Author Topic: a real fun group  (Read 477 times)

Offline beautyhero922

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a real fun group
« on: January 14, 2020, 10:34:54 am »
Which choice do you think is correct to the question about the dialogue below, 1) or 2)?  And why?

A: I'm studying about the United Nations Security Council right now. I don't understand the ideas of Great Powers Unanimity and the veto.
B: Simple. China, Russia, France, the UK and the US must all agree before a resolution gets passed.
A: I know the countries. A real fun group. It's the veto. One nation's negative vote can overrule the majority. How do they ever get anything done?
B: Probably because there is also the option to abstain which doesn't count as a negative vote.
A: I see. So I guess a nation would abstain if they only disagree a little bit.

Question: What does A mean when he says ‘A real fun group’?
1) They are political enemies.
2) They have different views on the veto.

Thanks in advance.

Offline Darryl

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 12:23:48 pm »
I don't think either one of those answers is adequate. The comment is clearly sarcastic, indicating perhaps that there are tensions between the countries on the Security Council. That they are political enemies is a bit strong, and there is no specific mention of conflict over the veto rule.

Offline beautyhero922

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 01:22:43 pm »
Thank you for your interpretation, Darryl.   There are four choices about that question, but I didn't excluded the other choices, as I think they are incorrect.  They are: They tell jokes a lot. and They often socialize together.   Do you think one of these two is acceptable?   I don't think neither is correct. 

Offline Britta

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 03:25:59 pm »
None of the four answers get the sarcasm. The meaning is something like "I bet they quarrel a lot", so "2) They have different views on the veto" is closest to the meaning but excludes the funny twist.
If it's not used by a native speaker it's not idiomatic. And idiom trumps grammar every time. Jack Wilkerson†

Offline Darryl

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 11:02:38 pm »
Do you think one of these two is acceptable?   I don't think neither is correct.
No; you were correct to discard them.
I agree with Britta's comment. The answers given don't recognise the remark as sarcasm.

Offline Britta

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2020, 08:53:05 am »
I've been thinking about this, about the purpose of these questions.

For a native speaker or people with a good command of English sarcasm is often difficult to paraphrase.

However, what is important for the not-so-good English speakers is to grasp the meaning of what is said, sacrasm notwithstanding.

So, all the answers make sense in the way that one could (mis-)interpret the given phrase that way if one is either unsure of or not recognising the sarcasm at all.
Sarcasm and playing with words is very popular in English but may feel quite alien to other cultures.
If it's not used by a native speaker it's not idiomatic. And idiom trumps grammar every time. Jack Wilkerson†

Offline davel

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Re: a real fun group
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 08:13:57 am »
I agree with both Britta and Darryl. Furthermore, sarcasm can be so subtle that nobody except the speaker (or writer) realises they are being sarcastic. I must confess to doing this sometimes, and then have a private laugh about it. English has so many sources (Latin via French, Germanic grammar roots, as well as more modern influences from all over the world) and there are so many ways to say the same thing that I can see why non-native speakers would not catch the nuances of some sarcasm.
David