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    • Join Date: Mar 2010
    • Posts: 61
    #1

    Smile Could anyone help please? Thanks everyone.

    Hey everyone I posted a similar question but I did not get any replies – I think my question was over complicated. I have simplified it and I can’t tell you how much I would really appreciate your opinion please. Thank you very much guys.

    Speakers opinion 1):
    “We learnt so much more in that lesson. I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe.”
    Speakers opinion 2):
    “We learnt so much less in that lesson. I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe.”

    If we say that opinion 1 was said in a genuine way (without any indications of sarcasm) as a listener we assume the student has a very positive opinion regarding the lesson (as the student is saying they learnt a lot and they definitely understand something that was taught). Even with a laugh at the end “hehe” I still feel the student could mean this opinion in a genuinely positive way (maybe they are surprised by their own enthusiasm, etc) – would you agree?

    We know from the first part of opinion 2 that the student is displeased with the lesson as they didn’t learn very much. One would expect the following part of opinion 2 “I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe” to also be a negative opinion in some way. Perhaps it could be sarcastic actually meaning the student doesn’t understand distance-time graphs. Or alternatively the second part of opinion 2 (“I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe”) could be meant in a displeased way for example if the student feels distance-time graphs are too basic for their level of education and they are mocking the teacher by actually meaning something like ‘at the very least we know about the distance-time graphs now’.

    My main question is if the speaker meant the part of the opinion “I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe” in a negative way regarding the lesson (as in the ways suggested in the above paragraph or any other ways) do you think it would be communicated in a different way to the way it would be communicated if the speaker is pleased/happy that they have definitely understood something? E.g. a different tone of voice for the word “definitely”, perhaps a different type of laugh “hehe” or even other indicators such as rolling eyes, shaking head, sighing, etc? Or do you think the listener could interpret the negative meaning of “I definitely know about the distance time graphs now, hehe” if it was said in a genuine way without any of these clues?

    Thank you.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,221
    #2

    Re: Could anyone help please? Thanks everyone.

    Rich, I think the reason you're not getting any further responses to your repeated question on the same topic is that anyone who had anything to say on this topic has already said it.

    Tone of voice is essential for understanding sarcasm. Reading a transcription of what was said will never tell us what was meant.

    It's even possible they learned a lot in the lesson and the person is unhappy because he thought they spent too much time on the subject or covered it too thoroughly.

    If you asked someone what time it was, and he told you the time zone in every major city in Europe including where you were standing, you could say "Well, that was a thorough answer. I certainly know what time it is now!" to your friend afterwards. It could have the same intention is the statements you use.

    I'm also unable to imagine the laugh at the end for either a positive or negative meaning.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


    • Join Date: Mar 2010
    • Posts: 61
    #3

    Re: Could anyone help please? Thanks everyone.

    Thanks very much for the information

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