Daily Archives: December 14, 2007

A brave new world of language

I can’t keep up with today’s languages. The internet and gaming languages, that is. I thought I could handle LOL, for instance; I thought it meant “Laugh out Loud” or “Lots of Laughs.” Now they’ve added an overusage meaning to it, which means “Lack of Laughter.” It’s a replacement for having nothing to contribute to a chat, for instance, or “Your statement lacks even the vaguest trace of humor but I’ll pretend I’m amused.”

A friend of M. D.’s keeps using W00T! in answer to some emails. That friend is also a writer so I figured she wasn’t illiterate or using it for the exclamation “What!”

Since I am a detective and I like to find things out, I went on the scent of the W00T! definition.

In the process I discovered a completely new language (well, if 1982 can be called new) that was developed in the early 80’s by computer geeks who didn’t want search engines to detect their websites. They invented l33t, or “Elite,” where letters are changed to numbers and symbols and are phonetically written. Gamers and chatters (aha! M. D.’s friend is a gamer) appropriated the language, sometimes as shortcuts, sometimes as a status of what they are. From what I could tell, there’s a fine line between use and overuse, and you can teeter between cool or a total idiot or nerd. In addition, the language evolves continuously with new acronyms and new usage. (How the heck are you supposed to keep up?)

W00T! has gaming origins and meant “We Owned the Other Team” or “Wonderful Loot” (Everquest gaming slang). Now it means a sign of agreement or excitement, or less commonly “Waste of our Time” or “Way out of Topic” in chat rooms (although this is less common).

Okay, here’s one:

ROFL!!!!1 u r teh FUNi!11 i lub u <3

It means, as far as I can tell, Roll on Floor Laughing!!! You are the funniest. I love you. (emoticon meaning heart).

Oh, yeah, because emoticons, groups of punctuation or/and letters, in a non-graphic environment, also translate into feelings. : – ) is the regular happy face (remove the spaces), ; – ) is a wink, : – D is LOL, and : – P is a raspberry. Here they are, translated graphically, courtesy of WordPress: 🙂

😉

😀

😛

I suppose it’s like any language, you learn it as you use it, but there is potential for silliness. Tell me why the following l33tsp34k is easier than writing English:

EX) 1|= `/0|_| C4|| |234|) 7|-|15, `/0|_| |234|_|_`/ ||33|) 70 637 |_41|)

On the other hand, if you want to feel like you’re part of an l33t or that you can write an esoteric language only teh f3VV (the few) can understand, this is it.

Oh, and curious what the above means? Here it is:

For example if you can read this, you really need to get laid.

(LOL)

For more on the new urban language, consult the Urban Dictionary.

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