Sarcasm punctuation mark aims to put an end to email confusion

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Rav, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolo...rk-aims-to-put-an-end-to-email-confusion.html

    I'm sure some of you have already seen this. Apart from the fact that there are already a few symbols that people typically use to convey sarcasm, such as ;-), I think this is a terrible idea, and I'll tell you why.

    First of all, part of the fun of sarcasm is when, in any given situation, only about half of the people involved suspect that you're actually being sarcastic. I'm talking about that more evolved, more subtle form of sarcasm that's only recognized by more discerning people, or by people who know you really well. If we were to adopt a standard symbol, and use it every time we were being sarcastic, all of that would be lost.

    One might quickly conclude that this isn't necessarily a problem because you could just choose not to use the symbol. But if it became as common as say, the exclamation mark, not using it might lead some readers to feel more certain that you are definitely not being sarcastic. This could potentially lead to more misunderstandings, rather than less.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm going to be very upset if my ability to effectively shit stir someone on a forum, without annoying the hopefully more intelligent moderators, is compromised!
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    If readers can't or don't recognize a written piece as sarcasm, then it's not sarcasm. Sarcasm must be recognized as such or the entire meaning is simply lost ...for both the writer as well as the reader. Better not to write anything.

    That's nothing but a feel-good excuse when you're not a good enough writer to write sarcasm that's recognizable.

    Sarcasm is usually best written for people who know the writer, otherwise it can cause nothing but problems and anger and ...whatever.

    Again, if sarcasm is not recognized by your readers, then you're not a very good writer.

    Okay, all that being said, I agree that a symbol is truly idiotic.

    You talk about stirring up shit here at the forums using sarcasm, but I'd suggest that you keep the sarcasm to a minimum or else it, too, will become nothing to anyone who reads your posts. They'll simply think that you're being sarcastic when you really weren't. Be a better writer and you won't have any difficulties .....sarcasm or not.

    Baron Max
     
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  5. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    Yeah that'll work (!)
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In speech, sarcasm is usually identified by tone of voice. (Except in expressions that have been institutionalized like "I could care less," or are obvious like "Now isn't this just a perfect day for a picnic?") That doesn't seem to spoil the fun. So I don't see why you think it would spoil the fun to identify it in writing. I always do, and I'm a master of sarcasm.

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    Comedians employ sarcasm routinely for audiences full of strangers, and in order to do their job they have to make sure everybody gets it. I imagine when they're off duty with their friends the last thing they want to be is sarcastic.

    In a place like this sarcasm can be deadly. Even among native English speakers we have people from several of the anglophone countries, and I assure you that we don't understand each other's attempts at sarcasm any more than I can understand why Benny Hill was supposed to be funny. I'm sure Brits feel the same way about Cheech and Chong. According to the Aussies here, in their country it's common practice to hurl incredibly vile insults at one another as tokens of affection; I guarantee they'd be beaten up the third or fourth time they try it over here--and that's not a sarcastic statement.

    When it comes to people who aren't native anglophones and whose cultural differences are even greater, I don't know how you could expect them to cope with sarcasm in speech, much less in writing.

    This is an international forum so don't take any chances. Use the damn symbol, you twits!

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  8. John99 Banned Banned

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    isnt the whole point of sarcasm is not to be readily identifiable?
     
  9. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    Yeah, of course it is (!)
     
  10. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I like that idea. I'm very literal, and often don't notice sarcasm.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    What a preposterous notion! That's saying that the purpose of this particular form of communication is NOT to communicate!

    If this were the case, then sarcasm would fall into the category of a cant, like Shelta or Pig Latin. Sort of an elaborate code, that only insiders understand, and which they speak for the specific purpose of concealing what they're talking about from outsiders.

    Sarcasm is a type of humor, and the purpose of humor is to entertain. To thwart the attempts of outsiders to understand the statements is to deny them the entertainment value and the good feelings that come from being entertained. Who would do that, except perhaps a clique of insecure preadolescents who are a little slow in figuring life out?

    The masters of sarcasm are professional comedians, and they make great effort to ensure that no one is left out, so that everyone goes home happy and full of endorphins.

    And of course there's an even worse down side to stealth-sarcasm: the fact that people will interpret your intended humor as literal truth and act on it. If one of your friends asks whether you and Suzy are still a couple, and you say, "Oh yeah, we're really in love," in such a way as to sound like you mean it, when in fact you hate each other, one of the outsiders is going to set you up to work with Suzy on the class project.
     
  12. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Lol!(!)
     
  13. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    I was assuming you could use two punctuation marks in a row?(!)
     
  14. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    See how fun this is?(!)
     
  15. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    What??!! Surely you're being sarcastic, right? Or is that "ironic"? Or one of those other "things"? You're just plain wrong, Fraggle.

    Sarcasm is NOT a type of humor. In fact, it's almost the exact opposite ...it's cutting, nasty, contemptuous remarks intented to be hurtful of someone or some group. In fact, if it's not actually hurtful, then it's not sarcasm!

    Yes, sarcasm can be humorous, but ONLY if everyone is fully aware that it's sarcasm. If a comedian starts making racist remarks without being introduced on stage or isn't well known, he just might have some problems with his brand of "humor".

    If you don't know it's sarcasm, then it ain't sarcasm and you have the right to beat the shit outta' the guy!

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    Fraggle, you're the linguistics moderator and forum leader, I think you should do some more research on "sarcasm" ....I think you've missed it completely.

    No, none of the above is an attempt at sacrcasm ....I'm being completely honest and factual.

    Baron Max
     
  16. John99 Banned Banned

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    *John you have received an infraction at sciforums. Have a good day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  17. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    You mean that humour is never at someone else's expense?
    Humour doesn't ever make someone look stupid/ ridiculous/ cause them pain of one sort or another?
     
  18. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    And that's different to sarcasm. Poking fun at hick, backwoods rednecks at a club in the middle of Manhattan is humor at the expense of the hick, backwoods rednecks ....but they don't hear it or know it (since no rednecks frequent comedy clubs in Manhattan!).

    Try the same exact style of humor in Redneck-ville, Missouri, and see just how funny it is for everyone.

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    Baron Max
     
  19. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Which doesn't explain people finding someone falling over, or suffering any other misfortune, when we're right there with them being funny.
    You've never laughed AT someone? Someone who's been right in front of you?
     
  20. John99 Banned Banned

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    It is not preposterous. Comedy and sarcasm are two different things.
     
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Humor, or laughing at someone's misfortune might be funny, but that's got nothing whatsoever to do with "sarcasm".

    Sarcasm is basically making cutting, nasty, hostile, contemptuous remarks about someone or some group or some beliefs or ...whatever..., yet in such an atmossphere or audience so as to be humorous. Remember, a cutting, nasty, hostile, contemptuous remark about someone might get you killed ....so there's a big difference in HOW sarcasm is used and with whom it's used.

    Being a black comedian and making nasty, contemptous jokes in a comedy club full of blacks might be sarcasm and funny as hell. But do that same routine in the middle of the ghetto might get you killed .....and that probably won't be funny for you!

    Baron Max
     
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Apart from the fact sarcasm is getting a laugh at someone else's expense.

    Which only points out that one should judicious in the use of sarcasm.
    Or, indeed, in leaving banana skins for passers-by.
    You never know what'll happen...
     
  23. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, but not misfortunes or accidents or......

    Yes, because sarcasm is NOT humor unless everyone knows that it's sarcasm. Or at least has a good sneeky suspicion and doesn't jump to conclusions and kill the speaker.

    Please forget that kind of "humor" ....it's NOT sarcasm.

    Baron Max
     

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