Having received an unexpected lol at the end of an email from a French translator, I wondered what the equivalent would be in the native tongue. Bring on Wikipedia!
Lol – in case you don’t have teenage children – stands for laugh(ing) out loud (not lots of love as is also sometimes believed). Although commonly used in many languages, there are some native tongue equivalents – such as:
mdr: the French use the abbreviation of mort de rire which roughly translates as died of laughter
mkm: in Afghanistan this abbreviation of the Dari phrase ma khanda mikonom means I am laughing
笑: in Japanese, traditionally the kanji for laugh (笑) was used in the same way as lol. It can be read as wara and so just w has taken over as the abbreviation.
A number of countries prefer to use the sound of laughing – using letters which are pronounced ha ha ha, such as חחח/ההה in Hebrew, 555 in Thai and kkk in Portuguese.
Incidently, before the internet or even the phone took over our language, you could laugh in morse code with hi hi. The sound of this in morse, di-di-di-dit di-dit, di-di-di-dit di-dit, is thought to represent chuckling.
In some languages, lol is an actual word: in Dutch it means fun (with lollig meaning funny) and in Welsh it means nonsense.
For more international lol’ing, take a look at Wikipedia or give us your own examples.