Friday, June 8, 2012

Sarcasm, Irony, and the Importance of Tone

Hello, and happy Fun Friday! The other day I was looking for English videos on the internet and I came across this video from the program The Kids in the Hall. Watch it and note how important tone can be in speaking a language (by the way, they use the word "mingle" a few times; "to mingle" means to go talk to different people informally in a social situation):


I think this video is great because it shows how important tone can be in a conversation. When we speak directly with someone, it's much easier to understand the tone of what he or she is saying (in other words, if we can't hear how a person says something, it's hard to know if he or she is being sincere, joking, or even sarcastic). On the other hand, if we read something, the tone is often unclear, which is why it can be difficult and problematic for beginning students to communicate with text messages, email, or instant messages.

I think this may be a problem in some of my classes, at least in lower levels, since I often like to joke around with my students and use sarcasm, but I'm not sure if they understand that I'm joking sometimes. I think the tone of what I say is often lost in translation.

Anyhow, it's something to think about over the weekend. I hope you have a great one, and we'll see you again on Monday! Thanks for reading!

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-Ryan