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18.02.2024 Feature Article

Is Bro Mate in a deadly quagmire?

Is Bro Mate in a deadly quagmire?
18.02.2024 LISTEN

Ambiguity is our writing lesson for today. It is a word, phrase or statement which contains more than one meaning, leading to vagueness and confusion.

There are two types of ambiguity: lexical and structural or syntactic.

Lexical ambiguity is a single word with two or more possible meanings, or words that have multiple meanings, eg. I saw a bat. Bat can mean a flying mammal or a wooden club. Saw is the past tense of see, and can also mean to cut with a saw. So, I saw a bat can mean, I saw a flying mammal or a wooden club. And can also mean I cut a flying mammal with a saw or I cut a wooden club with a saw.

Structural or syntactic ambiguity is the presence of two or more possible meanings within a single sentence or sequence of words, eg. Call me a taxi. This could mean find me a taxi or call me by the name taxi.

I want to sound a word of caution to political communicators. Avoid ambiquous statements; it can be twisted by your opponents, and this can cost you an election victory. For example it is possible that Opana wanted to communicate that his party was going to do everything possible to win the 2012 elections, but decided to choose all-die-be-die, which I believe was one of the reasons why he lost the 2012 presidential election.

Having finished with today's lesson, permit me to recycle one of my favourite jokes to help me build my point for this write-up.

Gross insubordination is a serious offense; it is the refusal of subordinates to take instructions from their superiors. Unfortunately, acts of insubordination could be found every where including churches.

In a particular church, promiscuity and drunkenness was rife among members especially the youth. The Senior Pastor during a Sunday church service

preached: "If I had all the akpeteshie in the world, I'd take them and dump them into the river". And the congregation cried, "Amen!"

"And if I had all the apio in the world, I'd take them and dump them in the river". And the congregation cried, "Amen!"

"And if I had all the brukutu and Palm wine in the world, I'd take them all and dump them in the river". Again the congregation cried, "Amen!"

"And if I had all the kasapreko and alomo bitters in the world, I'd take them all and throw them in the river". And the congregation gave a thunderous shout, "Amen!"

The preacher sat down, and a deacon then stood up and said:

"For our closing hymn, let's turn to page 126 of our hymn books and

sing, 'We shall drink from that river."
The congregation screamed Halleluyah eiii!!!
Interestingly, like the insubordinate deacon and congregation, Opana Jnr. is trying to distance himself from the mess of his boss. And the backlash from this is becoming increasingly worrying which is an absolutely inescapable and inextricable quagmire if you ask me!

Anthony Obeng Afrane

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