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That acronym isn't funny anymore: what's in a LOL?

What does LOL really mean?
Not even slightly amusing

Linguistic expert John McWhorter has expounded on the topic of LOL and how the evolution of the acronym isn't a sign of the impending doom of the English language, but rather a sign of it all going rather well.

He likens the gentle influx of "tech terms" to the English language to that time when Latin turned slowly into French.

On CNN, he writes: "Let's face it - no mentally composed human being spend his or her entire life immersed in ceaseless hilarity. The LOLs must mean something else.

"They do. They signal basic empathy between texters. What began as signifying laughter morphed into easing tension and creating a sense of equality.

"That is, 'LOL' no longer 'means' anything. Rather, it 'does something' - conveying an attitude - just as the ending '-ed' doesn't 'mean' anything but conveys past tense. LOL is, of all things, grammar.

"Texting is not the mangling of language - it's the birth of a new one."


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