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#1
Old 09-04-2009, 12:08 PM
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Tones of Voice that convey sarcasm, mockery, insincerity

from childhood — as part of taunting or making fun of someone to their face or within hearing distance of them, OR to imitate someone or some group or type of people who may not be immediately present, a lot of kids over the years would adopt a different voice, and their audience of people in their vicinity would seem to get it, that the speaker was not literally expressing what was being said at all, but was ridiculing it and/or ridiculing the target as if to say THAT PERSON or THOSE FOLKS would say or think something like this.

The usual tones of voice used for this were either a squeaky falsetto or an excessively nasal drone.

Do you all nod & recognize this from your own experiences & memory of such thing?


When kids do it, there are usually some gestures & maybe facial expressions that sort of go along with it, e.g., pointing at the victim beforehand and adopting awkward akimbo body posture and exaggerated facial expressions of some sort.


a) What does it mean to you (if anything) if adults do the "tone of voice" thing? Do you assume they are not "saying what they are saying" but are instead minicking or mocking someone else "who would say such a thing"?

b) People are normally held accountable for what they say. And here's this odd exception, if you think about it. Have you ever observed someone to express a completely socially unacceptable & provocative attitude in such a tone of voice and were left feeling like "that's actually what that speaker DOES think & feel" but felt reluctant to challenge or respond because it was said "as if some OTHER unnamed party were saying it and the speaker were just 'acting like' that unnamed party"?

OK, I can think of another similar exception: singing. A person can sing lyrics from a song and no one treats them as if they personally had expressed the meaning of those song lyrics. And it doesn't have to be a real song. You can invent one on-the-fly and sing out any phrase, if you see what I mean. People who don't recognize it as a known song aren't going to ask "Are you singing a song or are you saying what you're saying, only set to music?"

c) No one talks about this. I mean, have you ever discussed this phenomenon with anyone before?

Last edited by AHunter3; 09-04-2009 at 12:08 PM.
#2
Old 09-04-2009, 12:31 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Oh, look at me! My name is AHunter3! I'm so special! Bla bla bla!

Yes, adults do this, though not nearly as much as kids do. I think that voice tone and body language account for a huge amount (I've heard 93%) of our communication. And it's not just sarcasm, mockery, and insincerity, but a whole range of expressions. And yes, I've discussed this many times.

Singing, though? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
#3
Old 09-04-2009, 12:42 PM
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Weird. I just touched on this in a previous thread not more than an hour ago. Was my post from that previous thread what inspired this? Just curious.

Anyway, I think the person doing the mocking is usually the one that is on the losing end of an argument. So they resort to this "red herring" in order to detract from that.

This is true for both kid and adults.

Kids I can give a pass.

Adults; not so much.
#4
Old 09-04-2009, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn
Singing, though? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
Mixed-sex group wandering down the sidewalk chatting & goofing. One guy spontaneously sings "I want yo' BOD-day!". It's not at all as if he had said that as a statement, dude was just singing a fragment of a song, right? It's not mocking someone or making fun of anyone, but it's a way of saying something without "going on record" as having said it, know what I mean?

And I've seen people use that, inventing a "song" that did not exist until they sang out some phrase. Couple on the verge of breaking up, chatting semi-amicably but with intermittent barbed comments at each other. Out of nowhere she sings this short little ditty about "I masturbated last night next to you, I got no attention from you no more" or something like that. Hey, just singing a song, some song I heard once somewhere, ya know?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAKES View Post
Weird. I just touched on this in a previous thread not more than an hour ago. Was my post from that previous thread what inspired this? Just curious.
No, actually... just coincidence!

Quote:
Anyway, I think the person doing the mocking is usually the one that is on the losing end of an argument. So they resort to this "red herring" in order to detract from that.
Sure. It's hostility without a real argument to make. As inane as Calvin & Hobbs going at each other ("I'm Hobbs: ooka ooka ooka. Ha ha!")

But have you seen it "misused" as a way to express something without being on the hook for having actually expressed it? I think I have, on occasion. THAT'S actually what got me thinking on this whole phenomenon. How odd it is that by changing the timbre of your voice you can say something (so the sentiment does get expressed, and heard) but "it doesn't count" because you were mocking someone, in some fashion, even if no one has the fuzziest idea who you are mocking or for what, exactly.
#5
Old 09-04-2009, 01:17 PM
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Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about, and yes, I've discussed it at length, many times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
People are normally held accountable for what they say. And here's this odd exception, if you think about it. Have you ever observed someone to express a completely socially unacceptable & provocative attitude in such a tone of voice and were left feeling like "that's actually what that speaker DOES think & feel" but felt reluctant to challenge or respond because it was said "as if some OTHER unnamed party were saying it and the speaker were just 'acting like' that unnamed party"?
That's actually not an exception. When you "say" something, you convey your meaning not only through the definition of the words, but through your word choice, tone of voice, body language, and so on. So, when you use sarcastic or mocking tone and body language, you are in fact saying that the point of view you are expressing is one you don't agree with. It is more or less equivalent to prefacing the sarcastic statement with the words, "If I were some other [stupid/annoying/arrogant/bigoted/otherwise unappealing] person, I would be prone to say (or have said) the following:..."

And I don't really see singing as an exception either. Even if it's clear someone is singing a song written by someone else, there's still some understanding that they are endorsing that sentiment by singing it. And then, you can get into whether the song they're singing was written to be sincere (God Bless America) or ironic (America, Fuck Yeah!) and whether they're singing it sincerely or ironically. Say I walk down the street singing, "Oh, I hate little puppies, and all I want to do is wring their necks, oh yes, wring their necks!" Someone who hears me is absolutely going to think, "Are you singing a song or are you saying what you're saying, only set to music?" I guarantee it. In other words, they're either going to think I'm trying to be funny or I'm crazy.
#6
Old 09-04-2009, 01:30 PM
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And seeing your follow-up post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
Mixed-sex group wandering down the sidewalk chatting & goofing. One guy spontaneously sings "I want yo' BOD-day!". It's not at all as if he had said that as a statement, dude was just singing a fragment of a song, right? It's not mocking someone or making fun of anyone, but it's a way of saying something without "going on record" as having said it, know what I mean?

And I've seen people use that, inventing a "song" that did not exist until they sang out some phrase. Couple on the verge of breaking up, chatting semi-amicably but with intermittent barbed comments at each other. Out of nowhere she sings this short little ditty about "I masturbated last night next to you, I got no attention from you no more" or something like that. Hey, just singing a song, some song I heard once somewhere, ya know?
That's two totally different things, and the difference is whether the singer is attempting to communicate or not. In the first example, he's not, unless he was actually trying to flirt with someone there. He's basically just reproducing a bit of art. In the second example, she's clearly trying to communicate her displeasure with her mate, whether she made up those specific words or not. No one in their right mind would think, "Oh, she didn't really mean that, because she was singing it."

If you saw me walking down the street singing, "Maria, I just met a girl named Maria," then you'd probably not assume I really did just meet a girl named Maria, even if you don't know West Side Story, because it's out of any conversational context. But if I ran into you on the street and you said, "Hey, what's new with you?" to which I replied, in song, "I just met a girl named Maria," then you might well think actually I did, because it seems like I'm trying to communicate with you, given the context of our conversation.
#7
Old 09-07-2009, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Oh, look at me! My name is AHunter3! I'm so special! Bla bla bla!

Yes, adults do this, though not nearly as much as kids do. I think that voice tone and body language account for a huge amount (I've heard 93%) of our communication. And it's not just sarcasm, mockery, and insincerity, but a whole range of expressions. And yes, I've discussed this many times.

Singing, though? I'm not quite sure what you mean.
I've never understood the idea that these two things convey so much information. I mean, I could have an entire conversation with you on here, without you having a clue about my body language or tone of voice. Yet, I can barely make myself intelligible to the foreign girl down the road who doesn't speak English.

Anyways, it doesn't make sense. Why did so many groups spontaneously come up with spoken language when they couldn't understand each other if those other things could convey so much of the information?

OP: I think nobody talks about this because it's so obvious to most.

a. They are mocking or trying to be funny by imitating the little kid. Unless their voice is somehow naturally like that, there's no other reason to communicate in that way.

b. Again, that's the point of doing it that way.

Last edited by BigT; 09-07-2009 at 04:02 AM. Reason: forgot to answer op
#8
Old 09-07-2009, 12:33 PM
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Let me start over (sort of). I understand kids doing it, I understand how it works when kids do it, I understand why they do it.

Fast forward to other, older contexts.

a) Someone in your group of people speaks in this same affected tone of voice. They do not point at someone or otherwise specifically indicate that they are mocking a specific "someone" or a representative member of some other group. I know it's going to depend somewhat on context and what is actually said but in general do you assume the person doing this is mocking someone even if you don't 'get' the unstated part which is who it is who is being mocked? Or would you only assume that if you did, indeed, get a sense of who the intended target is from the context and content?

b) In contrast, have you ever been in a situation where you felt like someone was making "deliberate misuse" of this phenomenon, saying something in this fashion as a mechanism for distancing his or herself from what is being said (by pretending to be mocking someone as opposed to 'saying it themselves' even though, umm, they ARE saying it themselves in the literal sense) a situation where for one reason or another you felt that they were voicing their actual sentiments and using the "mocking voice" to distance themselves from any accountability / reduce likelihood of anyone asking "What the fuck did you say that for?" -- ?

c) And, inversely, have you ever challenged anyone, or seen anyone BE challenged, for what they said in "mocking voice" as if they were indeed accountable for it, and never mind absence or presence of "mocking voice"? In other words, ACCUSING someone of doing the item b) thing and/or simply disregarding the social cue of the "mocking voice" altogether? (If you think this happeend because the listener simply MISSED the cue that this was done in "mocking voice", please add that info. That's really a different phenomenon than catching it but considering it to be a deliberate misuse, but I'm still interested in cases where that happened and especially how people reacted and whether they explained the whole "mocking" thing or just said "chill out" or whatever)
#9
Old 04-29-2013, 09:54 AM
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wow

Imagine being from another planet, or having aspergers syndrome like Christpoher Boone (The Curious incident Of The Dog In The Night time, its a good book)
He only understands four faces, does not6 understand emotion or anything along those lines.
It would be so hard to adapt!
I know that I'm still learning myself :')
#10
Old 04-29-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
b) In contrast, have you ever been in a situation where you felt like someone was making "deliberate misuse" of this phenomenon, saying something in this fashion as a mechanism for distancing his or herself from what is being said....
Can you come up with an example of this?

Last edited by you with the face; 04-29-2013 at 10:42 AM.
#11
Old 04-29-2013, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
Can you come up with an example of this?
I should hope so. He's had four years to think of one.
#12
Old 04-29-2013, 09:08 PM
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I had actually been planning to ask a thread about this. "What's your sarcasm/mockery/insincerity voice?' Mine sounds sorta like Marvin the Martian.
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