Posted by: janecronin | April 16, 2017

Text speak

Whether you approve of it or not, text speak is with us, and probably to stay.   In the last article I mentioned that the art of abbreviation was being practised way back in the Middle Ages, in those days to save space on expensive parchments.  Nowadays, we are either saving letters on Twitter and texts or time on the very effective communication tool, Whatsapp.

Maybe like a lot of us oldies, you insist on including all the right punctuation marks and spellings even when send a text, but that leaves you completely at a loss when someone of the younger generation writes to you with something like:  CU 2moro lol.    Well, just in case you’re wondering, this person is laughing for some reason (laugh out loud) and is going to “see you tomorrow”, so you’d better get some tea and biscuits at the ready.

Of course text speak also exists in Spanish, and there are very few people below the age of 50 (to pluck at age out nowhere) who are not “Whatsapping” (or Whatsappeando) at all hours of the day and night.  So just in case you receive one of these messages, here are some things you should know.

Let’s start with the use of the letter “x” which represents the word “por”, as in the mathematical symbol: 2 x 3 = 6 (dos por tres son seis).  There are other words that get cut down to just their first letter, so therefore, “xf” represents “por favor” and “xq” represents “porque” (because).  You may be rolling your eyes already, but you’ll be glad of this information some time.  Also from maths is the symbol + which represents “más” and  I have actually seen “+ x –“  on a shop sign (más por menos – more for less).

As already mentioned, there are some very common words that are expressed by their first letter, for example “d” for “de” and “q” for “que”.  Other words are abbreviated to their most significant letters like this:  “tb” for “también”, “mñn” for “mañana” and “bss” for “besos”.  The Spanish use this abbreviated (bss) and not our “xxx” to send kisses.  If you write xxx at the end of a message to a Spanish person, they will read “por por por” and it really won´t make any sense!

An abbreviation that is common in texting, but also rather trendy in business names and so on, is to you write the number “2” to replace the letters “dos” at the end of a word.  So, we have names like “comunica2” (comunicados) or “pinta2” (pintados).  The possibilities are endless!

Finally, you will often find the predominantly English letters “w” and “k” used to replace the two letters “gu” and “qu” in Spanish.  Therefore “guapa” becomes “wapa” and “quiero” becomes “kiero”.

I hope this revelation hasn´t upset you too much – we have to move with the times, after all!


  1. Excellent article Jane! bss

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