Abbreviated forms to express the laugh

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Lun-14

Banned
Hindi
Hi,

Do you native speakers say/write (instead of this grin emoticon [:D]) any of the following when you laugh out loud having found something very funny or even stupid sometimes.

i) Hahaha!
ii) Ha ha ha!
iii) Ha ha!
iv) LOL (Laugh out loud)
v) ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing)
vi) LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off)

Thanks a lot.

Please don't take any offense regarding this question; I don't intend any sort of pun at all.:)
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Do you native speakers say
    What do you mean by "say"? Are you asking if English native speakers actually say "Ha ha", rhyming with "la la" when they feel like laughing? No, they don't. Your first three options (what's the difference?) are written representations of the sound that a human typically makes while laughing. It's not a sound that only English native speakers make.

    LOL, ROFL and LMAO are abbreviations meant to be used only in writing. You might be laughing out loud while typing a text but the other person wouldn't know that unless you tell him, so you can tell him if you want to by using the abbreviation LOL. They are meant only for written interactions and represent what you do. You don't need them in a face-to-face interaction because if you're laughing out loud, for instance, the other person can see and hear you doing it. You don't have to say "LOL".
     
    Last edited:

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    What do you mean by "say"?
    Sorry, I meant write. Do native speakers write Hahaha! instead of placing a grin emoticon? (I have not seen native speakers write Hahaha! on this forum; they use the grin emoticon instead.)

    Your first three options (what's the difference?)
    There's no difference. I just put it in three different ways in order to know what particular way native speakers write it in.

    LOL, ROFL and LMAO are abbreviations meant to be used only in writing.
    Do native speakers also use these in writing?

    You don't need them in a face-to-face interaction because if you're laughing out loud, for instance, the other person can see and hear you doing it. You don't have to say "LOL".
    But I sometimes hear them spoken in some TV dramas/in a friends' gathering where someone likes to sound sarcastic/funny without laughing or in the class when the teacher is present there. (Students don't laugh because it can annoy the teacher/can interrupt their lecture; instead they say these abbreviations.)
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Do native speakers write Hahaha! instead of placing a grin emoticon. (I have not seen native speakers write Hahaha! on this forum;
    Yes, they do. You haven't searched very well. Here's one: I received vs. I've received your mail
    There's no difference. I just put it in three different ways in order to know what particular way native speakers write it in.
    There's no particular way.
    Do native speakers also use these in writing?
    I just said they're meant to be used in writing, so I don't know what you mean by "also use these in writing?"
    But I sometimes hear them spoken in some TV dramas
    Context?
    in a friends' gathering where someone likes to sound sarcastic/funny without laughing or in the class when the teacher is present there. (Students don't laugh because it can annoy the teacher/can interrupt their lecture; instead they say these abbreviations.)
    As you've pointed out yourself, there was a specific reason for saying it out loud instead of actually performing the action it represents.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    I think "haha" and its variants are much more common and usual than "ha ha" with a space, the latter of which looks strange and almost comes off as sarcastic (like you don't actually find the joke funny). You can make your "haha" shorter or longer depending on how funny you think the situation is.
    All of the rest are used commonly in casual writing or texting -- the choice is often a personal preference or a matter of degree (LOL means it's funny, ROFL means it's very funny).

    You can gauge the frequency of various versions by running an internet search.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    LOL, ROFL and LMAO are abbreviations used in live texting, where there is a conversation going on. Either two people are texting back and forth on a smartphone, or two or more people are typing in a live forum like Skype, where everybody sees what you type as soon as you type it.

    The reason they exist is so you can respond to a joke by laughing. It's a way to say "I laughed". So typing LOL is like typing "Hah!".

    LOL (and the others) started being used by computer programmers in the 1980s, when typing to each other on things like Skype. In recent years other people started using them on Skype, in text messaging and other places they write short replies to other people's comments (twitter, facebook).

    They aren't used in emails or written documents, since they are part of real-time conversations.

    I don't know if many people use emoticons. I see them in this forum. They are probably used the same places LOL is used.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    But I sometimes hear them spoken in some TV dramas
    I first saw this a few years ago, in a commercial. I assumed that TV script-writers heard that LOL is something "cool" that teenagers invented, but they (the writers) were so out-of-touch they didn't realize these are things people text, not things people say. People laugh, rather than saying "I'm laughing".
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    I first saw this a few years ago, in a commercial. I assumed that TV script-writers heard that LOL is something "cool" that teenagers invented, but they (the writers) were so out-of-touch they didn't realize these are things people text, not things people say. People laugh, rather than saying "I'm laughing".
    I do hear people (in real life!) say "LOL" aloud. I'm in my early 30s, and I typically hear it from people my age or younger.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I do hear people (in real life!) say "LOL" aloud. I'm in my early 30s, and I typically hear it from people my age or younger.
    Does it mean the same thing as actually laughing, or is there a different nuance? Perhaps that's hard to tell - I'm just curious.
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Speaking any word - be it "lol," "hah," or "that's hilarious" - is surely not the same thing as actually laughing. As mentioned above, speaking the letters "el oh el" might be sarcastic, or it might be a somewhat complex reference to the persona of an imagined "digital native" (i.e. a person whose only acculturation took place online, a person who can only think in 140 character spurts), or it might be a unironic linguistic borrowing (from the Texting dialect of English). When it's the latter, I expect that "el oh el" has the same meaning as "that's funny," rather than an actual laugh, which is untranslatable.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    Does it mean the same thing as actually laughing, or is there a different nuance? Perhaps that's hard to tell - I'm just curious.
    Speaking any word - be it "lol," "hah," or "that's hilarious" - is surely not the same thing as actually laughing. As mentioned above, speaking the letters "el oh el" might be sarcastic, or it might be a somewhat complex reference to the persona of an imagined "digital native" (i.e. a person whose only acculturation took place online, a person who can only think in 140 character spurts), or it might be a unironic linguistic borrowing (from the Texting dialect of English). When it's the latter, I expect that "el oh el" has the same meaning as "that's funny," rather than an actual laugh, which is untranslatable.
    I agree with you that "LOL" has come to mean "that's funny," and it can be used ironically or non-ironically.
    Here are my thoughts: Social psychologists have shown that laughter (natural laughter) is a social habit that you do when you are around other people. If you spend most of your time in a room, alone, communicating on the internet, like many people do these days, you really have no need to literally laugh at things that you think are funny. You'll probably smile to yourself and type, "LOL!" If this becomes your natural response to amusing situations, it's not surprising that you would also habitually respond this way even when in the company of other people.
    Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if true social laughter were documented to be declining in our culture (because we no longer socialize in person), but that's a topic for another day. :(
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    If you spend most of your time in a room, alone, communicating on the internet, like many people do these days, you really have no need to literally laugh at things that you think are funny. You'll probably smile to yourself and type, "LOL!"
    When it started in the 1980s, LOL meant that you had actually Laughed Out Loud, even though you were sitting in a room alone. That can happen, if something is funny enough. That is the reason it has "OL" in it: because you laughed Out Loud, rather than just smiling to yourself.

    But I am sure the meaning and use is very different today. You explain it very well.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    Hello, dojibear,
    What would you comment about "Hahaha" (i.e. its usage/flexibility etc)? I rarely see it used in this forum by native speakers.
    Please enlighten me regarding that,
    Thanks.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Before emoji became popular, people would have used haha (and other emotional sound transcriptions) more often. With the advent of the characters easily accessible in the formatting menu here, they have replaced by the various emoji, and that's why you don't see "haha" or variants so much these days. Bear in mind that these posts are not (usually) meant to be read aloud, so the communcated message of "haha" and :) are the same, and they are not pronounced.
     
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