I would just like to let everyone who uses 'u', 'r' and '1' as short form words know, that if I do not take you seriously it is because when I read these words typed out like this, my mind interprets you to sound like a computerized pirate.
Perhaps it is hard for those of us who RP to understand the reasons behind typing like this, but I simply wanted to apologize in advance for potentially not taking you seriously in guild chat.
PS: The term 'wut' is perfectly acceptable, as I feel it conveys something much different than a simple 'what' ever could.
I interpret the aforementioned to mean either that you are a rapidly aging middle-aged man desperate to pick up on 14 year old girls (and not get the Hanson come down), a 14 year old girl yourself, or a complete r-tard.
As a linguist, I applaud the infinite creativity people show in the ability to re-assign meanings to characters based upon their extensive knowledge of phonetics.
Nothing about the the English spelling system is particularly great, anyway. I honestly say to hell with it. Everyone thinks that English is a phoneticalphabet and that we're all great and awesome and scientifically superior to ideographic and rebus syllabary methods when really, the majority of attitudes people attach to a language are directly related to feelings that they feel towards the group of people that speak that language -- not the language itself.
Ergo: I like leetspeak and internet shorthand. It's hilarious. I don't necessarily consider myself to be a part of the movement unless it benefits me to type that way -- as I am personally unaccustomed to it, but I can completely understand a person's need to not only express their individuality underneath the yoke of arbitrary education systems that are not equally available to all people AND their wish to express their belonging to a particular group of people through their orthographic method.
Written language is one of the few venues in which people are handily derided for trying to be maximally efficient.
Another advantage over animals: rapid adaptability! Ever since realizing that I am some object other then what my surroundings are, (and before coming to intimate understanding that "I" is in fact, upon close examination, an illusion) I have been adapting to my surroundings on a case-by-case basis. At one time I knew what this adaptability was called in a technical sense, but have discarded it, along with attempts to term "my" coconsciousness as anything other then "I" (gets cluttered in ones head you see) Animals, lucky for them, never have to deal with this, as they never developed language in a proper sense, and dont understand social interaction above third order intentionality anyhow. If you catch any of the irony in my speal, good for "you"
...but I can completely understand a person's need to not only express their individuality underneath the yoke of arbitrary education systems that are not equally available to all people AND their wish to express their belonging to a particular group of people through their orthographic method.
Oh I am not saying I do not agree with this point, no, merely that when I read leetspeak, the little interpreter in my head takes on a very strange voice. Not a voice I take too seriously. It's unfortunate really.
The only thing that really scares me about leet speak is how much it reminds me of 1984. You know, the whole....dumb down our language so people don't think about the deeper meanings behind words so it is easier to control the populace thing? Orwell? Yeah, well I think the effects of Leet speak are similar. It makes me stupid just reading it and adjusting the meanings in my head. I know the English language is probably the most imperfect and inadequate language out there, but I think leet speak just trivializes it that much further. If you cannot type out the nuances you are trying to convey then you are probably being intellectually lazy. Yes, yes, I know about the whole "kids these days have their own particular way they are assigning meanings to words", etc etc...but just because young people are developing new ways to communicate doesn't mean they are creating something good. Leet speak is unsophisticated, rough, and primitive.
In conclusion, leet speak makes me crazy and forgive me if I ridicule you for it!
Hah, fuck Nostradamus, Orwell should be the number one prophet in history. He hit so many things dead on, and he didn't have to use vague emo poetry to do it.
I despise "leet speak" personally. It always makes me feel like "Well why am I sitting here using capitalization and punctuation if we can all type like a retard and nobody cares?" I'm probably biased in this regard, because I'm an aspiring writer, but NONETHELESSS.
There are lots of life short-cuts we can take, why iron your shirt? Go out looking like a smacked ass. Why shave off that neck beard? Wave your basement dwelling nerd flag! Like anything else, proper grammar/spelling/punctuation when typing is like anything else you can work at and pride in.
At the end of the day, we're all shaved apes putting on airs, but please God let those airs extend to typing messages and communicating your thoughts. Leet speek makes my eyes hurt when I see it, it's like deciphering a puzzle, and typing it takes longer for me than a 200 word paragraph with proper punctuation. In the end "im gun 2 pul dis bos" works as well as "I'm going to pull the boss", but so does flinging your own shit into someones face to express your disapproval instead of hashing out your problems verbally.
Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. ~ Bill Hicks
Leet speak and internet shorthand are two different things. One is shorthand. i h8 u. The other is a cypher. 1 h473 j00. The latter is supposed to be hard to read quickly, and the proficiency with using it rapidly marks you as being part of a particular subculture that is proficient in said cypher.
It's not making you stupid. The connection between words and their meanings has always been arbitrary and tenuous. The only reason what I'm sitting on is called a chair is because at some level we've all accepted to call it that name. There's nothing inherently "chairy" about where my ass is parked.
In the long run, it is absolutely impossible to limit one's thinking via limiting their vocabulary. The majority of thinking that one does in one's mind is extremely non-verbal. For instance, think about and try to describe someone you know very well. It's nearly impossible to do, because mentally, we rely a great deal on visual, spatial, and tactile experiences in order to "think."
Einstein claimed to think almost entirely kinetically, in fact. I, personally, seem to think spatially.
Given that absolutely everything about language EXCEPT for the particular dialect of Human that one speaks is entirely biological (this includes grammar, acquisition, and speech -- but not writing systems, which are more properly described as a "technology") it's relatively impossible to "dumb down" anyone's linguistic faculty and thus their thinking (especially since the two are not connected.)
The argument that aspects of language affect culture and thought is called linguistic determinism. Linguists have a lot of catty phrases they like to throw around in opposition to it, like the "Sapier-Whorf Fallacy," but being bi-discliplinary, I've found that anthropologists are much more tolerant, in general, of the feeling that language might be able to influence some aspects of thought -- not so much in the sense that lacking a word for "pain" will limit your experience of the word pain -- but in that if your word for "table" is feminine (e.g. La Table) you will tend to spontaneously describe tables with feminine qualities (oh, well, tables are very graceful and have long legs and are quiet . . . ) Linguists tend to view this as a curiosity.
I think the truth lies someplace between the two disciplines.
The main thing to keep in mind with language is that all languages, even the ones with the smallest vocabularies are just as capable of the next at conveying ideas and meaning, as our biological linguistic underpinnings makes it certain that the range of human experience is expressible.
That which is not able to be expressed, I like to think is where God is. Honestly.
TLDR START HERE: Wistfulness aside, when it comes to orthography the rule of thumb is appropriateness. Different orthographic methods really are just different power-dialects of "writing languages," and while I will agree that it is probably inappropriate to write a book of laws in internet shorthand (no one would publish that) when it comes to public, democratized discourse, the overbearing, nonsensical rules that we inherited as grammar for whatever historical-political reason or another needn't always apply.
I really do love the internet, though. Because I can already see that having a massive amount of people have access to being read as opposed to being heard is having a huge effect on the written language, and it's damn well about time that written language be shepherded by the average people who utilize and are affected by it -- and not only publishers and the extremely elite.
English is a wonderful language, though. The more it spreads, the more it loses its "in-joke" difficult rules. Lingua Francas tend to lose complicated things like case endings and irregular conjugations because of the difficulty of second-language acquiring these. Prestige speakers maintain these older forms as a marker of their difference from the common speakers, but the language itself changing really has absolutely no detrimental affect on the language itself -- and the process of language change is absolutely inevitable besides the fact -- so really . . . being reactionary against linguistic shifts is a real exercise in futility.
Most reactionary policy towards language change (AHH AMERICA'S NATIONAL LANGUAGE MUST BE ENGLISH! and things like the academie francaise) have a lot more to do with political feelings that linguistic ones, however.
RIDDLE ME THIS MS. SMARTY PANTS, if even the simplest languages with small vocabularies are capable of relaying all the depth and creativity of the human mind, why do they inevitably swell with new words over time, like even those wacky Inuit with their 6438 separate words for snow and whatnot.
Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. ~ Bill Hicks
Because new technologies are invented. New concepts are repackaged. People invent Sweet N Spicy Chili Doritoes.
The inuit really have no more words for snow than we do. It's not that they have a bunch of words that mean the same -- but they have things like: Sleet, hail, slush, powder, packing snow, crunchy snow, soft snow, etc.
In the same sense, some places have very few color words. There are languages that only have the colors white and black. So you might see a banana, and say "That's white like an egg yolk" or see a chocolate bar and say "That is black like the ground."
Similarly, there's no one word for "the kind of snow that's good to use for the top of an igloo," but I just expressed that concept just fine despite my supposed paucity of snow related vocabulary.
It's no more hindered in its ability to see, recognize, or express brown and yellow despite the fact that there are no words for brown or yellow. It's not always necessarily the case that these phrases gain "words."
But as technology accumulates and coinages are coined, vocabularies grow. At the same time, however, many words in a language are simply lost as they fall out of favor, and the definition of some words grows until that word then becomes irrelevant and "egg yolk white" happens again.