Spelling out whole words

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A recent Frazz:


  1. Barbara Phillips Long said,

    May 30, 2020 @ 3:12 pm

    My impression is that the frequency of shortcuts such as U for “you” declined significantly as full keyboards became more common on smartphones. I see much less of that in the comment forums I read these days, although WTH and WTF seem more durable — perhaps because of the taboo words involved. AFAIK crops up once in a while.

    I do tend to frequent sites where the writing s fairly formal, so my experience probably reflects that, On Facebook, my experience is that fewer posters are using shortcuts. It may be that predictive spelling options have contributed to the decline.

  2. Stacey Harris said,

    May 30, 2020 @ 6:18 pm

    How is LOL pronounced? el-o-el or lol?

  3. Barbara Phillips Long said,

    May 30, 2020 @ 11:24 pm

    I have heard people say “lolcat” or “lolspeak” with the lol pronounced as a syllable, not as spelled-out letters. I don’t think I have heard LOL spoken on its own.

    There’s also the variant that I associate with the alt-right, “lulz.” I have always assumed — without actual evidence — that it is a respelling of the spoken version of LOLS. Know Your Meme supports this take, but warns the post may have content NSFW (another shortcut initialism that has endured):


    A deeper dive into the culture associated with “lulz” is here:


  4. David L said,

    May 31, 2020 @ 8:21 pm

    I don’t think I have heard LOL spoken on its own.

    I knew someone–not young– who actually said 'lol', I suppose to demonstrate that he understood the language of the youth of today.

    I've also seen, but not heard, the verb 'roffle,' which I find very charming.

  5. Philip Taylor said,

    June 1, 2020 @ 1:58 am

    ALthough not spelled the same, I first encountered "Rolling on the floor laughing" as a participle in the late 1980s, in an e-mail from Eberhard Mattes (creator of "emx", "emTeX", etc), in which he wrote "Eberhard is ROTFL". I had no idea what he mean and had to research it.

  6. Matt said,

    June 1, 2020 @ 3:46 am

    I heard “LOL” spoken as a single-syllable word quite frequently, mostly among teens/early 20s, perhaps starting in the early 2000s.

    However, it usually seemed to be intended somewhat ironically and was not associated with spontaneous laughter.

    I have also seen it deployed as a rather cutting put down when someone’s attempt at humour falls flat, as a deadpan, spoken “lol” without the slightest hint of amusement.

  7. Rodger C said,

    June 1, 2020 @ 9:55 am

    Rather like "Tisk, tisk."

  8. Tom Dawkes said,

    June 2, 2020 @ 11:01 am

    How easy it is to misunderstand abbreviations!
    From 2012: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18032027:-
    ”David Cameron ended some text messages to Rebekah Brooks with the letters LOL, she has told the Leveson Inquiry.
    The former Sun and News of the World editor was asked about the frequency of text contacts between the two when she was head of News International.
    She said the prime minister signed off most texts with the letters DC but occasionally used the acronym LOL.
    But she said he stopped this when he learnt the text shorthand stood for "laugh out loud" not "lots of love".
    The disclosure became an instant topic of discussion on micro-blogging site Twitter, with a number of Labour politicians signing off their tweets on the subject lol.“

  9. Carol F Saller said,

    June 11, 2020 @ 8:46 pm

    Predictive text might be the main reason texters don't abbreviate stuff like this as much now. In fact, my kids make fun if me if I do. In a similar vein, lowercasing something to be "cool" is no longer cool, because everyone knows it actually take more time, now that keyboards automatically cap proper nouns. And it's not cool to labor over your texts self-consciously.

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