This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Nuts and Bolts: leetspeak.

How do you prove you're one of the elite?

Yes, okay, your leather jacket, tiara, or accent might do it: but what if you're online?

Well, then you might use leet, otherwise known as leetspeak, or 1337.

Do you see the connection between the word leet and the numbers  1337? Because that's how leetspeak works. It's used chiefly by computer gamers and hackers, and it's a formalised way of mangling words to prove membership of the in-crowd. 

I, for instance, am a n00b at this - a newcomer, or newbie - but there are those who can converse in leetspeak quite fluently. There's even a web-comic called Megatokyo which has characters who speak it.

Leet-tweaks include putting -x0r on the end of a word instead of     -er. -ed might be replaced with 'd, or just the d by itself. An & sign means and, so b& means banned - and, as a further layer of difficulty, it might be written b7 instead, because the & and the 7 are typed using the same key.

There's lots of playfulness, creativity, and showing-off in leet: the use of 1_1 to represent the letter U, for instance isn't either easy or time-saving, but it does display ingenuity. Leetspeak also positively enjoys exploiting what some people call grammatical and spelling errors.  

Clever? Yes, certainly. Original? Well, I don't know. Is leet so very different from the old LEROY WOZ ERE? Or backslang

I'm not sure leet is quite so ground-breaking, after all.

Word To Use Today: leet. It's short for elite, which comes from the Old French eslit, which means chosen, from the Latin ēligere to elect.

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