w00t, &, ETC.

A series of things, sparked by conversational collision. [Citations at the end]:
W00t: W00t is a Leet corruption of the exclamation "Woot!", meaning "Hooray." The term rose to popularity sometime during the 1990s and is popular on the Internet, especially in MMORPGS. Both the exclamation and the Leet spelling are of uncertain origin.

Leetspeak: A form of chatspeak characterized most strongly by its alphanumeric substitutions.

Chatspeak: The blend of informal language, conventional abbreviations and emoticons typical of chatrooms. [1]
These questions have relevance to an interesting test case: Bill Bissett’s special attention to the spelling of words. Bissett’s idiosyncratic orthography and the resultant effects on that minutest level of reading—the single word—has already enjoyed a large influence inside Canada. Yet the writers who have gone on to orthographic modifications in their own work have been judged as mere copiers of Bissett, rather than valourized as individuals adapting to their own purposes Bissett’s singular insight: that spelling should be an individual decision and not an imposed norm. Accordingly, the work of these writers is in danger of being ignored through the effects of an attitude that sees formal innovation as a novelty and, by extension, as unrepeatable. In the background of such an attitude lurks the hulking form of traditional literature as a pre-established, easily subsumed and hence “safe” finite number of technical solutions. [2]
Poetry that circulated in manuscript, of course, shared with printed books the current freedom from the standardized orthography. Shakespeare, for instance, spelled his own name half a dozen different ways. In “The Good-Morrow,” John Donne could render the word “be” three different ways (bee, beest, be) on the same sheet of paper. For Shakespeare and Donne and most of their contemporaries a written word was not confined to a single orthographic form: it could change according to the writer’s intuitive sense of how it should look or sound, showing shades of emphasis, intonation, color, perhaps even pitch in his own pronunciation. Written language maintained the fluidity, even volatility, of speech: a phrase or line was something a poet created with his mouth, not an arrangement of standardized parts that could be precisely interchanged. [3]
on Ellophants head with the teeth In it very large
on River horses head of the Bigest kind that can be
on Seabulles head with horns
All sorts of Serpents and Snakes Skines & Espectially of
that sort that hathe a Combe on his head Lyke
a Cock
All sorts of Shining Stones or of Any Strange Shapes


Any thing that Is strang.


1. These definitions are from Wiktionary.
w00t: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/w00t
Leetspeak: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/leetspeak
Chatspeak: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/chatspeak

2. Steve McCaffery and bpNichol, “The Book as Machine,” Rational Geomancy, (Vancouver: Talon Books, 1992); reprinted in A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, eds. Steven Clay and Jerome Rothenberg (New York: Granary Books, 2000), 24.

3. Young, Karl, “Notation and the Art of Reading,” Open Letter, (Spring 1984); reprinted in A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, eds. Steven Clay and Jerome Rothenberg (New York: Granary Books, 2000), 37.

4. A transcription of part of letter written by Tradescant the Elder to Edward Nichols, the Secretary of the Navy, in 1625. Tradescant was making a list of things to be gathered for his “cabinet of curiosities.” Excised from: Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 95.

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