Today, we’re going to answer the much-asked question: How can adults communicate with young people? The answer is: They can’t. So we’ll move right along to another question of global importance, received from a reader named Suchin: “My dad said he once ate a curry so hot it burned through his body and set his chair on fire. Could this really happen?”
Answer: This is scientifically impossible unless the curry was from Bangladesh, in which case I totally believe it.
Wait. I see a hand going up. You REALLY want an answer to the first question? So does a friend of mine, a guy whose attempts at humour triggered only two baffling responses: “555” and “jejeje”.
Being an expert in modern international communications (“gibberish”), it was easy for me to translate. The number five is “ha” in Thai, so people from that country write 555 for “ha ha ha”.
In the Philippines, jejeje is pronounced he-he-he. “They WERE laughing at your jokes,” I said, explaining that Asians rarely use LOL, as many of our languages lack an “L” sound.
Mainland Chinese netizens respond to jokes by writing da xiao, which means Big Laugh.
Tweets from the premier of China almost definitely go like this: “The glorious dialectics of Marxist-Leninist Communism will triumph over imperialist dogs of capitalism. Big laugh.”
To help the questioner, I asked readers of various backgrounds to laugh in print. Many used “ha ha ha” but the cleverclogs Malaysian used Ha3.
The Japanese said that when he reads something funny, he thinks LOL, but he writes “W”, which is short for wara, the English transliteration of the kanji character for the Japanese word for “Laughter”.
Wow: he does more thinking for a one-letter response than I did in my entire school career.
Other countries think people laughing make a “k” sound. Koreans write kkkkk for LOL while Brazilians do the same but laugh much longer, writing kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.
Bizarrely, a British guy said he writes “titter-titter” or “chortle”. (The damp weather rots their minds, it’s very sad.)
Probably the least snappy way of saying LOL is in Afghanistan, where Taliban insurrectionists write “Ma khanda mikonom” (“I emit laughter”) after their one-liners.
Also vital is getting the CORRECT laugh for each joke. Here’s a guide. 1)”Ha ha ha”: Regular laugh. 2) “Bwahaha”: Bigger, somewhat explosive laugh. 3) “Mwahahah”: Bad guy laugh. 4) “Har har”: Ironic laugh. 5) “Heh-heh-heh”: Naughty laugh. 6) “Ho ho ho”: Bearded man in red suit laugh. 7) “Tee hee”: childish giggle, usually with hand over mouth. 8) “Yuck yuck yuck”: Stupid person laughing. Note: If there is only a single “yuck” as in “Eww, yuck!” this means “disgusting” as in: “I tasted what I thought was soup but were the underpants you were boiling, ewww, yuck.”
Also worth noting is “badump-tish” which represents a drum flourish identifying a punchline.
Wikipedia says the first written digital laugh took place more than 100 years ago, when the people who invented Morse code included a word for laughter: “di-di-di-dit di-dit, di-di-di-dit di-dit”. (Not a joke.)
Anyway, whenever I say something funny, my daughter now says “LoL,” instead of actually laughing. When this generation grows up, nobody will laugh at comedians. They’ll sit grim-faced, waiting for him to say “badump-tish”, so they can all chant: “LolL” I can hardly wait.
– Nury Vittachi (IANS)