Investigating Iraqi EFL Learners' Awareness of English Ambiguous Sentences


This research is devoted to study the ambiguity in modern Standard English.By definition, ambiguity is a linguistic phenomenon in which a given text has more than one meaning or interpretation. Thus, this study aims at theoretically investigating the types of ambiguity and practically studying the Iraqi EFL learners' performance in dealing with ambiguous texts by means of a specialized test designed for this purpose. It is hypothesized that Iraqi EFL learners face difficulties in dealing with these sentences in both recognition and production levels. The test includes two questions, each with 25 items (see appendix). Results show that, at the recognition level (question 1), most Iraqi EFL learners (53.12%) fail in recognizing the ambiguous sentences, whereas at the recognition level the percentage of learners unable to disambiguate the given sentences increased to reach (58.24%) including the avoided items which are considered as incorrect in both first and second questions. The findings arrived at support the above mentioned hypothesis. The study ends with some of the recommendations for EFL teachers and learners and the way they encounter such sentences in spoken and written English.