Laughs Around the World: How to Have Fun in Different Languages

If your friend sent you this meme, how would you answer?

The most likely options are “haha” or “LOL” (which means “Laughing Out Loud”, if you didn’t know). But if you found this meme hilarious, you may want to laugh hard and use “HAHA”, “hahahahaha”, or “ROFL” (Rolling On the Floor Laughing).

The problem is that, if you have friends from around the world, they may not understand your answer at first. Though you may think that everyone laughs just the same, no matter the language they speak, this is not always the case. Read on and learn how to chat with your foreign friends like a native!

French

The most typical French laugh is just like the English one: “haha”, but there are some other variations, like “héhéhé”, “hihihi”, and “hohoho”. Another very common term to express amusement is “MDR”, which comes from mort de rire (laugh to death).

Spanish

In Spanish, the “h” letter is silent. So, speakers of this language use “Jajajaja” and some variations like “Jejejeje”, or even “Jijijiji” in some rare cases. If you want to laugh heartily, you can use “JAJAJA” or “jajajajajaja”.

Portuguese

If you are chatting with a Portuguese-speaking friend and they suddenly say “kkkkkkk”, don’t worry! Their keyboard is working alright. This is just the way they laugh in Portuguese. Other common laughs include “hahahah”, “hihihi”, and even “huehuehue”. If you speak with Brazilians, you may notice that they also use “rsrsrs”, in which “rs” is short for risos (laughs).

Russian

When a Russian friend closes a message saying “хохо”, he doesn’t mean “hugs and kisses”. This is one of the ways in which they laugh. Actually, “x” is pronounced similarly to “h”. So “hahaha” would be “хахаха” in Russian, and “hihihi” is “хи-хи-хи”.

Yiddish

Yiddish uses the symbol ח to express laughter, so our “hahaha” would be חחח.

Japanese

The Japanese use the symbol 笑 which literally means “to laugh” (it even looks like a happy face!). As it is read as “wara”, many people found it easier to just use the letter “w”. So, you can see Japanese people laughing “wwwwwww” or 笑笑笑笑.

Other common ways to laugh in Japanese include ははは, which is read as “hahaha”, and ふふっ, which sounds like “fufufufu”, which is like a giggling sound.

Greek

In Greek, the “h” sound is represented by the letter χ, so χαχαχα is “hahaha”. Easy, right?

Danish

In Danish, the consonant stays the same. What changes, in this case, is the vowel. So, the way to laugh in this language is “hæhæhæhæ”.

Thai

This is a curious one. Thai people laugh “55555”, this is because the number five is pronounced “ha”. So, a fast way to shorten “hahahaha” is by using the number.

Mandarin Chinese

In Mandarin, the word for laughter is 笑声 and is pronounced xiào shēng. Though many people use it to express amusement, it is also common to see onomatopeias, like 哈哈 (pronounced “hāhā”), 呵呵 (pronounced “hehe”) and 嘻嘻 (“hihi”), which suggests giggling.

Korean

The Korean equivalent of “hahaha” is ㅋㅋㅋ, which sounds like “kkk”.

Hebrew

Laughing in Hebrew is very similar to other languages: xà xà xà and חָה־חָה־חָה.

So, now you can laugh like a native at your international friends’ jokes and memes! But if this is not enough for you, and you want to learn how to hold complete conversations in your target language, why not sign up for our Online Language Classes? Learn with native tutors and a flexible curriculum, adapted to your needs, requirements and background.