Since Sentence first and XIX век are doing link roundups, I guess I’ll join the club:

1) Txtng Rules: Anne Curzan explains why texting isn’t ruining the English language and passes on what she’s learned from her students; this in particular struck me:

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means ‘laughing out loud’ (so the OED gets credit for including LOL in the third edition, but the definition is already out of date).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).

2) NBC Pronunciation Standards: Ben Trawick-Smith takes a look back at General American English from over half a century ago.

3) No smoking in Arabic! (via Anatoly).

4) Rhymes With Runt: Forrest Wickman answers the question “How did the C-word become such an offensive insult?” (“Others have noted that some people in the 13th and 14th centuries also had the word in their names, in a way that seems unlikely today: Some men and women at that time included Bele Wydecunthe, Robert Clevecunt, and Gunoka Cuntles.”)

5) Story Bud? A video of Dublin phrases, with notes (the helpful notes supplied by Stan Carey).


  1. LOL no longer means ‘laughing out loud’ … To show laughter, EMC now often relies on “hahaha” … LOL is now a way to flag that a message is meant to be funny
    I had been wondering about that, from seeing LOL in contexts that were not laugh-out-loud-funny. Crown has used “hahaha” thusly for a while now.

  2. I got it from Julia, in Spanish (jajaja). I agree it’s more spontaneous sounding and so seems more appropriate to me than lol, which is more like a passive, narrated description by a third party sitting on one’s shoulder (a parrot, perhaps).

  3. “Diesel Fuel in Arabic”
    That reminds me of the cat who always looks at the pointing finger, whereas the dog often looks in the direction the finger points.
    According to the FB link, the instructions (pointing finger) were: “stencil on the side of a fuel tanker: Diesel Fuel in Arabic and No Smoking in Arabic”. Among other things, the finger points to the intended text: “Diesel Fuel”, but the way it is pointing is also significant: “in Arabic”. You could also say that the instructions are pointing to several different things in one sentence – the intended text and the language in which it should be.
    That’s a semantic analysis of the instructions. A syntactical one might claim that they were not parsed as intended. An animal-rights analysis of my analysis would criticize me for reinforcing stereotypes of cats and dogs.

  4. It actually says “Diesel fuel in Arbic”.

  5. We’ll make a proofreader of you yet.

  6. Ooh no, I’m normally oblivious to printed typos. My skill is picking up mistakes in architectural drawings; it just doesn’t come up here much.

  7. It seems to me that the dog would be your first choice if you had to issue directions, the cat would be your first choice if you wanted an animal who could see through magic tricks, and you wouldn’t really want either of them stenciling warnings on your truck.

  8. Thanks for the tip!
    “LOL” has various meanings.
    A literal sense and a general sense.
    ~ John

  9. Perhaps the intended text was “No Smoking in Arabia”.

  10. Thanks for the links, Hat.
    John McWhorter says LOL has become a pragmatic particle, a marker of empathy and accommodation that’s used to indicate a shared context of interpretation. Makes sense to me, though I don’t use LOL myself.

  11. The article on ‘cunt’ still fails to point out the difference in usage between ‘cunt’ in the U.S. and that in Britain/Australia. The word in the U.S. appears to be offensive partly because it is so sexist (e.g., calling a little girl a ‘cunt’). In Britain/Australia, the sexist part is largely lacking. It’s just a swearword. I don’t think it would be used for little girls in Australia, at least. ‘Cunt’ is used for men and things (abstract and concrete) that really frustrate you or piss you off. You would have to be really in a bad way if you started blaming little girls for the ills in your life.

  12. i wonder whether people really all read LOL as el-ou-el, i read it usually like lol in lola w/o a
    about hahaha it seems a bit too long and not very that, laconic in the electronic communications, in my language people use kkk meaning laughing, on fb or twitter for example, that seems like the closest sound people usually make laughing, though it’s not exactly k, it’s just some shallow rapid inhalations? exhalations, maybe something between g and k, or h, i heard that koreans and japanese also transliterate laughter like that, so maybe it’s an asian thing
    at least i never laugh sounding like hahaha
    i wonder what’s wrong with the threads lately every thread becomes eventually a c-word thread, sorry to mention, maybe bc of about that onion’s twit, really obnoxious, that the former onion writers defended their freedom of speech, what strange twisted morals to defend freedom of speech of insulting a little girl
    well, i hope this c-phase will be over in no time

  13. what i understood from my “troll” experience online, is how people perceive insult so differently, westerners don’t seem to pay much attention to swear words cz i guess got accustomed to their everyday use of various f and c words that those pretty much have lost their original full load of insulting meaning, they even use those words between themselves like affectionately, but they take much offense if pointed out to some objective error/mistake in their thinking, reasoning, or facts, explained just by plain words and especially if they are objectively wrong
    when i, for example, i know only about myself of course, am willing to argue however right or wrong and might even change my mind if convinced enough by the argument, but can’t stand to be called names, then every argument becomes of course that, battle of wills

  14. read, rather than LoL, I wouldn’t mind writing “shallow rapid inhalations”.

  15. if you have much time to type 😉
    emoticons are also so useful, if not too many, the basic four are enough for me, when gets too many it’s nice to browse them, inventive, but never can remember all of them

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