Idiomatic versus Literal Interpretations of Ditropically Ambiguous Sentences "Ditropically" ambiguous sentences (each having both a literal and an idiomatic interpretation) were prepared for listener's discrimination judgments, and for silent readers' rankings on an "idiomaticity" scale. Listeners were unable to discriminate the literal from the idiomatic versions when presented with randomized single sentences excised from paragraph contexts. There was ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 1981
Idiomatic versus Literal Interpretations of Ditropically Ambiguous Sentences
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diana Van Lancker
    Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Gerald J. Canter
    Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 1981
Idiomatic versus Literal Interpretations of Ditropically Ambiguous Sentences
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1981, Vol. 24, 64-69. doi:10.1044/jshr.2401.64
History: Received October 29, 1979 , Accepted February 4, 1980
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1981, Vol. 24, 64-69. doi:10.1044/jshr.2401.64
History: Received October 29, 1979; Accepted February 4, 1980

"Ditropically" ambiguous sentences (each having both a literal and an idiomatic interpretation) were prepared for listener's discrimination judgments, and for silent readers' rankings on an "idiomaticity" scale. Listeners were unable to discriminate the literal from the idiomatic versions when presented with randomized single sentences excised from paragraph contexts. There was a bias toward interpreting the sentences as idioms, which correlated with rankings of each sentence for its likelihood of idiomatic use. Listeners were easily able to identify the literal and the idiomatic versions of the same ditropic sentences presented in pairs or singularly, when speakers sought purposively to convey the contrasting meanings.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access