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Jurafsky: The Language of Food

Press coverage of Dan Jurafsky’s The Language of Food exposes readers to linguistic ideas ranging from etymology and vocabulary to pragmatics, the philosophy of language, computational linguistics, corpus studies, and linguistic anthropology. Here is a brief round-up of the stories.

Ambiguity, jokes, and trick questions

“If you choose an answer at random, what is your probability of being correct?” The question is, I think, pragmatically ambiguous. It features neither lexical nor structural ambiguity, yet the joke hinges on understanding the question in more than one way.