A couple of days ago, I was listening to 99.5 RT’s “Disturbing the Peace”. Gibb said (one of the DJs hosting the show) that she attended some English seminar or something the day before. Anyway that’s when she said that even though she was quite comfortable with her capability to speak English, after the seminar she attended, she was quite sure she’d fail if she ever took an evaluation on proper English speaking. She didn’t share any specific rules because she apparently forgot to bring her notes but it was apparent that she was quite enlightened about how much she didn’t know. She even claimed that Sam, her co-host, would also fail if she ever took an evaluation. That actually surprised me because I thought their grammar was pretty spot on.
Now, my own English is passable at the very least. It isn’t my first language but I’ve learned how to comfortably use and think with it. 10 years of imposed primary and intermediate education on the subject might have helped bring that about. I’m pretty sure that I commit some errors here and there but overall, I’m quite conscious about these things. I actually tend to cringe whenever I use wrong grammar. The improper use of words is also a pet peeve of mine (the whole ‘your/you’re’ epic battle) but of course, I never really judged a person’s character by it. Personally though, I’d like to think that I can hold my own when conversing in English so I didn’t give it much thought. Then I saw this while getting my daily dose of 9gagism:
The first thing that I thought was, “That wasn’t irony. I think they meant hypocrisy, right?” At the same time though, I kind of understood what they meant because I use the word ‘irony’ in the same way. But at the back of my head, I really felt something was off and was genuinely bothered by it so I had to look it up. And what do you know? I have been using it incorrectly hahaha
The dictionary defines irony as “the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning”. Now that is how I define sarcasm. But apparently sarcasm need not always be ironic, but most of the time it is. Anything that is a jibe or a sneer or a taunt directed at someone can be considered sarcastic. But the way I use irony is kind of a comment on the whole cause and effect of things. And for this, I blame Alanis Morissette. Everyone knows the song “Ironic” and because of that, many people, including myself misuse that word everyday! Wahahaha
I love that song, don’t get me wrong. I always smile whenever it gets to the ‘as the plane crashed down’ part not because I’m glad that he was going to die (hell no!) but because that was the most amusing karmic chain of events during the song for me. But if you think about it, not one of the lines in that song actually equates to the denotation of irony. I guess the song would be more appropriate if it was titled “Unfortunate” or “Unlucky”. Let’s dissect it shall we? (Yes, we shall and you will have no say about it wahahahaha)
An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day – that was unfortunate
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay – just disgusting
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late – that was sad
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? – ummmm, so far no.
It’s like rain on your wedding day – that would be frustrating to say the least
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid – naivete
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take – stubbornness
Who would’ve thought, it figures
Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well, isn’t this nice.” – that’s definitely unlucky
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? – NO!
A traffic jam when you’re already late – irritating
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break – rule disobedience
It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife – the universe ganging up on you?
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife – that’s just plain tragic. hehe
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? – again, NO!
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think. – Well, I’m sorry but you’re wrong. Wahahaha
None of the lyrics actually meant the opposite of what was explicitly said. So thank you Alanis for screwing my English knowledge hahaha But then again, that’s how adaptable language is. If there is a common and shared understanding between individuals regarding what you mean by ‘irony’ and ‘ironic’, then in due time, that’s what the word will eventually come to mean. But one thing’s for sure though, ever since “Ironic” came out, that word became one of the most misused words in modern history. 😀