Leetspeak, circa 1901

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Not just wrist-saving, didn’t they sometimes charge per character?

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I’m sure much of this was for private chatter between operators or for business purposes unrelated to paid message transmission.

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this isn’t really leetspeak, though, is it? more like texting shortcuts and abbreviations…

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That excerpt implies there was capitalization available - WX compared to what would otherwise be wx.
I don’t think that’s wholly accurate, so some interpolation must have already been done here.

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everything that has happened before will happen again.

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Before “lol”, there was “hi hi”, a compressed version of “hee hee”.

And, for the record, “SOS” doesn’t stand for “save our souls, ship, or shit” . It’s just easier to remember and decipher than the old “CQD” that it replaced.

73, de eksrae AR SK

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seeing “OK” being translated here threw me, since it was a familiar expression in the USA by 1901 since it dates from the late 1830s. Although, its origin was rapidly forgotten when the slang fashions changed. Yet, it really does seem analogous to our modern internet slang; both since it was originally a written term rather than spoken, and that it was used and propagated by the most rapid media of it’s day (newspapers.) that is to say, OK was the LOL of it’s day, or probably more accurately “lulz,” as the misspelling was part of the appeal.

it means “oll korrect.” yes, really.

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I read that years ago and was amazed that any idiot - much less all of them - would find misspelling hilarious. That was before I hazed cheezburger.

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everything that has happened before will happen again.

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I swear, though, if 3rd No. 79 delays them at Winslow ONE MORE TIME….

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Some of this DNA still exist in amateur radio and even frankly CB (“break break”). 73 es gb de bts ar sk

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Telegraph companies charged by the word, which led to the development of commercial code books that compressed common phrases into single (sometimes nonsense) words or numbers. It was actually cheaper to send something like “KARABADANG” than “next week” even though it had more characters, but usually the codes resulted in much shorter messages.

This article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_code_(communications) has some fascinating (and crazily specific) examples:
BYOXO — Are you trying to weasel out of our deal?
HAUBARER — Charterers will allow the option of carrying horses for ship’s benefit,
ENBET — Captain is insane

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For the Morse-challenged, “hi hi” is sent as … … … … which sounds like didididit didit didididit didit. This, like SOS, is easily recognized in the middle of a message without the receiving operator having to transcribe it. Say it fast and it sounds a little like laughter, or at least giggling.

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The telegraph companies also charged more for code words than dictionary words.

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OK meant All right? Who knew?

Seriously, interesting that book has to explain what OK means.

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