“Europe is five young people on one bench sharing a chocolate bar. Their idea of entertainment and fun is so much different than ours”
Mike Myers, Canadian actor.
The ability to laugh is one of those specific human features that distinguishes man from animal. According to some studies, we physically laugh 17 times a day on average – something that our friendly pets can’t challenge. But we also laugh several times a day on the Internet. We all know that you can express your amusement online by merely typing “haha” or “lol” in English, but have you ever wondered how other European languages indicate laughter in chats, text messaging and on social media? Have you ever encountered a Finn writing *reps* online, a German laughing with *grins* or an Estonian typing “irw”? If you want to make acquaintance with your European neighbors and build strong relationships, you might want to know how to laugh with them. So this article is for you. Who knows? You might become a “lol”-er, a “haha”-er, a “mdr”-er or a “*asg”-er? Or you’ll end up being the king of “hehe’s” or the queen of “xaxaxa”… But don’t forget, folks, it doesn’t matter how you laugh online, the most important is to enjoy the fun!
rsrsrs – kkkk – haha
The Portuguese roar with laughter! But they do it different ways… “rsrsrs” stands for ‘risos‘ which means “smiles” so one is not necessarily ‘laughing’ but it’s quite close. Even if it’s more used in Brazil, they also have “kkkk” which is supposed to be a diminutive of the sound of laughter “quáquáquá“. They can also use the “rá-rá-rá” expressed three times, with a pause in between, and the ‘r’ pronounced as it is in Spanish for an ironic laughter, when you do not find something funny, and you wish to express this, not laughing, but pretending that you are laughing. And of course, the Portuguese can count on the “haha” which just represents the sound of a great laugh.
As in Spanish you don’t really pronounce the “h” at the beginning of words (take “hola” for example), writing “hahaha” to express laughter online would just sound like you’re visiting the doctor for a sore throat. Spaniards therefore use the onomatopoeia“Jajaja” when chatting, which is actually much more graceful and enjoyable!
France – Belgium
Mdr – Ptdr – mouhaha
The French use the delightful acronym “mdr” when chatting online. It’s an initialism for “mort de rire” which literally means ‘dead of laughter’. When the conversation is worth more than a basic “mdr“, the French do not hesitate to upgrade their laughter with the acronym “ptdr“, the initials of “pété de rire” which means ‘broken with laughter’. It’s approximately equivalent to English ‘PMSL’ (‘pissing myself laughing’). And of course, let’s not forget the evil “mouhaha”
Híhí – Haha – Hehe
Icelanders are very funny people. When they laugh, they have this subtle form of giggling that will bring you happiness and joy for an hour, if not the whole day. It’s then not surprising to find them laughing online with either a cute “Híhí“, a more expressive “Haha” or a conniving “Hehe“. They are all approximations to the sound of a giggle.
United Kingdom – Ireland
Lol – LMAO – ROFL
Did you know that the famous acronym for ‘laughing out loud’ was first used almost exclusively on Usenet, a decade before the World Wide Web. It is one of many initialisms for expressing bodily reactions, in particular laughter, as text, including initialisms for more emphatic expressions of laughter such as ‘LMAO’ (‘laughing my ass off’) and ‘LMAO’ (‘rolling on the floor laughing”). As you may have noticed, ‘LOL’, ‘ROFL’ and some of their relatives have now crossed from computer-mediated communication to face-to-face communication – to the great displeasure of a lot of people.
Our norwegian friends succeeded in making ‘LOL’ means something in their own language. ‘Lol’ can indeed also be translated in Norwegian as “ler og ler” which mean ‘laugh and laugh’. This is quite convenient! They also expanded the exercice to the English ‘ROFL’ (‘Rolling on the floor laughing’) with the Norwegian equivalent ‘RPGOL‘ which means “Ruller på gulvet og ler“. How smart! When they are however tired to borrow these anglicisms, they can always use the simple “Haha“.
*asg*? What are those strange letters that Swedes use online in most of their conversations and after some jokes? Are they suffering? Are they maybe suffocating? None of that! *asg* is actually an abbreviation for “asgarv” which means ‘intense laughter’ in Swedish. It has nothing to do with the English abbreviation ‘ASG’ for ‘Awkward Social Gathering’. Unless you find yourself in one of them and can then send a message to your friends: “I’m at an ASG! *asg*”
*reps* – *naur* – hah ha
In Finland, “Hah ha” is just the transcription of the expression of laughing (like Spaniard’s “jajaja“). It can also be written differently like: “hah“, “heh” or “heh he” depending on how the person likes to write it. The Finns also often use *reps* which means ‘to crack up laughing’ or *naur* from the verb “nauraa” which translates as ‘to laugh’. But nowadays, they tend to use simple smileys like : D or : ) because the text may sound too mocking.
*G* – *GG* – Hæhæhæ – Høhøhø
In Denmark, *G* and *GG* are both used online and are allegedly short for “Griner” (‘Laughing’), “Griner griner” (‘Laughing laughing’), “Griner groft” (‘Laughing hard’) or “Griner grundigt” (‘Laughing thoroughly’). The short version *GG* may be used for different things depending on who you ask, but the meaning itself is the same. This is mainly used by older people as the young Danes now (unfortunately) usually use “lol”. Danes can also use the strange but funny “Hæhæhæ” and “Høhøhø” to express their joy or laughter online.
Netherlands – Belgium – Luxembourg
There was no need at all for the Dutch to invent a new word for the English “Lol”. Why? Because, in Dutch, “lol” is actually a true word and not an acronym! Indeed, it means coincidentally “fun” (whereby “lollig” means “funny”). So why should they bother with creating of a new word?
Germany – Austria – Switzerland
*grins* – *lach*
German-speakers are used to laugh online with the international “LOL”. But it’s also very popular in German to set the inflektiv in asterisks to express one of those. When chatting online, they might therefore prefer using *grins* (sometime shorten to *g*) or *lach* to express their laughter. It means *smile* and *laugh*. This kind of speech is of course, as in English, considered childish and may even be impolite.
In Italian, the verb to laugh is “ridere” which doesn’t match to any corresponding Italian accronym for the three ‘Lol’ letters. They don’t do like the French with “mdr,” even though they can say “morto da ridere” like in French “mort de rire“. So online, they better use ‘Hahaha‘ instead, but, in Italian, it is usually written like “eheheh” or “ahahah” with the “h” after the “e”/”a”. As in many countries, “ahahah” is just onomatopeic.
Czech Republic – Slovakia
hh – cha cha
We also laugh in Czech Republic and Slovakia! The letters “hh” are often used online as a diminutive of “Ha Ha” which is the interjection of laughter in Czeck and Slovakian. There is another interjection of laughter “cha cha” but it doesn’t necessarily express laughter. It can express mocking as well (such as in “cha cha! You’re just saying nonsense”) or disrespect.
haha – Heheszki
Polish teenagers have this funny word “Heheszki” which means ‘kicks-and-giggles’ to express amusement without any serious purpose. But they now tend to use rather English words in slang and stopped in the past few years inventing new words and just took the existing ones from “western countries” such as “haha“. A Pole tells me that when he was younger (about ten years ago) he used some words like “spoko” (which means ‘okay’ or ‘cool’), ‘ziom‘ (someone who is your good friend), “WSzM” for “Wielka szalona miłość” (‘Great crazy love’) but he doesn’t think it’s in use any longer…
cha cha cha
There’s no direct equivalent of ‘lol’ in Lithuanian. But Lithuanians use the “cha cha cha” to imitate the sound of laugh. They also use sort of fraseologisms such as “juoktis visais plaučiais” (‘to laugh your lungs out’) or “Iš padų kristi” (‘to fall out of your feet’)
There is not much to be said about the Latvian ‘lol’. It’s a simple “ha ha” without originality. But I may be wrong. If you happen to be from Latvia and would like to share your priceless knowledge: don’t be shy! Just send me an email and I will update the article accordingly.
Estonian is a funny language and if your hears are not used to listen to it. It might then sounds weird to you to read them saying “irw“. Those three letters are actually an abbreviation of the Estonian verb “irvitamine” which means ‘to laugh in a special way’ or ‘to grin’. A great thing to know is that the English “lol” is very similar to “loll” in Estonian, which means ‘dumb’. So if anyone doesn’t know the lingo, he might think he’s being called stupid or dumb.
хаха (haha) – бгггггг (bgggg) – гггггг (gggggg) – хихи (hihi) – хехе (hèhè)
Yes, it’s possible to express laughter online with a different alphabet. Our Belarussian neighbors show us the way! They might even win the competition in terms of the number of possible exclamations used to express laughter. They have indeed the choice between using “хаха” (wich gives in latin alphabet ‘haha’), “бгггггг” (‘bgggg’), “гггггг” (‘gggggg’), “хихи” (‘hihi’) or “хехе” (‘hèhè’). Now you can chat with Belarus people!
бгггггг (bhhhh) – гггггг (hhhhhh)
In Ukraine, laughing sounds like a throb! Both in Ukrainian and Russian, “бгггггг” or “гггггг” (‘bgggggg’, ‘ggggggg’) are used to indicate giggle. Ukrainians and Russians also often use “олололо” (olololo), which evidently was inherited from “Trololo Man”. In 2009, a 1976 video of Khil singing a non-lexical vocable version of the song “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home” (Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой) was uploaded to YouTube and became known as “Trololololololololololo” or “Trololo”. The name “Trololo” became an onomatopoeia of the distinctive way Khil vocalized throughout the song. The quirky and catchy video quickly went viral and Khil became known as “Mr. Trololo” or “Trololo Man”.
Romania – Moldova
haha – hehe – mdr
It’s quite interesting to notice the links between the French and the Romanian language. As you may know, both are latin languages. So it comes as no surprise that Romanians also have an equivalent to the French “mdr“, or in full length “mort de rire” which literally means ‘dead of laughter’. In Romania, “mdr” is indeed also used and means “mor de râs“. But actaully, the most common onomatopoeia online still remain “haha” and “hehe“.
háhá – ehe-he
There is nothing really particular with the Hungarian equivalent to ‘lol’ – it’s as simple as a “háhá” with accents. The length of it depends on how funny we find the thing we are laughing about. Note that you can also use “ehe-he” if you want to laugh elegantly. Hungarians also have the original “kac-kac” which is ironic and said with a bored expression indicating that you do not find something funny at all.
haha – hehe – hihi – hoho – bruohoho
Over the past few years, the anglo-american “lol” became very widespread in Slovenia, as in many other countries. But Slovenians also have a wide range of onomatopoeic words, such as “hihi” for a conspiracy laughter in the sense of “just I/we know for a plot” or “hehe” for a mocking laughter as in “I knew you would fail” or “haha” for a general laugh, “hoho” for major fails or even “bruohoho” for epic fails.
Croatia – Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Kosovo
хахаха (hahaha) – хихихи (hihihi) – хехехе (hehehe)
If you want to chat online with some Croatian, Serbian or Bosnian friends, make sure you know that “хахаха” means ‘hahaha’. It’s a bit sarcastic, like in Hungarian, and can be followed by “Jako smešno!” meaning ‘Very funny!’ or “Umirem od smeha!” meaning ‘I am bursting of laughter!’. You can also opt for “хихихи” (‘hihihi’) which translates more the sense of giggling. Note that “хехехе” (‘hehehe’) can be a bit meanish.
hahaha – muhahaha
In Albania, “hahaha” is the most used tag on whatsapp, facebook or in SMS. But Albanians also tend to use now “muahahaha” after a famous 1976 albanian film Zonja nga qyteti (or, in English, ‘The Lady from the City‘) in which, the character “Koci” keeps laughing with a loud and evil “muahahaha“.
In Bulgarian, “хахаха” is simply the same as the English “hahaha” only with Cyrillic letters. When Bulgarians are too lazy to switch to a Latin alphabet to type : D, they do it that way :Д ! There’s also the retarded “ahxahxahx” which some despise : it’s obviously a mix of “haha” and “xaxa”. Bulgarians also have other onomatopoeic words to express different kinds of feelings, such as “Лелеее ” for ‘leleee’ which is the word used to express suprise or “Уаал” for ‘laal’ to say that something is very beautiful or nice.
λολ – xaxaxa – χεχε
The Greek ‘lol’ is as simple as a “λολ”. For a typical laughter, Greeks will tend to use more “χαχα” (‘xaxa’) which is the equivalent of ‘haha’. They would however prefer a “χοχο” (‘xoxo’) to express a brawling or a sarcastic laughter. But pay attention, “xoxoxo” in Greek also means ‘hugs and kisses’, not ‘hahaha’! A sneaky laughter would be “χεχε” (‘çeçe’), a girly laughter or gigling would be “χιχι” (‘çiçi’) and an evil laughter “μπουχαχα” (‘buxaxa’). There’s also χα0χα0χα0 which is used in trollish situations. Sort of like Greeks’ equivalent to huehue.
In Turkey, there is a whole range of terms to express laughter online. Turks first have “hahaha” – the very typical laughter, it’s usually triple ‘ha’, not double and Turks use it like Spaniards to mimick laughter. They also have “hehehe” or “eheheh” which sound a bit more ‘polite’ than “hahaha“. Than there is the cute “hihihi” which expresses more the idea of gigling. If Turks want to sound sarcastic, they can opt for the “ha… ha… ha..” or the sneaky-ish laughter “keh keh” or “kah kah“. Not to be confused with “ahahaha” which became popular after a TV series character who used to laugh this way. You can also count on the humiliating “puhahaha” (and its alternatives “uhaha” and “zuhaha“) and the evil “muahhahhah” (and its alternative “nihaha”), even though they are used less often. Last, but interesting enough, Turks also have the laughter “eki eki” that they used exclusively in comics, especially as an oldie way laughter.