Friday, 8 April 2011

The BBC says it best: LOL's in the OED.

There's been a little concern over the last few days from various sources, both individuals I know, and internet articles such as this one from BBC News, about the fact that LOL has made it into the dictionary. Before I add my ha'penn'orth, the real reason I was moved to blog is this opening paragraph from the BBC article:

"OMG! LOL's in the OED. LMAO!"

If you find the above string of letters utterly unintelligible, you are clearly an internet "noob". Let me start again.

Golly gosh! The popular initialism LOL (laughing out loud) has been inducted into the canon of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary. Blimey! What is going on?

What I find interesting is that they are happy to print 'OMG' but can't bring themselves to write it out in full, because that would be offensive. Presumably if you're young enough/ l33t enough to understand what OMG stands for, the thinking must go, you wouldn't be irritated by the blasphemy. Very strange.

Anyway, LOL. The Oxford English Dictionary is a record of all the words in the English language. In its full version it runs to twenty odd volumes, I believe. The Shorter OED is two vols. So there's plenty of room for a new word, which isn't even very long. It's a record of how we use language. And LOL gets used a lot (although when I used it on Skype to my trendy young sister the other day - well, okay, trendy from my point of view merely by virtue of being young - she thought it was hilarious that an old fogey was using the term). It's not as if the inclusion of LOL has meant that some other word has been forced out. The English language is not a nightclub. We are not operating a one-in-one-out door policy. Although it's a thought. Votes for what to get rid of so LOL can be used? I'll start you off: how about 'abaft'? It's not as though we use it much...

1 comment:

NikkiF said...

I was going to comment, but now I cba.