火曜日, 9月 28, 2004

As Sparkling As Ever

    "I want to say that the students' 目がいつものように、輝いています。”said a teacher at my school. "I mean to say it, sort of sarcastically, you know? How would you say it in English?" He showed me the words "Your eyes are as sparkling as ever." He meant that their eyes are shining with enthusiasm, eager to learn.
    "I think we would say, 'Your eyes are shining as brightly as ever,'" I said. Addressed to a bunch of first-year high school students, who have lately been dragging themselves around wearily like the very picture of apathy, this will come off as sarcastic all right. He means to put it in a newsletter. Who said they don't understand sarcasm in Japan?


  • At 6:57 午後, Blogger Matt said…

    I have this theory that the reason everyone thinks there is no sarcasm in Japan is because most Japanese people don't speak English well enough to pick up English sarcasm, and most native-English-speakers don't speak Japanese well enough to get the local version. Cause, seriously, I have a bunch of really sarcastic friends.

  • At 11:22 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Right. Any good examples of Japanese sarcasm? Please post them.
    The language barrier is like a net with holes too small to allow big chunks of sarcasm or other culturally influenced figures of speech through in either direction. When a person's language ability is good enough, the net becomes transparent enough to perceive these things. Sarcasm isn't as widespread and blatant here, though. If it was as common as in English-speaking countries we'd hear it all the time without even trying, don't you think?

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