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Is Alay your ally?

Alay is a way of writing that allows you to use capital letters and numbers wherever you jolly well like in a word and it’s currently trending on Twitter. Alay started in Indonesia in about 2004; it seems that it has provided a root for a phenomenon that pervades many areas of popular culture, such as fashion and music. The main aim of Alay culture seems to be narcissism. It’s all about getting noticed and that includes what you write. There is also an ‘I hate Alay’ website, which, to me, shows the influence of this social medium – it is obviously engaging people, whether negatively or positively. I quite like the Alay way of writing: it’s funky and useful because it allows me to stress parts of different words and it is another method of enriching the nuances of any digital message I might send, rather like an emoticon would. However, I’ve also seen passages of Alay that are so altered that they are almost indecipherable and that is not so helpful. So WH4t dO y00 th1NK?

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Beth Penfold


  • This is very interesting. But do these Alay writers really AIM to be narcissistic, or is it that their motivation is narcissism?

  • Lol! I’m Indonesian and I’m pretty much dislike this ‘Alay’ things. Cool teenagers in Indonesia will consider you as ‘uncool’ if you’re using ‘Alay’. However, some not-so-cool teenagers still like to use it.

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