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Bucket

Sarcasm? What's that?

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So, my friend's wife hates me. Not that I really care; most of the stories I hear about her lead me to believe she's a complete psycho. But that's beside the point. She tells my friend it's because I "talk down to her" and "use words to make her feel stupid". This would seem ridiculous, but he'd go on to say it's because I use a lot of sarcasm.

The thing here is that my friend's wife is from Poland. A few people have told me that sarcasm is really only prevalent in the US, where people use it as a social defense mechanism (an "ice-breaker", or some such). Apparently it's extremely rare in non-english-speaking countries and natives wouldn't know it if they heard it. So sarcasm in translation comes off as deceptive. I guess.

I find this hard to swallow. Back me up, guys.

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I work teaching English to foreign kids, and I can safely say that the sarcasm gets lost in translation. It's not as much a cultural thing, though, as it is simply a language barrier and an inability to detect it. Culturally, it's more prevalent in modernized "western" countries, and parts of Asian like Japan and Korea.

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People who find sarcasm offensive are idiots simply because when I use sarcasm I use it to spark some one else’s wit. Now there is a time and a place mind you and you have to understand not every one gets the joke.

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Bucket said:

most of the stories I hear about her lead me to believe she's a complete psycho.


She's a woman is she not?

Anyway, sarcasm isn't something only you Americans do. It's pretty damn common here in Sweden too. Actually, it's my bread and butter, so to speak.

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OK, so what you guys are saying is that sarcasm is hard to pick up because of having to translate; having no cultural exposure to sarcasm is, as I suspected, a load of shit.
Sounds about right.

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I know that I use sarcasm as an Ice Breaker and just to be an all around asshole occasionally.I'm pretty sure people from other countries are exposed to some form of sarcasm.

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As far as I'm aware, sarcasm is just another form of figurative language, and people use figurative language pretty much throughout the world, if I'm correct, so I don't see why sarcasm should be exclusive to a particular culture.

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I think it's like with lying really.

If you're used to doing it, you will easily pick up on it when someone else does it. But if you don't you'll not realize it when someone else is doing it.

Like me for instance. I never lie, and I never really think that a person is telling a tale when I am talking to them. Gullible is one word for it. :p

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Not an day goes by that I don't use sarcasm, and I don't care if people start to dislike me because of that.I can come up with some very sarcastic comments, and I know some people dislike that.I can be an nice guy one day and an big jerk the next day, I allready know that I am not going to change.

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It seems men tend to be more sarcastic than women.

Bucket said:
an "ice-breaker", or some such

Yeah, I've seen it used as an iceman breaker...

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myk said:

Yeah, I've seen it used as an iceman breaker...


I was just going to mention. Part of the reason I think people are having a hard time with this guy is he simply doesn't understand us.

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myk said:

Yeah, I've seen it used as an iceman breaker...

I'm surprised he can keep his cool under all that unending verbal abuse lol,Poor kid.

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Obviously it's because Americans are so superior to the rest of the world.

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Danarchy said:

Obviously it's because Americans are so superior to the rest of the world.

I didn't see that one coming.

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No it needs less because it's so blatantly obvious.

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In Thailand, they simply don't get sarcasm. I tried showing the movie "Hot Fuzz" to my Thai aunt and she didn't get it at all. No wonder there aren't any Thai comedians.

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Americans could take sarcasm lessons from us Aussies tho.

(And now you're asking yourselves, is he being sarcastic??)

:Y

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Use3D said:

I was just going to mention. Part of the reason I think people are having a hard time with this guy is he simply doesn't understand us.


He hasn't realized that we don't like him yet.

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Why do I get the feeling that Iceman57 works in an advertising agency. He doesn't much care how we respond so long as we're not ignoring his message. :-)

Bucket said:

She tells my friend it's because I "talk down to her" and "use words to make her feel stupid". This would seem ridiculous, but he'd go on to say it's because I use a lot of sarcasm.

The thing here is that my friend's wife is from Poland.

It sounds like a language barrier - or try knocking 20 IQ points off your remarks and see if that helps. Alternately you could resort to subtlety - the most devastating form of sarcasm - though that would mean moving to another English-speaking country in order to master the art.

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Haloless0320 said:

I'm surprised he can keep his cool under all that unending verbal abuse lol,Poor kid.

He's 29. Language barrier makes verbal abuse more tolerable.

As for sarcasm, it can be taken the wrong way and be perceived as offensive if you don't know your audience.

Perhaps your friend's wife hasn't been around you long enough to know that you're only kidding and mean well, in which case, toning it down may smooth out the interaction between the two of you.

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kristus said:

Anyway, sarcasm isn't something only you Americans do. It's pretty damn common here in Sweden too. Actually, it's my bread and butter, so to speak.

Kyka said:

Americans could take sarcasm lessons from us Aussies tho.

Pritch said:

In my (too) many years here I have seen many Americans dumbstruck when confronted with British levels of sarcasm...

You know American Sarcasm is an international export when these cute little countries trip over each other in their bid to outwit us.

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Doom Marine said:

You know American Sarcasm is an international export when these cute little countries trip over each other in their bid to outwit us.


Yeah, cause outwitting a yank is really tough stuff.

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GreyGhost said:

It sounds like a language barrier - or try knocking 20 IQ points off your remarks and see if that helps.

So... I should patronize her in order for her to feel like she's not being patronized.

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Like Pritch and Fraggle noted, I think the British can be far more sarcastic than Americans. I show my friends Father Ted and Young Ones and they just kind of stare blankly and tell me it's "weird". Of course, I have the same reaction when they show me anime.

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Bucket said:

So... I should patronize her in order for her to feel like she's not being patronized.

That about sums it up - watch that you don't go overboard and start using babytalk. :-)

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