On Wed., May 11, 1994, Bob Ingria wrote
Ahem, the message I posted a while ago, which first used the metaphor
of lexical dismabiguation as being akin to solving simultaneous
equations was trying to make just this point.  Perhaps I should
suggest that you try reading more carefully?
Perhaps I should not say this in a public posting, but it does strike
me that since today is, I think, the first day I have seen the word
"disambiguation" (though it's probably on the GRE someplace), and am
not at all sure what it means (I could hazard a guess, but...)
and since Bob seems to be using "ambiguous" in a different sense than
I am, I think, for myself, the issue may not be reading more carefully
but being able to grasp what I read.  I don't think I unfairly
characterized the posting that basically said word studies are
meaningless because words by themselves don't convey meaning, did I?
Or am I drawing the lines too sharply here?  I was pretty confident
that's what the "utterance" meant overall.  Finally, let me
clarify for you Bob what I mean when I say "ambiguous".  I'm no
linguist and have only read one book dealing with lexical
semnatics, so you may have a completely different definition for
this word, which points up the importance of individual words
in "utterances".  To me "ambiguous" means that it is not clear
from the word itself or even necessarily from the context what a
word or its container (a sentence, for example) means because there
is no sure way to figure that out.  That is not at all the same
as saying a word admits of different meanings but it is fairly
obvious what it means in a given context.  That does not seem
to be what you mean, so maybe you could explain what you mean
and perhaps choose some term other than "disambiguation".
I promoise to read it carefully (of course I read the
Apocalypse of John carefully!).

Ken Litwak
IBM, San Jose, CA