Word Nerd: The silliest languages of the internet

21 Aug

In the beginning was the word, and the word was LOL, and from it, all memes were made.

First came the cat jokes. They soon became so popular that even this €5.6 billion telecom company felt that this was a good way to impress people:

The story goes back to 2006, when a Hawaii-based software programmer named Eric Nakagawa had a lousy day at work. He asked his friend Kari Unebasami, a web editor, to send him a funny picture to cheer him up, and she sent him this one that she found somewhere online:

Nakagawa found the picture so hilarious that he created a website, icanhascheezburger.com, and put it up there. It was just a private joke between friends, so they did not promote the site, but, to their surprise, it started getting hits from strangers. Long story short: traffic quickly exploded, user-generated memes poured in, and they sold the site in 2007 for $2 million.

The website contributed to the evolution of a pidgin language that came to be known as “LOLcat”. It seemingly had an unwritten rule that if you could misspell a word, you had to. Even “the” was frequently spelled “teh”. Words were often distorted deliberately – for instance, “kitty” was usually “kitteh”.

The language, which drew from pop culture, gaming lingo and common typing errors, was too silly for serious trolling, and contributed to the emergence of a relatively benign subculture that received the attention of even serious media, not to mention countless blogs. Cats dominated this subculture.

But things have changed. The saying “Cats rule, dogs drool” is outdated, as dogs too have found their own silly voice, known as “DoggoLingo”.

The Oxford Dictionaries blog notes that, like LOLCat, DoggoLingo reflects how we imagine what goes on in a dog’s brain – it’s “upbeat, joyful, and clueless in a relentlessly friendly way”.

DoggoLingo relies heavily on onomatopoeic expressions such as “mlem” or “blep” (tip of the tongue hanging out) and “bork” (obvious), and distorted words, such as “raspber” for “raspberry”, or “fren” for “friend”.

And now all the barriers have fallen. Any animal can rule the internet, even Snek, a.k.a “danger noodle”:

Got a favorite kitteh, doggo or other animal meme to share? Leave a comment below!

Read more Word Nerd posts here! Do let us know if you’d like us to cover a topic that you can’t find.


By BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer


More silliness:

Do Korean cats mew?
Why is spam called spam?
9 whacky and wonderful words to describe people
5 funny poets you need to read
#SmartStudent: How to be funny when you’re studying abroad

One Response to “Word Nerd: The silliest languages of the internet”

  1. Melissa Metivier August 23, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    LOLcats are my favorite, but the doggos are catching up…and snek takes it to a whole new level. the other day I saw a GIF that combined the various languages really well–a person poked a sleepy cat on the nose, the cat tucked its head under its body, and then twitched the tip of its tail. The sequence was captioned ‘pls no boop’ ‘am doing a sleep’ ‘heck off’

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