Wednesday, 9 March 2016


The Atlantic (fair warning: scholastics via repulsive celebrity) features an excellent article on how LOL (here’s the first recorded use of the shorthand) has become stripped of its meaning (not haha funny, rather LOL funny) and has become something more like a punctuation mark.
The treatment reminds me of how a few years ago an English professor made note of her students employing the slash not as either/or but as a grammatical xor in a novel way.  Though very much transformed from the early days of text-messaging when one wanted to moderate tone in his or her dispatches, LOL is not on the decline like 1337 or the higher magnitudes of laughing-out-loud and is still preferred over other symbols able to impart the same sense—none really stating “oh, this shall make you laugh” or even chuckle to oneself. Incidentally, LOL is not an international sentiment with many other equivalent ways to encode it that one can learn about in The Atlantic’s related articles, and while not the originator of the term, lol means fun in Danish—hence lollig for funny, and the word means nonsense in Welsh, both very à propos.