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Table of Contents i



A Background of Research 1



A Theory of Language and Thought 3

1 Definition of Language 3
2 Function of Language 4
3 Definition of Thought 6
4 Relation between Language and Thought 6
B Theory of Sarcasm 7
C The Process of Collecting Data 8



A Result of The Research 10

B Conclusion 13



A. Background of Research

The twenty-first century is developing into a time of technological

advancements. There are many additions to the available technological
resources. As it advances, it also spreads worldwide. The current focus of
the globalization of technology is the connection created by networks of
social media.

Social media is a brilliant tool that can be easily used by those who
have access to it. As access is gained globally, it creates opportunities to
those who are first experiencing the use to outsource ideas. 1 One of the
most used social media is Facebook.

Facebook is a social media that facilitates its users to share their

feelings, photos, links of news, videos, and many else. In Indonesia, nearly
63 million people accessed Facebook via a mobile phone at least once per
month last year, according to a new eMarketer forecast, which for the first
time breaks out mobile phone Facebook users by country. This number of
users makes Indonesia home to the third-largest mobile phone audience
in the world, after US and India.2

Within those marvelous numbers of Facebook users, there are many

various background of education, social, ages, professions, etc. Male and

1 Jessica Bieber, (2014), Impact of The Globalization of Social Media: The Role in
Euromaidan, retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from
2 Facebook Users in Indonesia Have Highest Mobile Usage Rate Worldwide,
(2015), retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from

female from elementary school until professor have Facebook account.
From uneducated until well-educated persons both also use Facebook.

Things that people usually post on Facebook are status of what they
are thinking or feeling, photos, videos, national and international news,
and also sarcastic postsboth in own status or comment of others status.
In this paper, only sarcastic posts will be the focus of this mini project.

The reported valence of sarcastic post depends on the writers

common ground (knowledge, perceptions, and experiences). The more
knowledge someone has, the more perceived politeness is increased, the
more negative impressions of sarcasm can be reduced, while the
perceived effect of sarcastic speakers are improved (i.e, anger &

In processing languagein this case is sarcasm sentenceswe need

thought. Thought is a mental process which allows someone to make a
conscious decision, to imagine and generally operate on a rational
symbol. There are ideas in the mind. These ideas make a person easy to
think and to determine something.4

We cannot deny that between language and thought there is a tight

connection, but the experts have different point of view on determining
their connection. Some of them said language affects and makes thought,
some others proposed that thought comes first and language is only an
aid to thought, while other experts believed that language and thought
are interdependent.

According to me, I more prefer to the second proposition which

states that thought will determine the quality of language. In this paper, I
would present some cases that will emphasis that theory. The data will be
3 Joel Mounts, (2012), A History of Sarcasm: Effects of Balanced Use of Sarcasm
in a Relationship, retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from
4 Thought (Disambiguation), (2016), retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from

displayed here is differences of sarcasm posted by people who is
educated and by those who have less knowledge and experiences. In
doing this, first thing that should be done is observing the common
ground of two Facebook users, then analyze the differences of their
sarcastic post.

This mini research in conducted under Language and Thought sub-

topic. I chose this sub-topic as my focus because I realize how tight the
connection between language and thought is. As an active social media
user, I frequently find various dictions used by various social media users
on their posts. I think the diction people chose is based on their
knowledge, and knowledge is acquired through education in formal and
informal institution, books, courses, experiences, etc. Many cases show
that uneducated persons tend to use harsher and more impolite language
on their postsespecially when they make any sarcasm statementsthan
the well educated persons do. Deriving from this point, I would like to
conduct a mini research discussing about it and displaying some data to
support the finding.


A. Theory of Language and Thought

1. Definition of Language

Based on the Oxford Dictionary, language is the method of

human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of
words in a structured and conventional way. While based on Meriam
Webster, language is the system of words or signs that people use to
express thoughts and feelings to each other.

Many definitions of language have been proposed. Henry Sweet,

an English phonetician and language scholar, stated: Language is the
expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words.
Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of
ideas into thoughts. The American linguists Bernard Bloch and George L.
Trager formulated the following definition: A language is a system of
arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates.
Any succinct definition of language makes a number of presuppositions
and begs a number of questions. The first, for example, puts excessive
weight on thought, and the second uses arbitrary in a specialized,
though legitimate, way.5

We can say that language is a formal system of communication

which involves the combination of words and/or symbols, whether written
or spoken, as well as some rules that govern them. Language interacts
with every aspect of human life in society, and it can be understood only if
it is considered in relation to society.

When people have begun to reflect on language, its relation to

thinking becomes a central concern. Several cultures have independently

5 Robert Henry Robins and David Crystal, (2015), Language, retrieved in January
2nd 2016 from

viewed the main function of language as the expression of thought.
Ancient Indian grammarians speak of the soul apprehending things with
the intellect and inspiring the mind with a desire to speak, and in the
Greek intellectual tradition Aristotle declared, Speech is the
representation of the experiences of the mind (On Interpretation). Such
an attitude passed into Latin theory and thence into medieval doctrine.
Medieval grammarians envisaged three stages in the speaking process:
things in the world exhibit properties; these properties are understood by
the minds of humans; and, in the manner in which they have been
understood, so they are communicated to others by the resources of
language. Rationalist writers on language in the 17th century gave
essentially a similar account: speaking is expressing thoughts by signs
invented for the purpose, and words of different classes (the different
parts of speech) came into being to correspond to the different aspects of

2. Function of Language

Language functions refer to the purposes in which we use

language to communicate. We use language for a variety of formal and
informal purposes, and specific grammatical structures and vocabulary
are often used with each language function.

If we think about a function of language as one that serves a

purpose we can see that much of what we see can be considered to be
functional. Some of our words convey meaning, some convey emotions,
and some actually produce actions. Language also provides endless
opportunities for fun because of its limitless, sometimes nonsensical, and
always changing nature. In this section, we will learn about the five
functions of language, which show us that language is expressive,
language is powerful, language is fun, language is dynamic, and language
is relational.

a. Language is Expressive

6 Ibid.

Verbal communication helps us meet various needs through our
ability to express ourselves. In terms of instrumental needs, we
use verbal communication to ask questions that provide us with
specific information. We also use verbal communication to
describe things, people, and ideas. Verbal communication helps
us inform, persuade, and entertain others, which as we will learn
later are the three general purposes of public speaking. It is also
through our verbal expressions that our personal relationships
are formed. At its essence, language is expressive. Verbal
expressions help us communicate our observations, thoughts,
feelings, and needs.7

b. Language is Powerful
The contemporary American philosopher David Abram wrote,
Only if words are felt, bodily presences, like echoes or
waterfalls, can we understand the power of spoken language
to influence, alter, and transform the perceptual world. This
statement encapsulates many of the powerful features of
language. The powerful of language expresses our identities,
affects our credibility, serves as a means of control, and
performs actions.8
c. Language is Fun
The productivity and limitlessness of language leads some
people to spend an inordinate amount of time discovering
things about words. Two examples that is found fascinating
are palindromes and contranyms. Palindromes, as noted, are
words that read the same from left to right and from right to
left. Racecar is a commonly cited example, but a little time
spent looking through Google results for palindromes exposes
many more, ranging from Live not on evil to Doc, note I
dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

7 Matthew McKay,, (1995), Messages: Communication Skills Book, 2nd ed,
(Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications), p. 3436.
8 David Abram, (1997), Spell of The Sensuous, New York: Vintage Books), p. 89.

Contranyms are words that have multiple meanings, two of
which are opposites. For example, sanction can mean to
allow and to prevent, and dust can mean to remove
particles when used in reference to furniture or to add
particles when used in reference to a cake. These are just
two examples of humorous and contradictory features of the
English language.
d. Language is Dynamic
As we already learned, language is essentially limitless. We
may create a one-of-a-kind sentence combining words in new
ways and never know it. Aside from the endless structural
possibilities, words change meaning, and new words are
created daily. In this section, well learn more about the
dynamic nature of language by focusing on neologisms and
e. Language is Relational
We use verbal communication to initiate, maintain, and
terminate our interpersonal relationships. The first few
exchanges with a potential romantic partner or friend help us
size the other person up and figure out if we want to pursue a
relationship or not. We then use verbal communication to
remind others how we feel about them and to check in with
themengaging in relationship maintenance through
language use. When negative feelings arrive and persist, we
often use verbal communication to end a relationship.9

3. Definition of Thought

Thought can refer to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that

result from thinking, the act of producing thoughts, or the process of
producing thoughts. Although thought is a fundamental human activity
familiar to everyone, there is no generally accepted agreement as to what

9 Andi Schmitz, (2012), Verbal Communication, retrieved in January 2nd 2016


thought is or how it is created. Thoughts may or may not arise in the mind
from the product of subconscious brain processing.10

Thought is a mental process which allows someone to make a

conscious decision, to imagine and generally operate on a rational
symbol. There are ideas in the mind. These ideas that make a person easy
to think, it's easy to determine something.

Language is a realization of ideas, ideas in the mind, not even a

line distinguishing a firm that delivers ideas and thoughts. There is also an
opinion that the language is a reflection of the mind, what in talking about
is what they think. Example: we can see clearly a person whose mind
chaotic mess also resulted in the language. Sometimes if someone is
thinking of something heavy, tasteful concerned to speak.11

4. Relation between Language and Thought

The connection between language and thought is profound. The

majority of our everyday life involves the use of language. We tell our
ideas to others with language, we understand their meaning with
language, and very often we speak internally to ourselves when we
process this information and make logical conclusions.

Because of the connection seems so tight, there emerged some

proposition about their connection:

1. Language Benjamin Whorf and Eric Sapir proposed that thought is

indeed utterly determined by language.
The strong form of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis proposes that language
determines thought; therefore, they are identical in nature. This

10 Gaurav Kumar Singh, (2016), What is Biological Explanation for Thinking,

retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from
11 Thought, (n.d.), retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from http://wikipedia/definition-

argument in fact implies that thought is impossible without
language. Language is a carrier of thought, just like water is to
water waves. Without water acting as a medium, water waves
cannot possibly exist.12
2. On the other hand, some linguists hold that language and thought
are two separate and independent entities. The differences in the
syntactic structure and the lexicons available in different languages,
for example, cannot possibly determine the way these people think.
Thus we have thought in the very first place, and then language
came in as a tool for expressing our thought.
3. Some others, not feeling contented with either version, proposed
the third possibility that language and thought are interdependent.
Language is a regular part of the process of thinking it is not a
question of one notion taking precedence over the other, but of both
notions being essential.13

B. Theory of Sarcasm

In William Brants Critique of Sarcastic Reason, sarcasm is a form of

expression of language often including the assertion of a statement that is
disbelieved by the expresser, although the intended meaning is different
from the sentence meaning. According to him, sarcasm involves the
expression of an insulting remark that requires the interpreter to
understand the negative emotional connotation of the expresser within
the context of the situation at hand.14

Sarcasm is a type of ironic speech in which an implicit criticism of a

specific target is conveyed via contextual or paralinguistic cues. While
face to face sarcastic speech may be characterized by a specific
12 Lila Gleitman and Anna Papafragou, (2013), Relations between Language and
Thought, (Oxford: The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology), p. 505.
13 Thomas Tsoi, (2010), The Relationship between Language and Thought,
retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from
content/downloads/The relationship between Language and Thought.pdf. p. 1.
14 Sarcasm-Understanding, (2016), retrieved in January 2nd 2016 from

paralinguistic profile that alerts the listener not to interpret the utterance
sincerely even in the absence of contextual information, in text
communications sarcasm can be conveyed solely through contextual cues
such as counterfactual or echoic statements. Sarcastic plays a role as an
interfering factor that can flip the polarity of a message. Unlike a simple
negation, sarcastic posts typically convey a negative opinion using only
positive words.

In communication studies, sarcasm has been widely studied, often in

relation with concepts such as irony as a broader category term, and in
particular in relation with (or synonymous to) verbal irony.

Many researchers treat irony and sarcasm as strongly related, and

sometimes even equate the terms in their studies in order to work with an
usable definition. We are interested in sarcasm as a linguistic
phenomenon, and how its varied form can be detected in social media
posts. Yet, Brown warns that sarcasm is not a discrete logical or linguistic
phenomenon, while verbal irony is.15

Sarcasm is used when someone finds a situation or object offensive.

Sarcasm or irony is always directed at someone or something; its target. A
target is the person or object against whom or which the ironic utterance
is directed. Targets can be the sender himself, the addressee or a third
party (or a combination of the three). Burgers showed that in Dutch
written communication, the target of the ironic utterance is often a third
party. For instance, sarcasm has been shown to be victimizing, offensive,
and anger-provoking to its targets.

Thus, a sarcastic utterance involves a shift in evaluative valence,

which can go two ways: it could be a shift from a literally positive to an
intended negative meaning, or a shift from a literally negative to an
intended positive evaluation. Since Reyes also argues that users of social
media often use irony in utterances that involve a shift in evaluative

15 Christine Liebrecht,, (2013), The Perfect Solution for Detecting Sarcasm
in Tweets #not, (Georgia: Association for Computational Linguistics), p. 29-30.

valence, we use Burgers definition of verbal irony in this study of
sarcasm, and we use both terms synonymously.16

C. The Process of Collecting The Data

In this mini research, the process of collecting data was done by

doing an indirect observation. Indirect method of observation involves
studies of mechanical recording or the recording by some of the other
means like photographic or electronic.17 The first step of indirect
observation is observing education background of two persons being
observed. The next step is observing their posts on Facebook related to
sarcasm utterances. The last step is comparing the differences of their
sarcasm posts on Facebook and relating it to the existed theory.

16 Ibid., p. 30.
17 KJ Singh, (2010), What are The Types of Observation, retrieved in January 2nd
2016 from


A. The Result of Research

Below are some samples of sarcastic posts on Facebook along with

the explanation:

The reported valence of sarcasm above improved dramatically

becoming more appropriate, understandable, and memorable because
both two members of that conversation share common ground
(knowledge, perceptions, and experiences).

When the second commenter sarcastically said kayaknya situ oke

sepertinya? Bagi-bagi lah, pengen belajar dari yang udah oke, the fisrt

commenter seemed decode and reply to it in literally, but actually he
responded by giving sarcasm also. This sarcastic comment delivered by
the second commenter involved a shift in evaluative valence, which is a
shift from a literally positive to an intended negative meaning.

Knowledge and experience will affect the way someone delivers

sarcasm. In this case, both commenters above have good educational
backgroundbased on the observation done before collecting datathus
their sarcasm seemed more polite and the negative impressions of
sarcasm were reduced while the perceived effect of sarcastic speakers are

The target of sarcasm directed in this post is the addressee. The first
commenter directed the sarcasm to the second commenter, and vice

Both two posts above seemed like simple questions, but if we know
the context of the contents being talked on those two posts, we will
definitely know that they were sarcasm. This kind of sarcasm is called

indirect sarcasm. Indirect sarcasm tends to use more polite words but has
sarcastic effect.

In the first post, the writer questioned about what will the very-
fresh-graduated students of senior high school do after their celebration
by painting their uniform. We know that their euphoriawhich is like all of
their life challenge already solvedis not worth it. Thus, the sarcastic
question like what the writer posted aimed to make those graduated
students realize that they still have many things to do in the future so do
not be drowning in that kind of euphoria.

In the second post, the writer talked about the style of hijab which is
becoming a trend nowadays among females in Indonesia. This style of
hijab does not appropriate with Islamic law that forbids any hair shown,
yet it is considered as trendy among them. Thus, the writer with his
sarcastic question wanted to deliver his opinion that females are not look
pretty and considered as trendy by following that kind of style.

The target of sarcasm directed in this post is the third party: high
school graduate students and female preferring that kind of hijab style.

Those posts above are direct sarcasm, which tends to use harsher
and sharper words. As stated before, knowledge and experience will affect
the way someone delivers sarcasm. The more knowledge someone has,
the more perceived politeness is increased, and the more negative
impressions of sarcasm are reduced. Proper knowledge will affect the
diction of someone, included the diction in delivering sarcasm.

B. Conclusion

The reported valence of sarcastic post depends on the writers

common ground: knowledge, perceptions, and shared experiences. The
reported valence (or emotional values) of sarcasm improves dramatically
when two members of conversation share some common ground,
becoming more appropriate, understandable, and memorable.

If the speaker delivered sarcasm has good education background
and experience, the sarcasm he made would be politer but still has a
strong sarcastic effect. While ones who lack knowledge and experience
will have limited diction and tend to make direct sarcasm which is likely
harsher and sharper.

Based on the mini research that has be done, some people with
good education backgroundwhom being sample of this mini research
posted or commented by using indirect sarcasm instead of the direct one,
while people who lack knowledge and experience often posted sharp
direct sarcasm on their Facebook accounts.

The finding of this mini research goes along with the theory that
proposed by some experts which stated that thought is in the very first
place and then language came in as a tool for expressing our thought. It
means that thought controls and shapes what we say.

In other words, we could illustrate that language is a tool and

speech is the way to use the tool. No matter how good the tool is, but if
we dont know and cannot use it properly then the tool is meaningless.
Although the language is good but if we dont have ability to use it in a
speech act then it will be meaningless. This ability to act a speech is
determined by maturity of mind in which thought exists.


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Liebrecht, Christine, 2013. The Perfect Solution for Detecting

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