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Running Head: FINAL PROJECT 1 Slang and “LOL”: Critical Analysis Portfolio Brianna Bowen Southern New Hampshire University Popular Culture Professor Lovejoy April 22, 2018
Running Head: FINAL PROJECT 2 Slang and “LOL”: Critical Analysis Portfolio Introduction Every generation is known for unique slang and jargon that accompany popular trends and patterns in society. In the modern-day technological era, it is no surprise that this generations contribution to pop language stemmed from the increase in online communication, whether it be through social media, email, or text message. SMS-speak, or short message service, has contributed a variety of new slang terms to the English language to include “LOL.” This term is an acronym that stands for “laughing out loud” and is most commonly used in non-verbal, social interactions as a method of expressing laughter and enjoyment. Acronym-based words like “LOL” have become increasingly popular in society because they make communication easier and faster. While “LOL” was one of the first acronym phrases to go viral in the early 2000s with AOL Instant Messenger and flip phone single-digit text messaging, it has paved the way for an entirely new language of slang to develop over the past several years. “LOL” is a slang word that will stand out in this online communication era and is a prime example of how “words are powerful symbols that document social trends and movements” (Danesi, 2015, p. 247). Humanities Lens The humanities lens encapsulates human expression and emotions through means such as literature. Different forms of slang have been around as long as humans have been able to speak and interact with one another, but the specific type of slang used changes throughout the years and generations. One of the most popular types of slang that is a huge part of today’s culture is SMS, or short message service, lingo. This SMS language mostly consists of acronyms and other short-form words to speed up the process of written communication. While this ever-growing form of language is extremely expansive, examining one word in particular is suffice to represent
Running Head: FINAL PROJECT 3 this piece of culture as a whole. One of the first SMS-words used was “LOL” and a couple decades later, it is still a way that human’s express their emotions through textual means. Like most forms of written expression, the connotation of the word and the meanings people consequently apply to them are perhaps the most important components of non-verbal communication. When examining a specific word and the many different emotional impacts that word can have, the oppositional theory can be used. This theory explains that humans do not always “perceive the meaning of something in an absolute way, but in differential ways” (Danesi, 2015, p. 54). It is fair to assume that inputting “LOL” into a conversation infers that a person is laughing about the content of the message. Yet, when many different people were surveyed about their own use and understanding of the acronym, results varied drastically. Some people use the

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