Imprecise language  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Often, infomal, spoken language, "everyday language" is less precise than any more formal or academic languages.

Language might be said to be imprecise because it exhibits one or more of the following features:

  • ambiguity - when two or more different meanings can be interpreted equally well from a certain word or phrase
  • vagueness - when borderline cases interfere with an interpretation
  • equivocation - ambiguity or vagueness within an argument
  • accent (logic) - when the use of bold or italics causes confusion over the meaning of a statement
  • amphiboly - when crucial premises in an argument are left implicit

While imprecise language is not desirable in various scientific fields, it may be helpful, illustrative or discussion-stimulative in other contexts. Imprecision in a discourse may or may not be the intention of the author(s) or speaker(s). The role of imprecision may depend on audience, end goal, extended context and subject matter. Relevant players and real stakes will also bear on truth-grounds of statements.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Imprecise language" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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