This whole thing strikes me as something I have been annoyed about in the past, or should have been IF I WASN’T BORING THE FUCK OUT OF EVERYONE LOVING MY CHILD. So, if I already wrote about this and forgot about then I’m real sorry. And also if lots of other people did, or Michael fucking McIntyre said about it on his £24 million pound tour then I’m fucking sorry, OK?
So, LOL. Laugh out loud. Where do I start? I have definitely written about how people use this phrase when they definitely haven’t laughed (out loud) – yes, I’m coming to this. I am sure there are some people laughing (out loud) – yes, I’m coming to this – when they write a banal statement on Facebook. But in the main, it’s just the new exclamation mark for people who’ve never really grasped that a sentence finishes with a full stop when it’s just a regular old statement. (The one time these people do finish a fucking sentence with a full stop it’s generally a question. But who cares.)
Out loud. What other kind of laughter is there? What are we doing to the English language? Why do we have to aggressively assault the meaning of so many words? I mean I am literally over the moon about how nearly unique this is.
If we think about the development of the meaning of words/phrases then we have missed the entire bit where ‘laugh’ meant to silently think something is furious, to be on the verge of physical manifestations but not actually going there. The internal smile as laughter.
I suppose one might say ‘they make me laugh’ about a comedy performer who they don’t ever laugh at. In this sense there is a sense of ‘laugh’ which doesn’t mean laugh. See how semantics is no laughing matter?
But that is being generous to the warped language vomit that is LOL. This conversation doesn’t happen:
-did you think the tv show was funny?
-well what is your barometer for funny?
-did you laugh when you watched it?
-well yeah, but not out loud
-ok, that’s fine. I understand that you non-laughed at the tv show. I did laugh, I actually laughed at it
-oh, you mean like out loud? You laughed out loud – rather than laughing, which is silent?
But the development of language would suggest that the word laugh was no longer enough to connote the act of laughing. So, we arrive at LOL/laugh out loud.
Only this is a phrase rarely used in connection with real laughter. As said earlier, it’s the new punctuation for people who can’t just write a sentence and rely upon the meaning of the constituent words to fully convey tone. And, you know, they don’t do smileys because they’re above it. Not that most people using LOL are above it. I’m no stranger to the “LOL xxxx :)” end to a Facebook status.
So in a nutshell: LOL, the phrase usage has created to expand the meaning of the word laugh to almost completely mean the opposite of both the original word and the new phrase itself.