The Abbreviation For Laughter Used In Japanese Message Boards and Chat Rooms Is?
When perusing the logs of online chat rooms in non-English languages, some patterns will become clear to you just based on similarities to English. In the Spanish and Greek languages, for example, “jajaja” and “xaxaxa”, respectively, are the textual analogs to our way, “hahaha”, of transcribing the sound of laughter.
In the case of Japanese, however, a different kind of shorthand evolved to express laughter. Rather than mimicking the sound of laughter, Japanese chatters write “www” instead of “hahaha”. Why “W”? It’s not a circular reference to the medium they’re using, the World Wide Web, but the use of a Western character to represent a Kanji character. The character for “laugh”, 笑, is pronounced “warai” and the chatters have simply, over time, reduced it to its first English alphabet letter “w”. The funnier the thing, the more w letters you use, from a simple “w” to indicate “ha” to a slew of “wwwwwwwww” to indicate hilarity.