Star Tech: IT Easy - Leetspeak and textese emerging as dialects

In a country where we already have our very own dialect, the introduction of leetspeak and textese may prove confusing. The good thing is, like English, these new 'dialects' have rules and exceptions we can learn and follow. And learn we must, if we want to keep up with the times.

The clashing of three factors led to the rise of textese - the explosion in the popularity of SMS, the initial scarcity of a QWERTY keyboard and the arbitrary 140-character limit. New words, alternate spellings, phonetic replacements, vowel omissions, acronyms and abbreviations are all significant components of textese.

Somewhat less well known is leetspeak. Leetspeak was the language of hackers, today leetspeak is creeping into casual communications; tomorrow, leetspeak will be commonplace. Unlike textese that is primarily concerned with brevity, leetspeak is designed to puzzle. Digits, characters, punctuation marks and even other letters are used to replace the original spellings in words that require some extra effort to read. Complicating matters, there are no hard and fast rules for how the substitutions are applied; the writer has complete control over how they wish to present their work.

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