Features > LOL, and the world lols with you

17 July 2014 | by John Morrish

LOL, and the world lols with you

Unharmed by its appearance in the fusty OED or its embrace by the old and the unhip, “lol” marches on, appended to texts, emails, tweets and Facebook comments. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has yet to end its letters with the same valediction, but it is only a matter of time.And yet, despite being a grade-one curmudgeon, I find I don’t mind it. It is not attractive to look at. Its sound is infantile. It is a monosyllable; the linguists would describe it as “two voiced alveolar lateral approximants separated by an open back rounded vowel”. It is like the babbling of a baby. But then people tend not to speak it, except with heavy irony. That would be too much. Mostly, you hear it in your mind’s ear.But “lol” has its uses. It is a typ


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