DOTI (downgrading of text initialisms)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Apr 30 19:10:54 UTC 2013

On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> John McWhorter has an article on the CNN site saying LOL can be
> completely devoid of humor:

Anne Curzan recently made a similar point:

LOL no longer means ‘laughing out loud’ (so the OED gets credit for
including LOL in the third edition, but the definition is already out
of date). To show laughter, EMC now often relies on “hahaha” (students
tell me that you need at least three ha’s to show laughter if they are
not capitalized). LOL is now a way to flag that a message is meant to
be funny (similar to jk—‘just kidding’) or to signal irony. LOL can
also be a way to acknowledge that a writer has received a text—a
written version of a nod of the head and a smile (“a chuckle at most,”
one student told me).


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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