Here’s how to laugh like a native in foreign languages


It is a universal truth that laughter is contagious. There are few things funnier than watching someone break down into a fit of hysterical laughter, utterly helpless in the face of the primal reaction that has taken over their body, whether they like it or not. Laughter is also a great connector that goes beyond language – it can be shared between people who have no other way to communicate with each other, making it an indispensable aid in a foreign country.

Comedian Paul B Lowney once said “Laughter has no foreign accent”. While the sentiment behind this poetic statement is undeniable, in the modern world where visual communication via social media and media is as common as face-to-face conversation, the way we express laughter has taken on a whole new meaning. meaning – accent and all.

Current sound laughter doesn’t really change that much from country to country, from language to language – but the way that sound is written does. This led language-learning platform Preply to map the way we laugh online around the world, not just in different languages, but across idiosyncrasies that develop geographically.

If we turn our attention logically to English first, the classical written representation is hahaalthough subtle differences may imply different meanings – eh eh for a more ironic laugh, hehe for a more playful tone. But today there are other more direct terms that have become equally (if not more) common – LOL to burst out laughing, LMAO for the sheer hilarity of laughing my ass off, LMFAO to add even more emphasis with the ‘F for flipper’ (or a louder cuss if you wish), or the more family friendly ROFL if you find yourself rolling on the floor laughing in mirth.

But did you know that in Nigeria you are likely to meet LWKM Where LWKMDwhich means ‘laugh wan kill me’ or ‘laugh wan kill me die’, or if you find yourself doing a jamaican laugh, you can do them DWL or “dead wild laughter”.

Acronyms are by no means limited to the English language and its dialects. An amused Francophone can find himself LOL (“died laughing”) meaning “died laughing”, or for a slightly lower tone, PTDR (“farted laughing”) meaning “farted laughing”! In Portuguese you may be greeted with the slightly more impenetrable and not really translated kkkk or maybe rsrsrsword abbreviation laugh meaning “to laugh”. Meanwhile, the Italians are laughing upside down with hahaha Where eh ehas their language lacks the strongly aspirated “ha” sound of English.

Further, Thailand is a country that knows how to laugh – it is called “the land of smiles” – but its common written representation is particularly curious: 55555. It’s simply because the number five is pronounced “ha”. A particularly handy way to show extreme laughter is to add a plus symbol, so crack a good joke and you might get a 5555555+! The Malay language also uses numbers to save time by shortening hahaha to a very functional ha3. Effective yes, expressive a little less.

Hindi has another weird linguistic quirk around laughter – it’s split by gender, with men using a simple haha and women eh eh. Even more interesting is another way to show your enjoyment of a joke with the answer EC numberwhere THIS means ‘one’ creating an interpretative translation like ‘for me this joke is number one’.

Our last language of laughter is one of the most widespread in the world: Arabic. But since there are so many dialects in different countries, from Egypt to Algeria, from Morocco to the United Arab Emirates, there are no native speakers of Arabic as such. But again, laughter is the universal language and that means any Arabic speaker can convey their joy to anyone, regardless of their dialects, with هههههههههه – the Arabic representation of ‘hahaha’.

You can see many more examples of how to laugh online in different languages ​​on Preply.


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