DOTI (downgrading of text initialisms)

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Tue Apr 30 20:35:35 UTC 2013

I had a student say in a computational linguistics class that it was a perfect translation for Schadenfreude.

Geoffrey Nathan
C&IT Faculty Liaison & Professor of Linguistics
Wayne State University
Geoffnathan at

On Apr 30, 2013, at 3:23 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: DOTI (downgrading of text initialisms)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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).
> ---
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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