What’s the fastest growing language in the world today? You might give any number of answers, from Esperanto to Mandarin Chinese, but there is one possibility you probably never even thought of. Internet slang, that colorful collection of words composed of just a few mysterious looking letters, is being used almost everywhere these days. One of the most common and beloved examples is the “word” LOL . Like so much of Internet lingo, it is an acronym (a word composed from the initial letters or initial parts of several words). Public opinion varies about the exact meaning of the term; its letters may stand for Laughing Out Loud, Laugh Out Loud or even Lots of Laughs, depending on who you are talking to. But whatever its precise meaning, the expression has definitely caught on in popular culture.,
How it started
Internet slang has been around almost as long as there has been an Internet. It developed as a faster means of communication for venues like chat rooms and instant messages, where the whole focus is on getting information and emotion reactions across quickly. After all, not everyone who has something to say online is a professional typist, and it is certainly a lot easier to type three or four letters than a whole string of words. The date when LOL was first used is a matter of debate, but it seems to have originated some time in the 1980s. It has remained in popular use since then, and has
is on immediate back and forth interaction, in real time, the conversation very often appears to be composed entirely of alphabet soup, as TY (Thank You) is followed with YW (You’re Welcome) and the correct response to BRB (Be Right Back) is CU (See You). The trend has moved into the new territory of emails and online forums, as well, where there is not so much time pressure. Many people spend so much effort typing messages in this day and age, though, that they just want to make things easy on themselves.
Why use “LOL”
English teachers who had been lamenting the fact that “nobody reads or writes anymore,” were initially pleased at the popularity of the Internet, which does tend to promote the use of written communication. However, when they saw the style of reading and writing that was going on, educators had second thoughts. But quite a few users of Internet slang find that their new “slanguage” is more than just a speedy way to write words. There is a sense of being cool, of using a secret code that can be deciphered only by those in the know. In addition, writing an abbreviation like DH (Dear Husband) or IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) often has subtle overtones of irony. Quite simply, people enjoy interpreting the message behind the message.
The fame of the expression LOL has spread far and wide. It pops up on t-shirts, and in hand written letters. As of March 2011, you are able find it listed in that illustrious multi volume reference source, the Oxford English Dictionary. Its definition in popular culture has expanded to include its use as an adjective, meaning “funny.” A large number of foreign languages have adopted their own translations of the phrase, although some prefer to keep the term in its original form. In fact, a French coming of age film entitled LOL appeared in 2008, while the English version was released in the spring of 2012. The movie posters show the teenage heroine busy texting.