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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Bard was 1337

So, I just read an article about how reading Shakespeare improves brain functioning. Specifically, it states that Shakespeare's re-purposing of common words in different forms (ie. verbing nouns) causes a positive excitement in certain parts of the brain (measured via EEG), as compared to negative reactions to non-Shakespearean sentences that made no sense at all. In other words, Shakespeare makes you smarter.

Interestingly, this re-assignment of words and their meaning within appropriate context is also a hallmark of what is commonly referred to as "l33tspeak" (pronounced "leet-speak"). I'm not going to go into a history of l33tspeak, but suffice it to say that most teen geeks who know most of their friends only by their online or game names are quite proud of their l33tspeak abilities. And, as I said, similar to Olde Bill, verbing nouns is one of the grammatical foundations of l33tspeak.

Somehow, I think that most l33t h4x0rs would be mortified to discover they were imitating The Bard of Avon. Here's Shakespeare to the h4x0rs:

"But soft, you've been pwnd!"