting found by tree are typical examples of ambiguity application in this field. Headline (a) is lexically ambiguous because the word “head” can be a chief or a head of a body and the word “arms” can be both weapons and body parts. Also, headline (b) may be understood as a stolen painting was found near a tree or a tree found a stolen painting. In addition, puns which are resulted from ambiguities are frequently used in advertisement deliberately (Nguyen, 2002). The sentence “It’s not worth dying for a drink” is a good illustration of the use of ambiguity in the advertisement industry. The phrase to die for a drink can be understood as to die because of a drink or to desire a drink”. Therefore, we can paraphrase this sentence as it’s not worth dying because of a drink or it’s not worth desiring a drink. Ambiguities also exist in poems like a poetic vehicle although not everyone discovers them when reading (Tran, 2006). The example “She lost the paradise with her first bite of the apple” which means “She lost the paradise as soon as she first bit the apple” or “She lost the paradise because she bit the apple” is a good evidence of ambiguities used in poems. Obviously, ambiguities occur in many fields of life even when we do not recognize them. Inspired by these interesting finds, I have conducted a small investigation into ambiguities I have made in a number of the compositions that I have written so far. So surprisingly, I found that I seemed to write without a thought of what I wrote may have misled readers; a lot of ambiguous sentences were made in these compositions. Many of them have later been improved according to the comments of my instructors; others still remained unchanged because these ambiguities were not recognized then, and if any, I did not know how to disambiguate them either. According to Norvig (2006), although serious ambiguities may occur everywhere in sentences, not all readers and listeners but only linguists find them ambiguous by careful analysis. It means that sometimes ambiguity is not discovered by the people who make it, but it may cause many problems when the others consider it to be ambiguous. Ambiguity is then becoming a matter of concern for language learners and users; it is also a great challenge for teachers of English (Jacobs, 2003). From a perspective of a learner, I strongly believe that ambiguities are common and serious errors that may cause 7 misunderstanding and misinterpretations; thus may disqualify the quality of a writing (Newmark, 2001). This belief, together with my own interesting findings about ambiguities in English, prompted me to conduct the research titled Types of Ambiguity in Writing English by Sophomore Students of English Education at Can Tho University. 1.2 Research aims The research aims at two goals. First, it aims to investigate types of ambiguity sophomore students of English Education at Can Tho University (CTU) make when writing in English. Second, on the basis of the findings, recommendations of resolving common types of ambiguities, and pedagogical implications will be proposed. 1.3 Significance of the study The primary aim of the study is to investigate types of ambiguity by sophomore English Education majors at CTU. The study, first of all, thus creates a great learning opportunities for the researcher to enhance (a) a deeper understanding of conducting research work and (b) deeply held knowledge of the research subject matter (i.e., ambiguity in English) through research activities (Feldman & Mc Phee, 2008). Second, the findings of the study raise awareness among EFL teachers and students at CTU of the current writing practices in term of writing errors, in particular, the ones including ambiguities. Third, the inclusion of recommendation to resolve common types of ambiguity found in the study contributes a helpful guidance to improve the quality of the students’ writing. 1.4 Organization of the thesis The study consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 provides the rationale, the aims of the thesis, the significance of the study, and the organization of the thesis. Chapter 2 covers definitions of ambiguity, types of ambiguity, and an ambiguity test. 8 Chapter 3 describes the research method employed in the study. They are research questions, the researcher’s hypotheses, research design, participants, research instrument, and procedures of test administration. Chapter 4 addresses the analysis and synthesis of data collected from the instruments, that is, ambiguity types and frequencies of occurrence, and structural ambiguity types and frequencies of occurrence. Chapter 5 presents discussions, recommendations of resolving ambiguities, and pedagogical implications. Chapter 6 includes limitations of the study, suggestions for further research, and conclusions. 9 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter, definitions of ambiguity will be first addressed. Then ambiguity types and an ambiguity test will be presented. 2.1 Definitions of ambiguity To describe and explain ambiguities in language is one of the goals of semantic theory (Zhang, 2007). Thus, many linguists have studied and defined the term ambiguity in their own ways. According to Bach (1994), ambiguity is a word, a phrase, or a sentence having more than one meaning. Clare (2003) states that something is ambiguous when it can be understood in two or more possible senses or ways. Similarly, Jacobs (2003), To (2004) and Zhang (2007) define that ambiguity is open more than one interpretation or more than one possible meaning. Newmark (2001) also defines that ambiguity, in the sense of a stretch of a second language text, is normally a word or syntactic structure having apparently more than one meaning in or in spite of its context. It is obvious that these definitions of ambiguity are slightly different in the way they are stated, but not the nature ambiguity itself. In general, ambiguity is a phenomenon of having or expressing more than one possible meaning. There are three important points that not only linguists but also any language learners have to notice about ambiguities. First, ambiguity is always concerned with meaning regardless of what type of ambiguity it is (Tran, 2006). Second, almost every word or expression or sentence, before realization of stress, stop, intonation or other phonological means and without any more presuppositions or contexts than what the word or the sentence itself creates, can be regarded as two or more different senses (Zhang, 2007). In other words, ambiguity exists only when a word or a phrase or a sentence has at least two specific meanings that make sense in context. Third, ambiguity and vagueness should be differentiated from each other. Though seemingly synonymous in common usage, they are entirely different but very important problems in critical thinking. This means although words that are vague and words that are 10 ambiguous are hard to define without context and sometimes even with context, they are completely not the same (Payne, 2010). While ambiguity is a phenomenon of having at least two specific meanings that make sense in context, vagueness is concerned with any word or phrase that is not clear in context. To be more clearly, words or phrases or sentences are considered vague when they are not specific enough to clearly cover all cases. That is to say, if someone doesn’t know what is meant by a phrase, then that phrase is vague to him/her. On the contrary, if he/she doesn’t know which of two or more specific meanings is intended by this phrase, then it is ambiguous to him/her. In the next part, types of ambiguity will be addressed in a detailed discussion. 2.2 Types of ambiguity From different points of view, ambiguity can be variously classified by different linguists. Almost these linguists provided clear definitions and appropriate illustrations for their classification. According to Bach (1994), To (2004), Tran (2006) and Zhang (2007), there are two types of ambiguity: lexical and structural. (1) Lexical ambiguity is a phenomenon resulted from sentences which have more than one meaning because of the polysemy or homonyms in these sentences (Tran, 2006). Two good examples of this ambiguity type are (a) “That robot is bright” and (b) “She cannot bear children”. In sentence (a), the adjective “bright” is a polysemous word which has two slightly different but closely related meanings: shining and intelligent. Therefore, the robot may be understood to be shining or intelligent. Sentence (b) can be interpreted in two different ways because the two verbs “bear 1” means “tolerate” and “bear 2” means “give birth to”. They are two homonyms that make the sentence logically ambiguous. (2) Structural ambiguity is the one that does not lie in the words but rests on two or more possibilities of relationship of modification among words contained in the sentence (Zhang, 2007). In other words, structural ambiguity is a 11 phenomenon resulted from sentences which have more than one meaning because the structures in these sentences can be interpreted in different ways (Tran, 2006). This ambiguity type occurs when a phrase or a sentence has more than one underlying structure (Bach, 1994). It is illustrated by two good examples (a) “The chicken is ready to eat” (Bach, 1994) which could be used to describe either a hungry chicken or a boiled chicken and (b) “Last week at the beach, I saw the man eating fish” (Tran, 2006) which can be understood to be “to see the man who is eating fish” or “to see a kind of fish that eats man”. Codish and Shiffman (1995) classify ambiguities into 3 types: lexical, syntactic and pragmatic. (1) Lexical ambiguity is the “classic” form of ambiguity in which a word can be interpreted in more than one way, such as the word “bank” in the sentence “I will meet you at the bank”. (2) Syntactic ambiguity is caused when the structure or the syntax of a statement is ambiguous. This can occur when punctuation or connectors in a statement leave its meaning unclear. An example is “A or B and C” without clarifying whether this means “(A or B) and C” or “A or (B and C)”. (3) Pragmatic ambiguity occurs when two or more interpretations of meanings are provided. It refers to usage, as in saying on Wednesday: “See you next Friday”. We do not know whether the speaker means to meet in two days (i.e., this week’s Friday) or in nine days (i.e., next week’s Friday). Newmark (2001) suggests that there are seven types of ambiguity. (1) Lexical ambiguity may result from words having many senses or meanings. (2) Grammatical ambiguity, which is also called structural or syntactic ambiguity, usually occurs within the context of a poorly written sentence. For example, both notorious ambiguous groups as “John’s 12 book”, “slow neutrons and protons” and the less obvious ones as “modern language teaching” are considered good illustrations of this ambiguity. (3) Pragmatic ambiguity is similar in all language, provided that they are relatively culture-free. This ambiguity type is inevitably more common in written than in spoken language because the tone or the emphasis in a second language is not clear. The sense of “Goodnight” was widely understood as “Hello” or “Goodbye” when the day time is relevant. (4) Cultural ambiguity may arise if the function or the substance of a cultural feature changes at a point of time and the term remains whilst the period background is not clear in the second language text. (5) Idiolectal ambiguity occurs when a word used inappropriately and commonly in many situations although the users have never looked them up in a dictionary but have used them as a habit. (6) Referential ambiguity occurs when a sense of ambiguity prompts two or more images of the reality which the translator is trying to describe. (7) Metaphorical ambiguity can be found in most sentences that are hard enough to be examined their meanings. Unlike Newmark (2001), Hoenisch (2004) classifies ambiguity into four types. (1) Lexical ambiguity is the result of words having more than one possible meaning. For example, the word bank in sentence “John went to the bank” causes lexical ambiguity because it provides two different meanings the edge of the river or the financial institution. (2) Syntactic ambiguity is the result of phrases or sentences that can be understood in more than one way as in the example “put the box on the table in the kitchen”. The sentence may be paraphrased as put the box on the table which is in the kitchen or take the box on the table and put it in the kitchen. (3) Local ambiguity is the one cleared up once we have heard or read the whole sentence. For example, the word “train” in “the old train” can be considered to be “a means of transportation” or “guide”. However, this 13 phrase is not ambiguous once we hear or read the whole sentence “the old train left the station” or “the old train the young”. (4) Global ambiguity remains even after the entire sentence has been heard or read. The sentence “I know more beautiful women than Julia” is considered to be globally ambiguous because this could mean “I know women who are more beautiful than Julia” or “I know more beautiful women than Julia does”. We hardly know which meaning this sentence attempts to express even though we hear or read it carefully. According to Webber (2007), ambiguities are of three types. (1) Lexical ambiguity is defined as a word associated with more one part of speech or with more than one sense. (2) Structural ambiguity is defined as a string of words associated with more than one structure; and these structures are often represented by constituent structure trees. (3) Semantic ambiguity occurs when the same structures and word senses can still have multiple interpretations. This ambiguity type consists of Scope ambiguity and Referential ambiguity. (a) Scope ambiguity is defined as a word that can operate on the meanings of other words and structures, and hence may produce ambiguity. For example, the word “not” in the following example “David did not take the bus to the zoo” causes scope ambiguity because we can understand that “He did not take the bus to the zoo but he drove there” or “He did not take the bus to the zoo but he took it to somewhere” or “He did not take the bus to the zoo but he stayed at home”. In other words, different scopes of negation cause different meanings. (b) Referential ambiguity occurs when a term can refer to several entities of a sentence, so this sentence produces different interpretations. The sentence “David hid the keys of Fred’s car because he was drunk” is a good example of this ambiguity type. Considering the sentence, it’s hard 14 for us to know whether “he” is David or Fred. Therefore, he is a term that makes the sentence to be referential ambiguous. As mentioned earlier, ambiguity is always concerned with meaning. In addition, all of the linguists agree that although ambiguous words or ambiguous sentences can be understood in many ways, the speaker of these has one meaning in mind. That is, only one of meanings corresponds to what the speaker intends. Ambiguities resulted from meanings of words or expressions are called lexical ones, whereas structural ambiguities caused by a sentence which has more than one underlying structure, is called syntactic or grammatical. In addition, a word which can be more than one part of speech may result in both lexical and structural ambiguity. For example, sentences as (a) “Tom fed her dog biscuit” (Tran, 2006, p. 40) and (b) “We saw her duck” (Zhang, 2007, p. 5) are considered to be ambiguous in terms of both lexical and structural because the word her may be an objective pronoun or a possessive adjective. Therefore, sentence (a) can be understood as “Tom gave dog biscuit to her” or “Tom gave biscuit to her dog”. Similarly, sentence (b) can be interpreted as “We saw her quickly lower her head” or “We saw the duck of hers”. It is thus hard to draw a clear line between lexical and structural ambiguities if these two terms coexist in one sentence (Newmark, 2001). Although referential ambiguity is not always mentioned by these linguists, it is serious and pertinent to be solved because we hardly interpret the sentence accurately if it is referentially ambiguous (Webber, 2007). Like referential ambiguity, local and global ones are not paid much attention by language users though they obviously exist in all languages (Hoenisch, 2004). Scope ambiguities are mostly resulted from two elements. The first is an adverb of frequency followed by two verbs as always eat pies and refuse milk (Nguyen & Huynh, 2008) in which always may modify eat or both eat and refuse. The second is negative words in a sentence as no, not, hardly which may make the sentence ambiguous because no one knows which of the parts in a sentence or even the whole sentences is negated, so different scopes of negation also cause ambiguity (Webber, 2007). In addition, although scope ambiguity type does not 15 usually result in serious problems to users, it is very difficult for them to avoid because they cannot always produce affirmative sentences. It is also hard to disambiguate an ambiguous negative sentence since such sentence usually consists of several parts. Therefore, we hardly know that the negative word attempts to negate whether one part or whole sentence. Lexical ambiguous sentences after being added more context to be disambiguated are locally ones, as sentence She cannot bear children is lexical ambiguity; however, once it is added because children are noisy, it becomes a locally ambiguous sentence because the word bear means tolerate. To be specific, the whole sentence She cannot bear children because they are noisy is not lexical but local ambiguity because the meaning of this sentence is clear once we read the whole sentence. Since both local and global ambiguous sentences are considered to be ambiguous or disambiguous only when we finish hearing or reading the whole sentence, both of them can simultaneously be any other types of ambiguity such as structural, lexical, referential, scope and so on. How to identify and resolve ambiguity even though it is so complex and hard is very important to language users. Kempson (1996) designed an ambiguity test which suggests principles to help language users test whether or not a sentence is ambiguous. The ambiguity test will be introduced in the next section. 2.3 An ambiguity test An ambiguity test is the one which helps to distinguish between sentences which are ambiguous and sentences which are not, and helps to separate out cases of vagueness from cases of ambiguity, and which will give us some basis for deciding on the less clear cases (Kempson, 1996). Since ambiguities are usually hard to identify, language users should examine any phrase or sentence carefully before determining them to be ambiguous. In order to distinguish sentences which are ambiguous from sentences which are not, we should examine carefully the processes which refer back to an earlier part of the sentence. For 16 example, the expression “to do so too” in “John killed a bird today and so did Susie” (Kempson, 1996, p. 131) leads to the meaning that “Not only John but also Susie killed a bird today”, so this sentence is not ambiguous. In contrast, this expression in the sentence “Terry loves his wife and so do I” (Nguyen & Huynh, 2008, p. 12) causes ambiguity because we hardly know for sure that whether “I also love Terry’s wife” or “I also love my wife”. Thus, two sentences which have the same structure are not always simultaneously ambiguous (Kempson, 1996). This principle is good for both language learners and users to identify ambiguities and differentiate them from nonambiguous cases. As mentioned in section 2.1, ambiguity and vagueness confuse learners although they are not identical. Therefore, we should be certain of separating out cases of vagueness from cases of ambiguity. In order to distinguish ambiguity from vagueness, we have to find how many meanings the words or sentences provide. If there is more than one meaning in them, this is concluded that there is some ambiguity in the words or sentences. In contrast, if we do not know what meaning these words or sentences attempt to express, this is a case of vagueness. For example, “She likes xxx” is vague because no one knows what she likes, person or thing or flower, while “We watched the hunters with binoculars” is structurally ambiguous because “with binoculars” is either an adjective phrase to be the post-nominal modifier of the noun phrase the hunters or an adverb phrase to be the optional adjunct of means of the verb watched. In summary, ambiguity deals with a variety of interpretations in meanings. Regardless of how many meanings which are interpreted, there is only one precise meaning that is intended by the speaker or writer. Ambiguities are classified into a number of classifications (i.e., lexical, structural, scope, referential, local, global, pragmatic, cultural, idolectal, metaphorical). However, lexical, structural, scope and referential ambiguities are more popular, and more pertinent to be disambiguated (Newmark, 2001; Jacobs, 2003). Thus, these four ambiguity types will be analyzed and reported in the chapter of research results. These ambiguity types are defined shortly as (1) lexical ambiguity is caused by homonyms or polysemy in a sentence, (2) structural ambiguity occurs when a structure has more than one underlying 17 interpretation, (3) referential ambiguity is resulted from a word which may refer to more than one term of a sentence, and (4) scope ambiguity usually occurs in sentences which consist of adverb of frequency followed by two verbs, or negative words. Since ambiguous sentences resulted from words which can be more than one part of speech are both lexical and structural, the researcher considers these sentences lexical ambiguity so that it is easier to classify ambiguity types found from the results of research instrument. In the procedures of identifying ambiguities, the researcher employs the ambiguity test by Kempson (1996) to collect all of ambiguities in terms of lexical, structural, referential and scope. 18 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY This chapter will present the research method employed in this study. There are six parts in this chapter: research questions, the researcher’s hypotheses, research design, participants, research instruments, and procedures of test administration. 3.1 Research questions This research is guided by two research questions: (1). Do sophomore students of English Education CTU make ambiguities when they are writing in English? (2). What types of ambiguity are made by the students? 3.2 Hypotheses Basing on the related literature and the research questions, the researcher hypothesizes that (a) sophomore TEFL majors at CTU would make ambiguities in writing in English, and (b) more structural and scope ambiguities would be made than referential and lexical. 3.3 Research design This research follows a descriptive design in which the types of ambiguity sophomore TEFL majors at CTU make when writing in English are investigated. In this descriptive research, both qualitative and quantitative approaches to collect and analyze data were employed. That is, the data were analyzed first qualitatively to discover and describe the types of ambiguity. Then, these types of ambiguities were quantified as descriptive statistics in terms of frequencies. 3.4 Participants 29 English Education majors course 34 at CTU were invited to participate in this research. Their ages are commonly from 20 to 21. One of them has studied English for 11 years, 27 studied have studied English for 9 years and only one has studied English for 5 years. 19
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