Laughing Online: A Morpho-Semantic Study on Typed Laughter-Derived Expressions Used in Hijazi Twitter and WhatsApp Instant Messages

Najah Ali Al-Jahdali


This study aims to explore the morpho-semantic features of Typed Laughter-Derived Expressions (TLDEs) used by sixty young Hijazi females aged (18-25) through instant messaging (IM) in online chatting on two social networking sites (SNSs) confined in this study to Twitter and WhatsApp. It focuses on the ways those Hijazi females express their online laughter in the absence of face-to-face interactions. Forty-five Twitter messages and one hundred and nine WhatsApp messages were screenshot by those Hijazi females and were submitted for morpho-semantic analysis. The results show that the following morpho-semantic processes are used: onomatopoeia, borrowing some English acronyms, hyperbole, parts of the body that are physically associated with laughter, haphazard letters, and repetition of a letter. Even though this study does not focus on emojis, emojis are found to be important in packing up those TLDEs to make the virtual situation similar to the real face-to-face one and to mark social interaction among online users as well.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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