OMG, LOL is a type of grammar
John McWhorter, associate professor of English at Columbia University in New York, does not go along with the traditionalists who believe texting is bringing about the downfall of the written word.
In a Ted Talk ( the short lecture videos available online), Prof McWhorter says: "There is no evidence that texting is ruining composition skills.
"People banging away on their smartphones are fluently using a code separate from the one they use in actual writing.
"Texting – is actually a way of talking with your fingers.
"Texting is developing its own kind of grammar. Take LOL. It doesn't actually mean 'laughing out loud' in a literal sense anymore.
"LOL has evolved into something much subtler and sophisticated and is used even when nothing is remotely amusing."
Prof McWhorter gives an example of a text exchange.
Jocelyn texts 'Where have you been?' and Annabelle texts back 'LOL at the library studying for two hours.'
The professor says: "LOL signals basic empathy between texters, easing tension and creating a sense of equality... LOL is grammar."
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