LOL – what does it MEAN?

Here is a link to a short talk given by American Linguist John McWhorter, courtesy of our sister blog, From Where I Sit .

In discussing texting as a new form of written speech, with its own emergent grammar and vocabulary, McWhorter notes that LOL no longer stands for ‘laughing out loud’, but has become a discourse marker of general empathy (something I didn’t know); he also discusses the use of the word ‘slash’ to change the subject in a texted conversation. I’m getting left behind, but there’s no point raging about it – McWhorter borrows the term ’emergent complexity’ from chaos theory to highlight the unpindownableness of language change (if that is in fact a word).

Interesting stuff.

From Where I Sit

I have been casting about all day to leave you something for the weekend and I found this at last. Listen, enjoy and think about this seriously – it is a revolution in language


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