Global English: LOL

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The world's current lingua franca picks up words and phrases from other languages and  sends them back again. Leslie Dunton-Downer, author of The English is Coming!: How One Language is Sweeping the World, explores some of these. 

We want your suggestions!  Nominate a word that should be a part of "global English" here.

Comments [6]


Well, lol is definitely becoming more nuanced like "lawl" sort of replace the old "badum-tshhh" you say after an obvious joke, or when snickering smugly you might give a "lul". Seems like regular "lol" is just used like a smile now after every short thing that is said lightly.

Oh, I didn't hear the whole segment but did she mention how Chinese use numbers for things like "88" can be "bye-bye" as 88 in Mandarin is ba-ba, there are a bunch more but I forgot them

Oct. 27 2010 12:04 PM

Forget Americans learning another language. We can barely handle English.

Oct. 27 2010 12:03 PM
michael from not Bangkok

how about a number? the Thai word for the number 5 is "ha." so when a Thai person wants to text LoL or hahaha, s/he simply texts "555." OK, too esoteric, I guess.

Oct. 27 2010 11:59 AM
Edward from NJ

When someone uses LOL to convey that they are are joking, it's like they are laughing at their own joke -- which is not cool. The :) emoticon is a better option.

Oct. 27 2010 11:59 AM
Tom from Toronto

I have not seen this usage of "LOL" as described by this lady.

Oct. 27 2010 11:57 AM
Mike from NYC

Is one effect of the globalization of English the almost universal disinterest in and failure of foreign language instruction in the US? When I was a graduate student, the foreign students used to tell a joke: What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? An American.

Oct. 27 2010 11:51 AM

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