Five minute friday again. OK, so I haven’t actually posted anything since last-five-minute-friday, but that’s beside the point.
Being a regular on facebook, twitter and of course to blogging, it hasn’t escaped my notice that a number of new expressions are sneaking their way into English parlance through these mediums.
- lol = most commonly ‘laugh out loud’ (or occasionally ‘lots of love’)
- *wow* = to express amazement
- hun = short for honey, expresses sympathy, support, or close friendship
Not being a great fan of such shortenings, at first I thought it was just people being lazy and not bothering to express what they wanted to say in proper English, but I think there may be more to it than that. In particular I remember being surprised at how many people responded to a heartfelt facebook statuses with the rather inane sounding “oh it’ll be alright, hun”.
The thing about written medium of any sort – books, articles, emails, text messages or social media – is that communication doesn’t carry the tone in which something is said. It is sometimes quite difficult, for example, to ask something directly and quickly without it being read as blunt. Often most dangerous is when you are trying to communicate humour but it is not read in that way. The interpretation is affected by all sorts of things, not least what the reader is feeling at that very moment, or what they might think about the writer. I have been caught out a few times on this. This is where lol, wow and hun can be helpful. They help to tell the reader what tone something is said in. The use of ‘lol’ indicates that the comment is clearly meant to convey humour or sarcasm. ‘Hun’ expresses sympathy.
Perhaps I was too hasty to discard such grammatical shortenings, as they evidently have a place in communication. Anything that helps us convey what we want to communicate more effectively has to be useful.
Alright, hun, that’s all for now.