We'll show you how to translate wkwkwkwkwkwk into other languages so, you know, you can laugh with other parts of the world.

Krystal Buckle   19 July 2017 13:00

What used to be an active verb that required shouting “Hahaha!” with exaggerated head movements and flailing arms has now been banished to the virtual world where ‘LOL’ and ‘ROFL’ reign supreme. Since we can’t burst out into hysterical laughter, chuckle, snicker, guffaw, crack up, giggle or break into a big toothy grin via text or social media, the world’s online community have created their equivalents- a host of different ways to convey meaning.
Now, we can laugh without really laughing.

In an era when text messages can be written in emojis, the invention and use of laughing acronyms in the digital realm has come to symbolize a lot more than what it appears. Central to the human spirit and one of many emotive functions of language, a virtual ‘hahaha’ sends meaning through length and context. For example, ‘hahaha’ can mean something completely different to an isolated ‘ha.’

What makes virtual laughter so interesting is that we are all hearing the same sound but creating different interpretations of it. This is referred to as ‘onomatopoeia’- a word that phonetically reproduces the sound it describes, like animal sounds ‘oink’, ‘chirpy or ‘meow’. The Indonesian ‘wkwkwk,’ believed to have first been used in the online gaming community, evolved from the word ‘ngakak’. Onomatopoeias are not the same between foreign languages, hence the reason why ‘hahaha’ in English is equivalent to ‘wkwkwk’ in Indonesia.

How breezy would international diplomacy be if diplomats’ were armed with a book on how to laugh, sneeze and burp in every language? Below are some different ways laughter is expressed behind our computer screens:

55555- Thailand
The number 5 in Thai is pronounced ‘ha’. Instead of writing ‘hahahah’, Thai speakers express their laughter numerically with ‘555’.

www- Japan
Originating from the Kanji character for ‘laugh’ which is pronounced ‘warai’. In online chat rooms, warai became shortened to ‘w’ and then ‘www’, much the same way ‘ha’ evolved into ‘hahaha’.

rsrsrs- Brazil
Rsrsrs is an abbreviation of the word risos (laughs).

nnn- Israel
In Israel, the letter n is pronounced ‘kh’. So khkhkh sounds like hahaha.

*asg*- Sweden
An abbreviation for asgarv which means intense laughter.

MDR- France
Mdr= mort de rire, meaning dying of laughter.

Jajajá- Latin America

LWKM and LWKMD- Nigeria
LWKM translates to “Laugh wan kill me” & LWKMD translates to “Laugh wan kill me dead”

So, are you ready to take your laughs international?


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