LOLCats and LOLCode

Although I am an avid reader of a few blogs (see sidebar), I don't read many blogs. This means that when people talk about what is going on in the blogsphere*, I usually have no idea what they're talking about. I rely on the blogs I read to do the legwork and bring tattered fragments back to me. The biggest source of information for me in this area is Language Log, a blog that has an insane number of readers, many erudite posters, and a keen interest in how language is evolving in the, um, blogosphere.

It's thanks to LL that LOLCats and LOLCode have come to my attention. LOLCats are captioned cat photos; apparently they're all over the place. Did you know about this? I saw this comic from xkcd a couple of weeks ago, and I Totally Did Not Get It. I do now.

What interests LL posters about these cats is the grammar. Here's what Linguistic Mystic has to say:

Cats have bad grammar, and it’s funnier that way. In many of the pictures I found, I’ve noted pretty significant deviations from conventional English Grammar. Ranging from the incorrect application of language rules ("eated"), to internet style contractions ("plz" for "Please"), to out and out incorrect verb agreement ("I are serious cat"), many of these captions use blatantly bad grammar. The fact of the matter, though, is that the bad grammar somehow makes it funnier.

And now, we have LOLCode. Here's a canonical example from the lolcode site:


Four syntax elements in four lines:
- HAI and KTHXBYE are the start and stop block delimiters.
- CAN HAS is a feature request, like require or include.
- VISIBLE is a print statement.

I wonder if this will take off. Or if they'll develop an object-oriented version (cats and kittens!)


* Yep, I feel the same way when I say blogosphere as I do when I swear. Or say the word bling**.

**One of my more embarrassing moments lately was when I found myself explaining to a friend in a very UNCOOL WHITE LADY kind of way what bling is. My much cooler friend watched my pathetic writhing in mounting horror for a few minutes before she put me out of my misery. Told me I was a very sad loser and at least 8 years behind the times. And that I was a loser. A very behind-the-times sad one.


richard said...

I can't say "bling" anymore? What am I going to do with this tattoo now? Add the letters "enfee" in front of it?

I haven't had the energy to figure out this whole LOLCats thing yet, so thanks for bringing back the tatters to me :-)

Mr. Kite said...

It is amazing how much funnier those cat pictures are with the captions. Very funy.

I had never heard of LOLCats either. I'm going to check with my blogosavvy son to see what he's heard.

Darren said...

I iz readn ur blog.

Yes, LOLCats are all the rage with a coworker of mine. Check out www.icanhascheezburger.com

There is something about the stupefyingly terrible grammar of the captions (since cats are very assertive but don't speak English well) that makes it hilarious, I agree. You find yourself thinking in LOLCatese before long.

Molly said...

I'm so cool I laughed my arse off at that xkcd cartoon. I didn't think it was so much that cats naturally have bad grammar as that they've picked up bad spelling and grammar from teh internets, as they say. So many of the captions glued to cats are takeoffs on the "IM IN UR BASE KILLING UR DOODZ" meme. Not that my cats would ever stoop that low.

Molly said...

Forgot to mention, Mr. Chaucer hath likewise discovered "thes joili and gentil peyntures ycleped “Cat Macroes” or “LOL Cattes .” Thes wondirful peintures aren depicciouns of animals, many of them of gret weight and girth, the which proclayme humorous messages in sum queynte dialect of Englysshe (peraventure from the North?). Many of thes cattes (and squirreles) do desiren to haue a “cheezburger,” or sum tyme thei are in yower sum thinge doinge sum thinge to yt."

fiona-h said...

that explains 2 funny ones I saw:


(pic of cat wedged deeply in couch)


(pic of cat behind desk)