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Author Topic: Sarcasm  (Read 4270 times)

Offline ucla_all_the_way

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Sarcasm
« on: February 16, 2011, 03:25:00 PM »
Recently my coteacher has told me that she has been hurt by some of my joking around and when I asked some more questions I realized that she was referring to some of my slightly sarcastic side comments that I've said in the past.  Coming into Korea I knew that sarcasm was something that Korean English speakers don't catch very well and I am generally not a very sarcastic person but I guess I had slipped up a couple of times.  Anyway I apologized and used the moment to begun to teach her about sarcasm, when to use it, how to use it, etc.

Does anyone have any experience explaining sarcasm to Korea English speakers?  Have you had any problems with sarcasm and your coteachers?  Any thoughts? 

Offline Colocelt

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 03:29:53 PM »
Hard to say, cross cultural humor is always a tough one. It is why idioms don't translate well. (Ever notice when they translate something that was REALLY funny, isn't that funny to you?)

It may start by you figuring out what they think is funny and sarcastic and work within that. Don't forget to "check for understanding", I have found that Koreans will nod when they are simply "hearing you", not necessarily "understanding you"

Offline Ectofuego

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 03:36:20 PM »
At first its a lot of touch a go.  Sometimes in our home countries it takes someone a while to understand your humor.  In korea its that 10 fold before they understand how you act and the way you make jokes.
It took a month or two before the korean teachers here really opened up to me.
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Offline Paul

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 03:59:01 PM »
I did a teacher's class lesson on it once last year. I believe I did it straight after one on word stress and meaning to explain the basics and contrast the two (I tried to go into basic irony as a follow up lesson so it was a 3 part group, although I found some of the staff struggled with that). The plan is attached, its pretty rough, but the teachers classes were fairly informal. That youtube video is brilliant as it shows a humourously tragic outcome from sarcasm.

I had the staff practice using it even (I do and I remember...) getting them to talk about how handsome or formally dressed Borat was sarcastically (the immediate reaction to that movie poster shot is gold, I guess the film never got translated here) -- that was well received -- followed by a bit of an activity / recognition game.
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Offline katrine

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 04:03:38 PM »
I haven't had much of a problem with sarcasm with my co-teachers, but it seems like the students understand the concept. Maybe it's a generation gap mixed with formal/informalness of Western v. Asian culture...? Older Koreans might find sarcasm offensive because there's this inherent formality between you two, and their humor might not match up with yours. But younger Koreans, and especially students, don't have that formality....and their humor is just different. All I know is that I've got a couple problem boys in my after school class, so if I make a comment about how they're such good boys, the other students get that I don't really mean they're good.

Offline elprofesor

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 07:53:53 AM »
satire isn't so funny in Korean culture.  Because these people are in the mentality to learn.  They have no notion of what you feel as far as what you are expressing with your English.  Stay away from that stuff for formal reasons.  Your stay in Korea might be smoother without sarcasm in the long run.  If you're a sarcastic person, well Korea will change you to be less sarcastic and more formal, stiff. 

The government is paying you money to work here.  They want to work you as much as they can.  It's serious business for them.  no time to laugh haha

Offline expertamateur

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 08:00:35 AM »
One time I caught my co-teacher reading a book. I saw the title of it, and said, "Oh, you're reading the Reader, huh?" She gave me this cold look that says, so what's your point? From that day on, I found myself restraining from making casual comments and jokes.
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Offline elprofesor

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 08:02:58 AM »
"On December 29, 2009, Samsung sued Mike Breen, and the Korea Times for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day, 2009"

see how serious and insecure Korean people are.  which is why most of Korea is conservative.

Offline Wretchard

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 08:12:01 AM »
"On December 29, 2009, Samsung sued Mike Breen, and the Korea Times for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day, 2009"

see how serious and insecure Korean people are.  which is why most of Korea is conservative.

Anyone have the column he wrote? I'd love to read it.

Offline rainesbaines

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 08:13:50 AM »
successful sarcasm requires nuance, which is easily missed/misunderstood, which leads to confusion, which causes loss of face.  avoid attempts at sarcasm at all costs...in most cases.

 ;D

that might explain why it is fazed out of adult interactions in korea but still possible in some cases with kids--adults have a lot more face to lose.

Offline chadteacher

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 08:26:31 AM »
I've had this experience as well.  Yesterday on the way to lunch, a teacher asked where another teacher was.  She is usually a part of our lunch group.  I explained to him "oh she doesn't like us".  He didn't quite get it.  Then I told him I was just kidding.  Yeah he still didn't quite understand.

Offline elprofesor

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 08:29:16 AM »
"On December 29, 2009, Samsung sued Mike Breen, and the Korea Times for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day, 2009"

see how serious and insecure Korean people are.  which is why most of Korea is conservative.

Anyone have the column he wrote? I'd love to read it.

Samsung is suing journalist Michael Breen over a satirical column that he wrote for the Korea Times. In it, he joked that Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee would receive a pardon as a Christmas gift from President Lee Myung-bak. Unfortunately for the author of “The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies,” his joke turned out to be prophecy, and on the very day that Lee received his pardon, Samsung sued Breen, the Korea Times, and its top editor “for $1 million, claiming damage to its reputation and potential earnings.” It’s hard to imagine how a column read by relatively few people could possibly cause a Goliath like Samsung so much financial damage. But that’s not the point of the lawsuit.


Michael Breen lawsuit
On December 25, 2009, Michael Breen wrote a controversial column that was meant to be satire. Breen depicted Samsung offering gifts to politicians, and also depicted Korean singer Rain as "Pee" although this was also a spoof-pronunciation by the older British singer Susan Boyle, and meant to make fun of Boyle and not Rain. However, the reference was interpreted by Koreans to mean something offensive about Rain himself. Further, the South Korean media mis-interpreted the entire column as an insult to Korea itself. On December 29, 2009, Samsung sues Mike Breen and the Korea Times, for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day 2009. Samsung dropped the charges following the correction and Michael Breen's apology.  ---- source: wikipedia

The Korea Times issued this apology:

Correction
The Korea Times would like to issue a further correction with regard to the column headlined “What People Got for Christmas” by Michael Breen (Page 6, December 25, 2009) and the related clarification (Page 1, December 26, 2009). The column indicated in its introduction that it was a factual roundup of stories in the news, and the columnist did not explain clearly at any point that it was intended to be humorous or satirical. As such, we accept that Korean and overseas readers might be sufficiently misled to believe that the claims in the columns were based on fact. However, The Korea Times has confirmed that the claims made in the column were entirely false and without foundation. The Korea Times published these claims without proper fact-checking and its initial clarification failed to sufficiently explain that the column misled readers. The Korea Times would like to sincerely apologize to both its Korean and overseas readers and those mentioned in the column. -- Korea Times (01-29-2010)

is the closest I got.  They pulled down the original.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 08:33:15 AM by app1e.s1128 »

Offline pippo11

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 08:29:54 AM »
"On December 29, 2009, Samsung sued Mike Breen, and the Korea Times for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day, 2009"

see how serious and insecure Korean people are.  which is why most of Korea is conservative.

Anyone have the column he wrote? I'd love to read it.

http://thebobster.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/micael-breen-%E2%80%9Cwhat-people-got-for-christmas%E2%80%9D/

Offline elprofesor

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 08:33:49 AM »
"On December 29, 2009, Samsung sued Mike Breen, and the Korea Times for $1 million, claiming criminal defamation over a satirical column published on Christmas Day, 2009"

see how serious and insecure Korean people are.  which is why most of Korea is conservative.

Anyone have the column he wrote? I'd love to read it.

http://thebobster.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/micael-breen-%E2%80%9Cwhat-people-got-for-christmas%E2%80%9D/

wonderful ^^

Offline adamwatch

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 09:02:29 AM »
"Breen depicted Samsung offering gifts to politicians, and also depicted Korean singer Rain as "Pee" although this was also a spoof-pronunciation by the older British singer Susan Boyle, and meant to make fun of Boyle and not Rain."

Considering the poor mental health of Susan Boyle I think making fun of Rain would have been better. I had never heard of the man until I came to korea yet Koreans think he is world famous

Adam

 

Offline hankmcmasters

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 10:21:36 AM »
i remember once when the chinese state news service picked up an onion article and ran it all over china.  the onion is fake news.

i have one co-teacher who actually gets angry at me when i talk about how koreans don't understand sarcasm.  she claims that i'm making a generalization and casting koreans in a poor light.  ive had some mixed experiences where sometimes koreans try to be sarcastic and actually convince me theyre being serious.  deadpan is just being polite here, i think its pretty easy to see how things could be confusing.

one of my university age students said that sarcasm was a literary device in korean, something like double entendre in english, as in using it might make you seem like a bit of a toff, and therefore slightly condescending.  thats just one person's take on it though

Offline jehall

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 10:46:10 AM »
Anyone seen the very successful Korean film, "The King and the Clown?" If that's to be belived than they have been doing satire and parodies for centuries! Although, come to think of it, I think they wanted to kill the performers for doing their satirical pieces...

Offline jchoe

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 10:56:25 AM »
Often I follow a sarcastic statement with "i'm lying" and that seems to help the few friends/coteachers who know me find the humor.

Offline elprofesor

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Re: Sarcasm
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 11:20:15 AM »
Anyone seen the very successful Korean film, "The King and the Clown?" If that's to be belived than they have been doing satire and parodies for centuries! Although, come to think of it, I think they wanted to kill the performers for doing their satirical pieces...

those jesters depicted in the film were of low class during that era. Koreans always strive for the highest class.