Computing And Language – A Marriage Made In Hell?

About twenty years ago, “computing language” meant one thing, and was something only comprehensible to trained programmers. Yet today, it is much more likely to refer to a type of slang that is used among online communities. This has brought mixed results, some of which may be good and others very, very bad.

Some people will be familiar with “Leetspeak” or “l33t”, or indeed “1337”, which is a specialized terminology made op from characters other than letters – and therefore cannot actually be “spoken”. It is most familiarly used among hackers, gamers, or people seeking to be seen as pertaining to those fields, and to the untrained eye is nonsensical and irritating.

The use of “text speak”, or more commonly “txt spk” is also partially a result of the development of the Internet. Usually achieved by dropping vowels from words (although not every vowel) as well as the introduction of digits and emoticons made from punctuation marks, it results in sentences like “Gr8! So u r in2 txt spk? Me 2! :)”. Those who wish to be taken seriously avoid it.

Lolspeak, most commonly seen on the Lolcats website, is a mutation of text speak and takes its name partly from the text speak abbreviation “lol” (laughing out loud). It combines text speak with the deliberate use of an infantile form of speech – indeed, the Lolcats site is alternatively known as “I Can Has Cheezburgr?”. To novices, these dialects are all highly confusing