When instant messaging, I often find myself terminating things I say with “lol”. Rarely do I actually laugh out loud when I use “lol”, but it does convey that I find something amusing or that I’m smiling as I say it.

In that respect, “lol” says so much more than the exclamation mark (“!”). Exclamation marks may represent fear, anger, excitement, elation, a raised voice, or surprise. It’s actually pretty useless: in fact, it’s worse than that. There’s a danger of miscommunication when something you intend as amusing is seen to be threatening.

So perhaps we should start to use “lol” as punctuation, though it’s really quite ugly. So it got me thinking… what could be used instead? I remembered that Catalan uses a mid dot (actually called, quite cutely, an “interpunct” and is known as punt volat in Catalan) in the middle of a double ‘l’. Its use somewhat redundant, though it’s a fairly useful means of quickly distinguishing between Catalan and Castilian languages. It represents the splitting of syllables in words where double ‘l’ exist; double ‘l’ is otherwise spoken somewhat differently. That’s a bit of background, anyway.

So, perhaps we might use l·l at the end of a sentence to represent our amusement? It would perhaps help people realise when I’m actually making a joke l·l