“How did you hurt your face?” Asked my concerned coworker.
“I hit my car,” was my matter-of-fact reply. Their looks of consternation made me realize that I had hit upon lexical ambiguity as well.
You see, lexical ambiguity is the linguistic property of a sentence containing more than one meaning. Puns are, arguably, the most well known form of lexical ambiguity.
In this case, “I hit my car” could mean: I was driving, and my car was hit by something in which the accident cause my wound. In the same manner, English speakers say, “I cut my hair.” When, in actuality, they were the recipient of the action.
I was driving, and I hit something with my car in which the accident caused my wound.
As I had intended to mean: I hit my own parked car with my own face.
Allow me to extrapolate: I accidentally hit the edge of my open car trunk door with my face at five am while trying to load the pineapple plants.
The McDonald’s House has a chocolate stoop that sits two steps higher at the top of my car’s inclined parking spot. This means that when the trunk is open, it is perfectly head height, as I found out. Therefore when one is rushing to load pineapple plants before having to depart for work, one is apt to meet a rude awakening. (Pun, oh so very, intended.)
The collision hurt, I cried, and my husband wiped up my tears, blood, and embarrassment.
Yet, the pineapple made it into the school’s community garden, and I collided into this fabulous example of lexical ambiguity as well. (Did you catch the other pun in there too?)
What are some examples of lexical ambiguity you have encountered? Or leave me a pun pertaining to pineapples, because that would be sweet!