The assignment would have been to look for double entendre, wordplay…lexical ambiguity!…in popular music.
So, as the two of you reading this blog know, I’m teaching this Psych of Language course, and it’s tough going. Apparently, it’s difficult stuff for the students, having to understand terms like “relative” as in relative clause and “inflection” as in inflectional morphology and “adjuncts” and “ambiguity” — well, you get the picture. Lots of anguish all around.
A week or two ago, when I was thinking about asking the students questions such as “Why do we care SO MUCH about ambiguity when we study language?” and “Why do we create so many experiments using ambiguous stimuli, from the phonological level through words and syntactic structures?” I thought I’d create a fun assignment.
Of course, being an Elvis Costello fan I can think of scores of examples of his, but besides John Lennon (and my wife mentioned Eminem) I was lost…any help out there?