Communicating Sarcasm

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As social media becomes more and more prominent in our society, we have become more accustomed to digital media to express ourselves and communicate with others. However, this raises questions about our ability to signal different sentiments on these media. In particular, an issue that often arises is the question of communicating sarcasm over these media. Sarcasm is a disruptive factor that polarizes the meaning of a message and flips it completely. Before the digital era, studies often analyzed the verbal cues used to signal sarcasm. Signalling sarcasm is not a perfect science, however, studies have given us insight into how verbal cues, such as intonation, are used to signal sarcasm. Yet, in a digital medium the dimension of tonality is …show more content…
Capelli, Noreen Nakagawa and Cary M. Madden also supports this hypothesis. The authors conducted experiments with 32 third grade students, 32 sixth grade students and 16 volunteer undergraduate students who volunteered to participate as a comparison group. The study performed a similar experiment as the previous authors, they told the children a story under different conditions of sarcastic intonation and context and then asked for the children’s interpretation of the story. According to the authors a sarcastic intonation is “a mocking tone, in which the speaker greatly exaggerated the modulation of pitch and drew out the emphasized syllables longer than was the case for the neutral intonation. The experiment used four questions to test the comprehension of the children. They used an open-ended question about the intention of the speaker, a question about how the children had interpreted the relevant context information in terms of its consistency with the ending remark, an either/or question about whether the speaker was trying to convey the literal meaning of their utterance, and the fourth question was a follow up to the third question and asked the children to explain why they gave the answer they did. The results of the study indicate that early ability to interpret sarcasm may depend more heavily on intonation than context. For all three groups (third grade, sixth grade, and adult subjects) the number of sarcastic interpretations were …show more content…
The evidence supports the idea that both intonation and context contribute to the comprehension of sarcasm, which is indicative of the holistic nature of sarcasm. However, based on their findings, it is fair to say that intonation is an important element in signalling

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