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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

When saying 'haha' does not mean you're laughing

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China's cyberspace is known for its buzz and vibrancy, being the world's largest with 751 million Internet users as of end June, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Three in 10, or 220 million, are aged between 20 and 29.

What happens when "hehe" means "you are stupid" and "haha" means "get lost"? And to give a treat is "vomiting blood"?

It is no joke - one has to use at least six "ha"s to indicate that one is genuinely laughing, according to manuals floating around online deciphering such youth cyberspeak.

one trend is a move away from text-based catchphrases to visual images and animated gifs...."They help to speed up communication and can transmit more information with richer content in a shorter time,"

Given the wide use of Internet catchphrases, some fear that these will adversely affect the proper use of the Chinese language, especially among young students..."While we recognise that they can enrich the development of (the Chinese) language, some of them can also be out of line and unhealthy.

"This is a creative play on words, because language as a thing in itself is an expression of culture."

Consider also the condensed nature of twitter, which allows you to only text 140 characters (approx. 20 words)

Qn: ‘The quality of written language is being destroyed by social media.’ What is your view? (Cam. 2017)