8282! ㅋㅋㅋㅋ ㅇㅂㅇ
Hello, all! I’m Renee Bell, an undergrad at UC Berkeley, and this semester I took French 24: Language and Technology. A topic discussed during the course was internet slang, which I had seen primarily an English variation of, and I grew interested in the internet slang of different languages. The following is an expansion on a blog post of mine that covered this topic.
Many of us are familiar with the globalization of many American language idiosyncrasies of computer-mediated communication. Many commonly used emoticons and internet phrases are drawn from English (like OMG, which stands for “oh my god,” or =D, which uses the Latin letter D). Professor Kern shared with the French 24 class an anecdote about French elementary school children who mirthfully shouted “lol!” while pointing at one of their comrades. However, other languages have developed their own specific internet slang.
Let’s look at laughter. “Lol,” which stands for “laugh out loud,” while occasionally used in other languages, is usually semantically empty in all but English. In many languages, language-specific, phonetic representations of laughter are used on the internet instead. The character “ㅋ” in Korean is equivalent to the hard “k” sound in English. “ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ” is meant to sound roughly like “kekekekeke,” an imitation of laughter. It’s the Korean version of lol. Koreans use “ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ” too. “ㅎ” is the “h” sound: “hahahahaha.” In Thai, the number 5 is pronounced “ha,” and so 555 is used for “hahaha.” In Japanese, a combination of English and Japanese is used. “WWWWWW” represents laughter; W stands for “warau,” which means “laugh.”
Also, distinct emoticons have arisen in different languages. Here are a few emoticons that use non-Latin characters:
- ( ﾟ▽ﾟ)
- (╬ ಠ益ಠ)
The internet trend abbreviating words with numbers (like l8r in English) is ubiquitous in other languages as well. In Korean, 8 is pronounced “pal” and 2 is pronounced “ee.” 8282 is therefore read as “palee palee,” which means “hurry, hurry.” Also, 1004 is pronounced “cheonsa,” which means “angel.” In Japanese, 39 is pronounced “sankyuu” which is meant to sound like “thank you.”
As is evident from the information above, each language has its own place in computer-mediated communication. I was glad to see that something as diverse and endemic as slang has not been homogenized.