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Postgraduate Program "Dimensions of Ambiguity"



The Symposium is over, but the program will still be available in the Symposium section of this website.

The same applies to the roundtable entitled "Analyzing Ambiguity - Linguistic Perspectives" of the SFB 833 "Bedeutungskonstitution - Dynamik und Adaptivität sprachlicher Strukturen". This program will also remain in the Symposium section of this website.


From their beginnings, the research areas of linguistics, rhetoric, and literary studies have been concerned with the topic of ambiguity in various respects. However, an interdisciplinary dialogue about the dimensions of ambiguity in language and text has merely been started. This cooperation within the "Minigraduiertenkolleg" (i.e. postgraduate program) constitutes more than the sum of the perspectives: we are of the opinion that new findings within the particular disciplines will contribute to the general understanding of ambiguity and will open up new perspectives on this much discussed area of research. The goal is to exemplarily study a series of single phenomena of ambiguity on various levels of language and communication, i.e. language system, discourse, genre, and text, on a synchronic as well as a diachronic level. Additionally, we want to pay attention to different manners and degrees of contextualization - from single words up to more complex cultural contexts. One primary topic is the opposition between disambiguation processes and the generation of ambiguity. Whilst the production of ambiguity in texts is in the focus of research within the study of literature, linguistics centers on disambiguation processes, at a discourse as well as at a theoretical level. Within the Minigraduiertenkolleg, we want to contribute to the revision of these opposing perspectives. We expect that finding the means and circumstances for the generation of ambiguity (i.e. in puns, in language innovation and in the generation of texts) will prove profitable. Furthermore, the connection to tangible linguistic conditions within literary studies might help to overcome the aporia of universal ambiguity. Within this project, rhetoric, English and Romanic linguistics as well as English literary studies are involved. Read on about the program