(With courtesy of Guinandra L. Jatikusumo)
Laughing used to be an active verb that requires you to lively–sometimes overratingly–shout ‘Hahaha!’ with your head moving back and forth according to your unique rythm. Yet once these genius came up with live chat programmes, i.e. Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, Skype, as well as other similar appliances, you have to laugh virtually. Now we can actually laugh without really laughing.
There comes the problem: how should we laugh in texts?
Let’s stop there and look backward a little bit. Who invented words like ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’, ‘woof’, or ‘moo’ to imitate the noise made by animals? To observe the pattern, these words were created according to the sound it produces. This is also why, these animals seem to have different way of communicating in different parts of the world. For instance, an Indonesian chicken cries ‘kukuruyuk!’ and an Indonesian dog yells ‘gukguk!’ instead. There are also some special Turkish words for the voice of cats and frogs yet I couldn’t remember.
Now imagine yourself as the someone who lived decades ago, sitting on your desk and frowning because you couldn’t find the rhyme-word to explain that a girl is laughing in a direct speech. How would you consider writing it down? Probably you’d in the end pick ‘hahaha’ because it’s the easiest, first thing that come up to your mind as that’s how it actually sounds.
Today, several people think that it is simply ineffective to write ‘hahaha’ on a chat window when you can compact it down to ‘LOL’ (the same notion goes to ‘be right back’, ‘talk to you later’, and many other familiar phrases), although, there are some conservatives who still prefer to use ‘hahaha’ for a more natural effect it yields.
Just when I thought that these were the only possible ways to laugh virtually, a friend of mine–with no serious purpose–put a Facebook status asking how people from different countries laugh in their texts.
I was like, “WOOOOT?!” How on earth can I not know about it?
Very intriguing, eh?
I start thinking that it apparently is possible to create a thesis on ‘Language and Identities through Globalization’.
Another interesting fact it that Oxford has now acknowledged ‘LOL’ as one of English words. It is, then, not impossible that ‘555’ can one day be put in a Thai dictionary.
I mean, who knows? Language is sexily very, very dynamic.