Russell Smith, who surely must hate the fact he is the sole non-Italian heterosexualist male in Canada who projects a sense of style, covers the “purely literary” cipher known as l33tspeak. He cites his friend James Reid as a source, but did he perhaps forget to cite Wikipedia, too?

Smith Wikipedia
Consider leetspeak, the code or cipher Leet (often Eleet, leetspeak, leetspeek, l33t, 31337, or 1337; from “Elite”) is a cipher
Leetspeak (which comes from “elite”) The term “leet” comes from the word “elite.”
“Porn” will often be written “pr0n,” “the” will be “teh.” These are mostly just appropriations of common errors. “pr0n” for pornography […] “teh” for “the”
To “own,” for example, which in gaming slang means “to defeat,” will be written “pwn” because the p and the o are side by side on the standard keyboard and are often mistyped. “pwn” for “own” (to defeat badly, as in a game: “You got pwned”)
By the way, a project is under way to transliterate the Bible into leet, at www.christianhacker .org/ html/ NHV.html. NHV (New Hacker Version) Bible Transliteration by the Christian Hackers’ Association (http://www.christianhacker .org/ html/ NHV.html)

It’s a thorough, respectful piece arguing that smart people – those who spend all day reading online – are also smart enough to figure out entirely new orthographies. It’s not even clear that an encyclopedia is something you even have to cite, but it might have helped.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.08.07 14:08. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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