Wednesday, 8 October 2008

My daughter doesn’t laugh any more: she just says she does

Last night my son was trying to break up his baked potato with a spoon and it wasn’t working, so I put on an Obi Wan Kenobi voice and said, ‘Use the fork, Luke, use the fork.’ (My son's name isn't Luke.)

He and I thought this was wildly funny and screamed with laughter. My daughter, also amused, said what sounded like, ‘Loll.’

Loll? Did she mean ‘droll’? And if she did, where did she get such a rare word and how did she know how to use it?

Alas, my daughter had not eaten a thesaurus. What she’d actually said was ‘LOL’, which in SMS-speak means, she tells me, ‘laughing out loud’.

‘So when you or your friends find something funny, do you just say that word, rather than laugh?’ I asked in amazement.

‘Ja,’ she said. ‘And if it’s really funny we say El Em Aye Oh,’ which apparently means ‘laughing my ass off’.

Well, for heaven’s sake, what next? Will we start saying the word ‘hug’ instead of doing it, when we want to express affection? Or the word ‘sigh’ when we’re fed up, instead of just going ahead and sighing? Perhaps we’ll hold up a picture of a smiley face when we’re happy, or one of those winkey-eyed ‘emoticons’ (emoticons!?) when we’re just kidding.

I’m all for anything that gets my kids to communicate in writing, even if SMS-speak makes mincemeat of English spellings, punctuation and sentence construction. But when the new language of the ether starts replacing human actions and expressions, then I’m prepared to start to get a little bit worried.

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Juno said...

Well, i cn rel8.

It's not just the sms-speak that annoys me; it's the way that wonderful old words have been stripped of their original meanings and converted into all-purpose slangwidge. Today, I was listening to an audio book in the car with my nine-year-old daughter. In this book [Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotsen] a nasty old witch tries to turn a princess with a wooden leg into a black swan. By mistake, she turns the princes into a duck. A lame duck. I roared with laughter, and said to my daughter, 'Do you know what a lame duck is?'. She answered: 'Well, lame means something really sucks.' This because she has heard her brothers describe things they despise as 'lame'. 'That's, like, so lame...' they say about a movie, a book, a joke.

Look, I don't mind language evolving, but....

tonypark said...

ROFL @ muriel