What's in a Word | All Blogs


Zits: Biting words

By Debra Dobbins

Jeremy’s feisty, fed-up mom can chalk up yet another developmental milestone for her son. He now understands sarcasm.

Webster’s says that sarcasm comes from a Greek word that meant “to tear flesh like dogs, speak bitterly.”

In training to become a teacher, I learned not to use sarcasm with children. First and foremost, sarcasm teeters on the edge of rudeness or downright cruelty. Second, experts in child development say that children do not have sufficient language skills to recognize a speaker’s intent behind his or her words.

The ability to understand sarcasm must click on with the onset of teen hormones, because adolescents not only understand it, they often use this form of verbal jousting to great effect. Luckily for Jeremy, his mom knows how to lob back one-liners. Through her loving rebukes, he will probably learn when the use of sarcasm is OK and when it is not.

Webster’s gives some synonyms of the adjective sarcastic that are worth knowing:

Caustic  –   “implies a cutting, biting, or stinging wit or sarcasm [a caustic tongue]”

Sardonic  – “implies sneering or mocking bitterness in a person, or, more often, in his expression, remarks, etc. [a sardonic smile]”

Satirical  –   “implies as its purpose the exposing or the attacking of the vices, follies, stupidities, etc. of others and connotes the use of ridicule, sarcasm”

According to Wikipedia, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift as an example of a satirical novel. Swift, an Irish author in the early 1700s, satirized human nature and also took a few jabs at the English court of King George I.

NBC’s Saturday Night Live is one modern-day answer to Gulliver’s Travels. Since 1975, its satirical comedy sketches have skewered politicians, the rich and/or the (in)famous. It’s a popular show for adolescents of all ages. Perhaps SNL should get at least part credit when teens such as Jeremy become experts in sarcasm.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.




Recent Posts
Triple Plays Hosts Battle of the Bands for Record Store Day
By David Goe
Friday, April 17, 2015

Waiting for the seedlings to emerge
By Penny Stine
Friday, April 17, 2015

Trying to love lovage
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April is Addison’s disease awareness month
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Transitioning can be tricky
By Penny Stine
Monday, April 13, 2015


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy