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I can haz ur-text?

Posted by Robin Abrahams  March 13, 2008 08:15 AM

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A reader who has noted my fondness for lolcats (and loldogs) sends me this amusing faux "history" of lolcats, featuring the Katzenjammer-Kids-like "original":

lol.jpg

I find myself using lolcat language a lot, especially (well, exclusively, really, because I don't want to be insanely annoying to people) with friends who also like them. Linguistically, the lol-conventions are strangely compelling because they are so open-ended and can express so many ideas, from the concrete to the abstract. The major lolcat tropes seem to cover almost every aspect of human psychology:

* Desire ("I can has X?")
* Motivation and action ("I'm in ur X doin Y")
* The need to be known by others ("My X, let me show you it)
* Recognition of individuality ("X has a flavor")
* Loss ("I has an X/Oh no they be stealin' my X")
* Acknowledgment of our sinful, selfish natures ("I [created] you an X but I [consumed] it")
* Fear and loathing ("Do not want!")
* The need to critique others ("X: Ur doin it wrong.").

Esperanto sounded like a good idea at the time, but it's been around for a hundred years or so and still hasn't picked up significant steam. Maybe it's time to give up on it and adopt lolspeak as the universal language.

lolmc.jpg

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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