Well, I learned something new today. Leetspeak. Have you heard of it? I guess I’ve been out of the states too long.
Someone referred me to Leet, and explained that it is actually most commonly called 1337 or l33t5p34k, 133t, or l33t. Are you shaking your head? I was.
It seems that the true nerds of the world got together on chats around the Internet and developed this cryptic lanugage which is actually not a language as much as it is a novel way of spelling in English. Wonder what this would look like in Russian? Yikes. Anyway, users of Leetspeak use non-alphabetic characters, like numbers and sumbols, to replace english letters to spell a word so it “kinda” resembled the original, like 1337 can look like l-e-e-t, if you think about it.
They also use phonetic sounds to replace letters, like gr8t.
While it came out of the old Internet bulletin board systems, it continued and expanded through the development of online chats and forums. American Online users, a vastly youthful group, really expanded its usage as a method to speed up their chats and create a cryptic language of their own without the trouble of actually learning a real language.
According to the wiki definition:
Leetspeak is not popular amongst all hackers, and nowadays is most commonly used in an ironic manner to represent immaturity. Many consider it a pointless affectation, and as it has become widely used it is less useful as a way of showing membership of an “elite” group. It is nonetheless a cultural phenomenon well known amongst hackers and many other Internet users.
It’s amazing what you learn when you start prowling around and meeting new people. Some will tell you the darnest things, some things you wish you never knew, and others will just dazzle you with their amazing collection of useless information.
I’m not sure what to classify this under, but it certainly is a little lesson in Internet culture.