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Last updated at 12:32 BST, Tuesday, 16 April 2013



How much do you know about language used in text messages? Do you know what this text message abbreviation 'LOL' means? Find out more with Jennifer and Rob in The English We Speak.

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Have you tried using LOL in a text message?

The script for this programme

Jennifer: Hello, and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I'm Jennifer, and with me in the studio today is Rob.

Rob: Hi there!

Jennifer: In this programme, we teach you about English words or phrases that you might find a little confusing.

(Phone text message sound)

Jennifer: Rob! You shouldn't have your phone switched on in the studio! It's not professional!

Rob: Sorry Jen, it's just a text message... It's from my friend - I made her a cake for her birthday.

Jennifer: That's very kind of you. Is she texting you to say thank you?

Rob: Well... actually... no! In fact, I think she's angry at me!

Jennifer: What do you mean?

Rob: Let me read it out. Her message said: "I'm supposed to be on a diet - don't make me any more delicious cakes ever again!" I think I've really upset her!

Jennifer: Are you sure you've read it correctly?

Rob: Yes! She's upset, I'm a bad friend - what should I do?

Jennifer: Hold on, let me have a look at the message - pass your phone over.

Rob: OK, here you go.

Jennifer: It says "I'm supposed to be on a diet - don't make me any more delicious cakes ever again..." Ah, I understand now. I don't think your friend is cross with you.

Rob: Really, why not?

Jennifer: Look at the text message. Do you see that she has written the letters L.O.L. - or LOL - at the end?

Rob: Oh yes! I didn't spot that... L.O.L. LOL. What does that mean?

Jennifer: It's a good example of English 'text speak', that is, language people use when texting, writing emails or talking over the internet. LOL, or L.O.L. stands for 'laughing out loud'.

Rob: Laughing out loud?

Jennifer: Yes, it's used instead of the sound of laughter. It’s usually used to show that something is a joke, or that a comment is meant to be funny - so your friend was joking when she said "don't make me any more delicious cakes!"

Rob: Phew! That's a relief. So I can write LOL on the end of a message, to let people know that I'm laughing or joking about something?

Jennifer: That's right.

Rob: Right! I'm going to practise. Let me send you a message. (Typing on phone) Sent!

Jennifer: (Text message sound) OK let me read it. "Hi Jen, I've decided that teaching English is too difficult. I'm going to teach Spanish instead, LOL!" I hope you're joking, Rob!

Rob: (Laughing) You KNOW I'm joking, I wrote that I was 'laughing out loud' - LOL - at the end.

Jennifer: Good, because we've got so many more words and phrases to learn in English before you can even think about any other languages! Join us again for another edition of The English We Speak, bye for now!

Rob: Bye!


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