Sunday, April 10, 2011
I was reading a BBC website article on acronyms and the internet this morning and had one of those rude awakenings that my parents must have had after I first played a 78 of Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock as it ushered in teenspeak from the United States which was completely unintelligible to them. Grooving, cool cat, square, daddy-o, fast, free love and the like studded the language of teenagers, coined mostly by beatniks and black jazzers and the early mainstream drug pioneers.
My call to senses came when I read the following paragraph:
But many mistake “LOL” for “lots of love”, leading to some unintended “LOLs”, such as the infamous tale of the mother who wrote: “Your grandmother has just passed away. LOL.”
Now like the author of the message above, I always thought LOL meant lots of love. After all, many of my female friends put it at the end of their missives to me. Yet all the while their communications may have been tongue in cheek, sardonic or, even worse, privately amused! Ah well, you are never too old for schadenfreude. It actually means Laughing Out Loud!!!
Here in Ghana there is much to learn in the mutation of the English language. I got a touch of conjunctivitis the other day and was instructed to go to the pharmacy and ask for drops for Apollo, the common name for it. Apparently a vast proportion of the population looked skywards imagining the moon landing and this coincided with a particularly virulent outbreak of the condition. One had obviously led to the other.