Size-based intensity for written laughs

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Alphonse
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Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Alphonse » Thu May 23, 2013 3:41 am UTC

So, it has come to my knowledge that many foreigners find our (brazilians) internet laughing weird. I understand that, but there is a feature we have that I don't know if more distant languages have: we show how hard we are laughing by the length of the laugh, so "haha" is definitely not as intense as "hahahahahahaha". Do any other languages have this? I know in spanish they laugh "jaja" or "jeje" and I assume that can be expanded to express more intense laughing, but is it ever?

(Of course we have more nonsense laughs, such as KKKKK, HAUSHUASUHAUS, EHEHEHEH, RSRSRSRSRS and the infamous HUEEUHEHUE)

Derek
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Derek » Thu May 23, 2013 6:26 am UTC

Intensity can be expressed in several ways, including but not limited to length. Other possibilities are using caps, or one of any number of initialisms (lol, lmao, rofl, etc., which can all be extended themselves for added intensity). I don't think it's a language specific feature, so much as a natural extension of the onomatopoeia for laughter, which most (probably all) languages have.

What I find interesting is how different languages represent the sound of laughter, when they all (presumably, it would be even more interesting if I was wrong) laugh the same.

Alphonse
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Alphonse » Fri May 24, 2013 3:59 am UTC

Yes, but how would you do that in English? Extending only the "haha" laugh doesn't give you a lot of options. There are different representations because there are actually different ways of laughing, with different sounds, and different ways to express those sounds.
In Brazil, there is a certain tendency to choose a specific set of characters and then striking the keys at random to produce a laugh. I, for example, choose H, A, U and S (sometimes G and Y). J, K, and L are also common.
In English, I simply feel limited to using only "lol" and "haha". Writing "hahahahahahahahahahahaha" seems like bad form, doesn't it?

PS.: In the previous post I mentioned "kkkk" and "rsrsrs" as laughs. Their origins are:
"kkkk" is read in Portuguese as "kakaka", with each "ka" sounding like "cah", so it sort of resembles a laugh.
"rsrsrs" is an expansion on "rs", which stands for "risos" (laughs).

Sandor
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Sandor » Fri May 24, 2013 8:41 am UTC

Alphonse wrote:Writing "hahahahahahahahahahahaha" seems like bad form, doesn't it?

But people do use it. Here's the search result counts I get from Google:

Code: Select all

"haha"               520,000,000 results
"hahaha"             248,000,000 results
"hahahaha"            95,400,000 results
"hahahahaha"          39,500,000 results
"hahahahahaha"        17,600,000 results
"hahahahahahaha"       9,490,000 results
"hahahahahahahaha"     4,680,000 results
"hahahahahahahahaha"   2,840,000 results
"hahahahahahahahahaha" 2,070,000 results

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Adam H
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Adam H » Fri May 24, 2013 1:53 pm UTC

American here!

Length definitely corresponds to intensity. It's very informal, but so is typing out a laugh anyways.

Other ways of expressing the intensity of a laugh (my opinion only):
ha = a single burst usually is a form of derivsion more than anything.
hehe = chuckle
heehee = gleeful and childish grin/chuckle.
ahaha = slightly more uninhibited and spontaneous than haha (that first "a" indicates an uncontrollable noise at the beginning of the laugh)
bwahaha = more uninhibited, spontaneous, and maniacal than ahaha or haha
hohoho = never used except by santa claus. Possibly a sarcastic laugh.
Some combination of hee's, he's, ha's, and ho's (e.g. hahaheeheehahehaha) = uncontrollable laughter. If I'm laughing so hard I'm crying, this is my preferred method of expressing it.

Oh, and if you add "phew" or "*deep breath*" at the end, it shows that you were laughing so hard you couldn't breathe. So pretty intense.

Most of those brazilian examples are craaaaaaazy and I would assume you were having a seizure if you used those. :lol: <- Also an appropriate way of laughing over the internet.
-Adam

LadyMondegreen
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby LadyMondegreen » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:25 am UTC

This is a fascinating question and I'm not sure if my answer will help, but here it is.

I rarely actually type out haha or anything like that. If I find something funny I'll say so, but if it's funny enough to make me physically laugh out loud then I'm not typing, I'm laughing. When I stop laughing and write, I tend to use descriptive words to express how funny something was. I'll describe the length or how my sides hurt or how tears ran down my face. I may also simply say that I found it hilarious, but I find that this translates best to people who know me well, and know that I don't overuse the word hilarious. I don't really use internet laughing customs, mainly because I tend to only use internet customs when I'm typing what I'm saying. When I laugh I stop typing and so I revert to formal English.

I never really thought about this til now, so thanks. Fabulous question.

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WanderingLinguist
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby WanderingLinguist » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:47 pm UTC

Korean definitely uses length to indicate intensity (there being no "uppercase" in Korean, it's really the only way).

In the case of Korean, most of the internet slang for laughing consists of a consonant alone (Normally, for real words, consonants and vowels are combined into syllable blocks). As a result, for a not-quite-laugh or almost-laugh, you can get by with even just a single character.

This laughing has been romanized, so you'll see "k" by itself for laughing, as well as "kk", though the most common seems to be "kkk".

The most common are ㅋㅋㅋ and ㅎㅎㅎ (romanized "kkk" and "hhh" respectively), which can be used in any length. I've seen a few others (like ㄱㄱㄱ or ㄲㄲㄲ) but they are very uncommon and may even be typos.

To express crazy laughter, I've occasionally seen these mixed, as in:

ㅋㅋㅋㅎㅎㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㄱㅋㄱㅋㅋㅋㅎㅋㅎㅎㅋㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ흐ㅋㅋ크크ㅎㅎㅎㅋㅎㅎㅋㅎㅎ흫킇크흫ㅎㅎ~

...which to me (as a foreigner) gives the impression of gasping for breath near the end of the laugh. But I've never actually asked what that's supposed to sound like.

Derek
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Derek » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:18 am UTC

Japanese also uses "wwww" repeated as desired. I'm not sure the etymology of it.

Daimon
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Daimon » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:20 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Japanese also uses "wwww" repeated as desired. I'm not sure the etymology of it.


笑う -> わらう -> Warau -> Wa -> w

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steewi
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby steewi » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:05 am UTC

Chinese is pretty simple. They have a character for it: 哈 (conveniently pronounced and transliterated "ha"). Its typical use is two of them (哈哈), but it can be reduplicated ad nauseam for longer laughs.

Before anyone asks, it's pretty much coincidence that the right hand half looks kind of like a laughing face with a stereotyped Asian hat. That's providing the sound. The square on the left is the radical that tells you that it's about language and sound.

Edit: I was pleasantly surprised when I put something in Spanish including "jaja" into Google Translate and it actually translated it as "lol".

Edit2: Apparently in Arabic you can repeat the letter h "ه" or the same effect: هههههه (they're all the same letter - it just appears different when it's the beginning/middle/end of a word or on it's own. In French, héhé seems to work, and Ха-ха! in Russian (but no one seems to use more than three хаs.

Роберт
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby Роберт » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:14 pm UTC

tee-hee
steewi wrote: In French, héhé seems to work, and Ха-ха! in Russian (but no one seems to use more than three хаs.


See also http://translate.google.com/#auto/en/%D ... 0%B3%D0%B0
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mathmannix
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby mathmannix » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:09 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:hohoho = never used except by santa claus. Possibly a sarcastic laugh.


Usage note: "hohoho" is also the laugh of the Jolly Green Giant. (Not that anyone has ever seen him and Santa Claus together at the same time, AFAIK... hmm.)

Also, allow me to add:

heh = derisively indicating that something intended to be funny is, in fact, not
heh heh heh = somewhat of a cross between "evil plan laugh" and "snarky laugh"
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alessandro95
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby alessandro95 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:16 pm UTC

steewi wrote:Chinese is pretty simple. They have a character for it: 哈 (conveniently pronounced and transliterated "ha"). Its typical use is two of them (哈哈), but it can be reduplicated ad nauseam for longer laughs.

Before anyone asks, it's pretty much coincidence that the right hand half looks kind of like a laughing face with a stereotyped Asian hat. That's providing the sound. The square on the left is the radical that tells you that it's about language and sound.


I lived in a city in china whose first charachter was 哈, when I had just arrived to china that was so confusing because people wrote 哈哈 to me in chats or mails and I had some problems guessing the meaning!

In thailand they write "555555" because they pronounce 5 somehow like "ha", more fives=more laughter!
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chayanin
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Re: Size-based intensity for written laughs

Postby chayanin » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:03 am UTC

alessandro95 wrote:
steewi wrote:Chinese is pretty simple. They have a character for it: 哈 (conveniently pronounced and transliterated "ha"). Its typical use is two of them (哈哈), but it can be reduplicated ad nauseam for longer laughs.

Before anyone asks, it's pretty much coincidence that the right hand half looks kind of like a laughing face with a stereotyped Asian hat. That's providing the sound. The square on the left is the radical that tells you that it's about language and sound.


I lived in a city in china whose first charachter was 哈, when I had just arrived to china that was so confusing because people wrote 哈哈 to me in chats or mails and I had some problems guessing the meaning!

In thailand they write "555555" because they pronounce 5 somehow like "ha", more fives=more laughter!


Yep. 5 is pronounced as /haː/ in Thai, so people can just hold the <5> key as long as they need.

You'll also see a lot of <555+>. The plus sign arose to represent "long" laugh, but now it's just like a standard convention.


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