Wednesday, November 02, 2005

7h15 1z teh r0xx0r!!!!!!111!!!!one!!!!!!!!!1

a couple of weeks ago wikipedia was hit with a string of racist or otherwise offensive additions to its entry on rosa parks, one of which went a little something like this:

Rosa Parks FINALLY GOT PWNED at the age of 92 on [...]

which sounded to me like a classical example of styleshifting (codeswitching?) to reference some sort of identity or language ideology, and it made me wonder how CMC scholars have looked at l337 using more than a purely descriptivist approach. it's a pretty loaded CMC-specific register (style? orthography? cyberlect?) and it's gone through a pretty interesting cycle of use over the years.

if anyone has seen any academic articles written on any facet of l337, or any thoughts or anecdotes or what have you, i'd love to hear them.

and all academic credibility has gone out the window with the title of this post.

sorry guys.
Here is a student paper that doesn't seem to have an author. And here is an identifiable one that I came across a while ago but never read. It sounds really interesting: "Lexical tensions in 'internet english': 1337 as language?"
from most of the people i've talked to, l33t is a joke. i've seen a version of it (or perhaps 133t morphology) used as:

1) an intensifier (i.e. LOLOLOLOX1!!!11!)
2) as marker of sarcasm (he is the 133t football0xr)

i'm trying to think of how else it's used , but it's escaping me now. i see more of this on message boards than in chat, especailly in the community i'm looking at.
1. Josh, I think I agree with you that it's meant to be humorous - at least in the case Joshua is referencing. It's also used for a third purpose, which is spoofing 'normal' language, like so. It seems to be a way to (self-)parody people who use online lingo, and it's utilized because it's a) distinctive, and b) well-known. And the fact that it's well-known, now, is no doubt part of why it's even more spoofable - because it's not a merely in-group code anymore.

2. Why divide? Let's call it a "dialect." Let's be uniters.

3. Joshua, academic credibility went out the window with your "the hot harcore" headline. But 17 1z oK b3Kuz 1 11k3 r33dng 1337 3vn th0 1 5Uxxx @ r1tng 1t.
aw, lauren. you type l33t like a n00b! well, unless you grabbed that from one of those online translators, in which case that thing translates like a n00b.

i'm not lashing out from bitterness about the hot hardcore thing, i swear. but it is interesting that l33t is rule governed enough that you can tell when its structure is compromised - kind of like seeing ungrammatical aave (i.e. he be leaving right now), but not reeeeally.

i think it's interesting that the use of l33t as an index of humor and parody is really the result of a massive resignification of the entire dialect - at one point it was a pretty functional anti-language, an in-group signifier like lauren mentioned. it was always kind of tongue-in-cheek, but the language ideologies and the contexts it's used in have changed pretty drastically in such a short time. i'm sure we're going to see that this quick turnover is representative of a lot of the language change going on around here.
and i think the fact that josh is seeing this more on message boards than actual chat says a whole lot about how it's changed - also about how speakers view the environs of the game and its boards as noticably different.

i love this stuff.
I somewhat see l33t nowadays in the same way I see aave adopted by white people to sound "ghetto." Sure there are people who use it as their dialect, but there's a whole ton of people who use it (generally incorrectly) it for humor.

Of course, l33t isn't ever going to get the insane amount of attention that linguists give to aave. If I have to sit through another session on aave I might claw my eyes out. ;)

this is pretty good. i was under the impression that 1337 was developed by a racist group for some purpose. i'm not sure where i heard that, but after doing a quick search, i couldn't find any reference. anyone know what i'm talking about?
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