Can’t understand your Spanish friends’ Facebook statuses?
Are you having trouble compressing what you want to say into 140 Spanish characters on Twitter?
Remember the days when you only needed enough Spanish writing skill to write simple, straightforward letters to friends?
Neither do I.
In this world of tweets and text messages, you’ll need to learn Spanish text slang to follow what’s going on.
Why You Need to Learn Spanish Text Message Slang
It’s not just a case of keeping up with the cool kids.
There are several practical reasons why learning Spanish text message slang is useful for anyone.
If you hear the “no credit” beep in your dreams (or nightmares), it’s probably time to cut down your text messages and make them shorter.
You can simply say less in your messages, or you can use fewer characters to say the same thing. I think you’ll agree that the second option is more appealing. Cutting down on characters will save you money on texts in the long run and your friends will be glad to no longer receive your four-message-long essays.
Squeezing what you want to say into one text message is also great practice for when you want to make your Spanish debut on Twitter.
Even if don’t regularly write text messages in Spanish, Spanish text slang is used across social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as on messaging services like WhatsApp. Using and understanding this slang will make you sound like an authentic member of the Spanish-speaking community.
Which you are, of course. Right?
Deciphering all those signs and symbols can be a fun way to use the Spanish you already know in a new way.
So, chic@s, let’s get into some Spanish text slang.
All the Spanish Text Message Slang You’ll Need to Send Gr8 Texts 2 Ur BFF
Characteristics of Spanish Text Message Slang Abbreviations
Like in English, omitting vowels (vocales) is one of the easiest way to shrtn wrds. Genial becomes gnl, for example.
Losing consonants works too. Ahora is often written as aora.
But of course, it’s not always just a simple case of getting rid of the vocales.
When a word begins with es, drop those first letters. So estoy becomes toy and esta becomes ta. Ta b means esta bien. Aren’t you glad you started reading this guide already?
It’s suddenly all becoming crystal clear…or perhaps just about as clear as mud. Stick with it to avoid being a total stick in the texting mud.
Another Spanish text slang characteristic is switching letters. For example, the letters q and c both change to k, so quiero becomes kiero, aqui becomes aki and clase becomes kls.
Note that the word que on its own can either change to k or q.
As you can see, we’re approaching a point where we’re no longer talking about dropping or swapping a few letters. We’re getting into full-on abbreviations.
In English we have FYI, LOL, ROFL and various other abbreviations. In Spanish there are plenty of phrases that work in a similar way. Te quiero mucho becomes tqm or tkm, for example.
You can also use numbers or symbols to create even more slang. Want more examples? Keep on reading…
The Basic Abbreviations of Spanish Text Message Slang
A basic chat message might start like this:
In “normal Spanish” this means:
¿Qué tal? (How are you?)
Bien, gracias ¿y tú? (Good, thanks. And you?)
Have lots of jajajaja in the middle while you chat about silly things and have fun. To “laugh” in Spanish, you can use jajaja, jejeje or jijiji.
An end to a chat might look something like this, assuming you guys like each other:
The “normal Spanish” translation for this one looks like:
Te quiero mucho (Love you)
Yo también (Love you too)
You can also end a text with bst (which means besito, or “little kiss” in English) and a scattering of emoticons won’t hurt matters either.
Spanish Text Slang Phrases with Letter Switches
As por and para are similar (though sadly not exactly the same!) para becomes xa. Para qué? (another version of “why?” or “what for?”) becomes xa q?
The third and final way you can use the X in Spanish slang is to replace ch. For example, mucho becomes mxo and chau becomes xau.
Numbers and Symbols Used in Spanish Text Slang
In English, we might end a text with “cul8r.”
We can also say something is gr8!
The same concept of using letters for the way they sound applies to Spanish words. What do you think salu2 means?
No, remember, that we’re speaking Spanish here so 2 is pronounced dos.
There you go. You can now send greetings to people in your text messages.
Other phrases using numbers are:
re100 = recién (recently)
100pre = siempre (always)
You could end your text message with: Tqm xa 100pre.
That would mean, te quiero mucho para siempre or “I love you forever.” Or simply end with Salu2, to play it a bit cooler.
Symbols can also be used in fun ways to make phrases.
How do you think you would say “me da igual” (I don’t mind)?
You could choose from:
me da =
(= is pronounced igual in Spanish).
The phrase más o menos is used a lot in Spanish, to mean “so, so,” “sort of” or “kind of.” Mathematical symbols are used here (más = plus, menos = minus) so the phrase becomes: ” + 0 – “
Yes, you read that right.
You might have also noticed that some Spanish speakers use the @ sign in words like amig@s or chic@s.
This isn’t just to look cool, but rather it’s a way of representing that the friends or people could be boys or girls, (where they’d usually be either amigos or amigas) and making Spanish more gender neutral. Got that, + o –? Let’s move on…
Popular Slang Abbreivations for Common Spanish Phrases
Along with TQM and TKM, another popular slang phrase is TAM, which doesn’t refer to the Brazilian airline but stands for: te amo mucho.
The equivalent of FYI (for your information) is PTI (para tu información).
It’s important to note that some Spanish speakers, especially young people, may use the English phrases instead of the Spanish equivalent. For example, they might use LOL (laugh out loud) or OMG (oh my God) in their English forms, since most people already know what they mean in English.
Other Useful Spanish Slang Abbreviations
Got all that? Still can’t understand the text message you’ve just received from you Spanish-speaking friend? Here are a few more words and phrases to fill in the gaps in your slang knowledge:
kn = quien = who
tonces/ntnc = entonces = so, then
gnl = genial = great!
k risa! = qué risa = that’s so funny!
kyat! = cállate = shut up! or be quiet!
fin d = fin de semana = weekend
q/k acs? = ¿qué haces? = what are you doing?/what are you up to?
KO = estoy muerto = I’m in trouble
vns? = ¿venís? = are you coming?
tqi/tki = tengo que irme = I have to go
npn = no pasa nada = it’s ok/don’t worry/nothing’s happening
You’ll also notice that, to save space, the upside down question and exclamation marks aren’t used in Spanish text slang.
So there you have it, you should be able to impress your Spanish-speaking friends and bombard them with tweets, Facebook messages, hashtags and WhatsApp messages. And of course now your text messages will be much shorter.
Go for it, chic@s! Bst!
Bonus: How to Practice Casual, Hip Spanish
If you like learning cool, fresh Spanish like the above, then you’ll love FluentU. It’s a perfect resource for Spanish learners of any skill level, as you’ll get closer than ever to authentic Spanish as it’s spoken by native speakers from all over the world. How?
FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into Spanish learning experiences. Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
Pick a region of the Spanish-speaking world, and you can bet we’ve video featuring native speakers from that region. Want to speak like a Spaniard? An Argentinian? An Ecuadorian? We’ve got you covered. Plus, you’ll be able to delve into more specific subject matter that simply isn’t taught elsewhere, like film-making, cuisine, business and cool shortcuts like text message slang.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s Learn Mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
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