OT: Sarcasm and irony

bryan rasmussen rasmussen.bryan at gmail.com
Tue Oct 10 12:41:27 CEST 2006

On 10/10/06, Max M <maxm at mxm.dk> wrote:
> bryan rasmussen skrev:
> > On 10/10/06, Steve Holden <steve at holdenweb.com> wrote:
> >> ... in America. It's well-known among Brits that Americans don't
> >> understand irony. They can be pretty oblique when it come to sarcasms
> >> too, for that matter.
> >
> > is that '....in America' meant to be an addendum to what I said, as in
> > this is the situation in America and not elsewhere? If so I should
> > probably point out that I am writing from Denmark and was thinking
> > specifically of a situation where a dane told me they were being
> > 'ironic' (when what they meant, obviously, was that they were being
> > ironical), when I asked what they meant by that they said "saying the
> > opposite of what I mean" I responded: "so, in other words, what you
> > mean by irony is 'sarcasm'" She responded "yes, that's what it means"
> Are you an american?
> Irony does mean that one says the opposite of what one really means.
> If you do it for humor its irony, if you do it for mocking it is sarcasm.
> So now I see... americans really *do* understand irony.

To reiterate:

Well irony originally started out as a very specific concept of the
 Ancient Greek drama, this is what we nowadays refer to as Dramatic
 Irony but it is the original irony. Irony then became a literary
 concept for plot elements similar to Dramatic irony in books, or a
 weaker type of the Dramatic irony found in the plays of Shakespeare.
 People then noticed that life was at times ironic in the literary
 manner. Nowadays the use of the word irony has degenerated to by
 pretty much synonymous with sarcasm.

Bryan Rasmussen

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