Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spelling reform? I got yur sp3lling ref0rm right h3r3, dood

After writing a little about spelling reform not long ago (here, for example), a contributor just passed along this link about leet speak. Little bits of leet have been appearing here almost since the beginning, of course, although I don't think I've used the term.

The wikipedia entry has some of the expected shortcomings: A cropping of elite to leet is hardly 'degenerative' (though that's not quite the word they wanted), and "technically, an argot" makes the definition of argot way too precise-sounding. But the table is cool, and not all of the morphology has been chewed over on linguistics/language blogs that I read.

Anyway, it keeps occurring to me that leet is some spelling reform I could get behind, or maybe more like free-form spelling. Here's a way to nurture creative use of language (in some sense, anyway), and it's a far more fundamentally positive thing to play with than insulting how wait-staff talk or enforcing the use of new epicene pronouns in scholarly books.

I've been asked to offer a tip of the Mallards cap to Ben Frey for the link. And oh yeah, image from here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I note that virtually all technical and academic specialties produce their own version of 'leet'. Such specialized nomenclature can't exactly be said to be 'incorrect', although it is not proper. See any show about cops or doctors for an example. Have a great day!