Published: JUNE 2021


Akase, Tiav Thomas, Ishima, Jighjigh Leo Justus & Kwarpo, Matthew Sylvanus

About Author(s):

Nasarawa State University, Keffi

Benue State University, Makurdi

Plateau State College of Health Technology, Zawan, Jos

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There are a number of grammatical or syntactic structures in sentences that are ambiguous in Tiv that make the interpretation of such sentences difficult to the listeners or readers. These grammatical or syntactic structures are a model of language discovery distribution of words that are both semantically and syntactically coherent; but the distributions sometimes create more problems semantically for they give room for dual interpretations. The result of this is that it affects effective communication since the meaning is not clearly brought out at a glance, thereby resulting into semantic complexity. This study therefore, examines syntactic ambiguity in particular and amphibology in Tiv and how they impede communication in the language. The causes of such semantic complexities and the strategies to be adopted to overcome those problems are also examined. Data for this study were gathered from Tiv speaking area of Benue state through conversation with the native speakers of the language and through participant observations. The findings of the study reveal that syntactic ambiguity and amphibology can be eliminated if there is a clear structural relationship between the various syntactic units in the grammatical structure of a phrase, or sentence and the phrases selected in our conversations are used denotatively rather than connotative  in the sentence structures to avoid confusion to readers and listeners.    

Keywords: Ambiguity, Syntactic ambiguity, Amphibology and Tiv.