full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Christopher Warner: What is verbal irony?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Great weather we're having! Awesome job! You're a tremendous athlete! cmeintploms, right? Well, maybe. Depending on the attitude and tone of voice behind these lines, they very well may be compliments. They may also be, though, pointed and attacking lines. This sighlt change of attitude behind the lines rlveaes what we call verbal inroy. So when someone says, "Great weather we're having," it is quite possible that the proesn really means that if the sun is siihnng, the birds are sninigg, and the wind is calm. But if the weather is hlrroibe, the clouds are looming, and the wind is a raging tempest, and someone says, "Great weather we're having," he probably doesn't actually mean that. He probably means that the weather is horrible, but he has said the opposite. This is verbal irony when the speaker says the opposite of what he means. I know what you're thinking. Isn't this sarcasm, isn't the sakpeer being sarcastic? Yes. When a speaker says the opposite of what he means, that is verbal irony. When a speaker then goes the step farther to mean the opposite of what he says and seeks to be a little pointed and mean, like he's mnaikg fun of something, then you have sarcasm. Take the second example: "Awesome job!" Someone ahopcslimicng his life-long dream: awesome! Someone winning a sports championship: awesome! Someone rear-ends another car: not awesome. So when the passenger says, "Awesome job!" they probably mean the opposite with a hint of poking fun. That is verbal irony and that is sarcastic. "You're a talented athlete," said to an Olympian: aetuthinc, no verbal irony present. Said to the klutzy kid tnirppig into English class and spilling his bkoos and pcniel case all over the room, now that is just hsrah and verbally ironic because what you said is not what you mneat. That is verbal irony. You have said the opposite of what you mean. Additionally, since you have the itoenintn of mocking this poor person, you have not only been verbally ironic, but sarcastic as well. Beware, though. While all sarcasm fits the definition of verbal irony, not all verbal irony is sarcastic. Verbal irony is where what is meant is the opposite of what is said, while sarcasm adds that little punch of attitude. There are times, though, where another layer of meaning can be present without that sarcastic tone. algriht, now go out there and find those examples of verbal irony and sracsam. Good luck! No, seriously, I mean it, good luck. No, no, really, I truly want to wish you luck on this difficult task. Ok, ok, sincerely good luck. You can do it! No verbal irony here.

Open Cloze

Great weather we're having! Awesome job! You're a tremendous athlete! ___________, right? Well, maybe. Depending on the attitude and tone of voice behind these lines, they very well may be compliments. They may also be, though, pointed and attacking lines. This ______ change of attitude behind the lines _______ what we call verbal _____. So when someone says, "Great weather we're having," it is quite possible that the ______ really means that if the sun is _______, the birds are _______, and the wind is calm. But if the weather is ________, the clouds are looming, and the wind is a raging tempest, and someone says, "Great weather we're having," he probably doesn't actually mean that. He probably means that the weather is horrible, but he has said the opposite. This is verbal irony when the speaker says the opposite of what he means. I know what you're thinking. Isn't this sarcasm, isn't the _______ being sarcastic? Yes. When a speaker says the opposite of what he means, that is verbal irony. When a speaker then goes the step farther to mean the opposite of what he says and seeks to be a little pointed and mean, like he's ______ fun of something, then you have sarcasm. Take the second example: "Awesome job!" Someone _____________ his life-long dream: awesome! Someone winning a sports championship: awesome! Someone rear-ends another car: not awesome. So when the passenger says, "Awesome job!" they probably mean the opposite with a hint of poking fun. That is verbal irony and that is sarcastic. "You're a talented athlete," said to an Olympian: _________, no verbal irony present. Said to the klutzy kid ________ into English class and spilling his _____ and ______ case all over the room, now that is just _____ and verbally ironic because what you said is not what you _____. That is verbal irony. You have said the opposite of what you mean. Additionally, since you have the _________ of mocking this poor person, you have not only been verbally ironic, but sarcastic as well. Beware, though. While all sarcasm fits the definition of verbal irony, not all verbal irony is sarcastic. Verbal irony is where what is meant is the opposite of what is said, while sarcasm adds that little punch of attitude. There are times, though, where another layer of meaning can be present without that sarcastic tone. _______, now go out there and find those examples of verbal irony and _______. Good luck! No, seriously, I mean it, good luck. No, no, really, I truly want to wish you luck on this difficult task. Ok, ok, sincerely good luck. You can do it! No verbal irony here.

Solution

  1. pencil
  2. tripping
  3. accomplishing
  4. making
  5. sarcasm
  6. irony
  7. books
  8. alright
  9. shining
  10. authentic
  11. person
  12. meant
  13. reveals
  14. horrible
  15. intention
  16. harsh
  17. speaker
  18. compliments
  19. singing
  20. slight

Original Text

Great weather we're having! Awesome job! You're a tremendous athlete! Compliments, right? Well, maybe. Depending on the attitude and tone of voice behind these lines, they very well may be compliments. They may also be, though, pointed and attacking lines. This slight change of attitude behind the lines reveals what we call verbal irony. So when someone says, "Great weather we're having," it is quite possible that the person really means that if the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the wind is calm. But if the weather is horrible, the clouds are looming, and the wind is a raging tempest, and someone says, "Great weather we're having," he probably doesn't actually mean that. He probably means that the weather is horrible, but he has said the opposite. This is verbal irony when the speaker says the opposite of what he means. I know what you're thinking. Isn't this sarcasm, isn't the speaker being sarcastic? Yes. When a speaker says the opposite of what he means, that is verbal irony. When a speaker then goes the step farther to mean the opposite of what he says and seeks to be a little pointed and mean, like he's making fun of something, then you have sarcasm. Take the second example: "Awesome job!" Someone accomplishing his life-long dream: awesome! Someone winning a sports championship: awesome! Someone rear-ends another car: not awesome. So when the passenger says, "Awesome job!" they probably mean the opposite with a hint of poking fun. That is verbal irony and that is sarcastic. "You're a talented athlete," said to an Olympian: authentic, no verbal irony present. Said to the klutzy kid tripping into English class and spilling his books and pencil case all over the room, now that is just harsh and verbally ironic because what you said is not what you meant. That is verbal irony. You have said the opposite of what you mean. Additionally, since you have the intention of mocking this poor person, you have not only been verbally ironic, but sarcastic as well. Beware, though. While all sarcasm fits the definition of verbal irony, not all verbal irony is sarcastic. Verbal irony is where what is meant is the opposite of what is said, while sarcasm adds that little punch of attitude. There are times, though, where another layer of meaning can be present without that sarcastic tone. Alright, now go out there and find those examples of verbal irony and sarcasm. Good luck! No, seriously, I mean it, good luck. No, no, really, I truly want to wish you luck on this difficult task. Ok, ok, sincerely good luck. You can do it! No verbal irony here.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
verbal irony 10
good luck 2

Important Words

  1. accomplishing
  2. additionally
  3. adds
  4. alright
  5. athlete
  6. attacking
  7. attitude
  8. authentic
  9. awesome
  10. beware
  11. birds
  12. books
  13. call
  14. calm
  15. case
  16. change
  17. class
  18. clouds
  19. compliments
  20. definition
  21. depending
  22. difficult
  23. english
  24. examples
  25. find
  26. fits
  27. fun
  28. good
  29. great
  30. harsh
  31. hint
  32. horrible
  33. intention
  34. ironic
  35. irony
  36. kid
  37. klutzy
  38. layer
  39. lines
  40. looming
  41. luck
  42. making
  43. meaning
  44. means
  45. meant
  46. mocking
  47. passenger
  48. pencil
  49. person
  50. pointed
  51. poking
  52. poor
  53. present
  54. punch
  55. raging
  56. reveals
  57. room
  58. sarcasm
  59. sarcastic
  60. seeks
  61. shining
  62. sincerely
  63. singing
  64. slight
  65. speaker
  66. spilling
  67. sports
  68. step
  69. sun
  70. talented
  71. task
  72. tempest
  73. thinking
  74. times
  75. tone
  76. tremendous
  77. tripping
  78. verbal
  79. verbally
  80. voice
  81. weather
  82. wind
  83. winning