Communication between friends happens so much by text message nowadays, that each language has its own unique text lingo. For French learners and native speakers alike, understanding French texting abbreviations is an essential skill for keeping in touch through our ubiquitous instant messaging apps.
So while our regular content here at LingoCulture usually focuses on specific language lessons around French grammar and vocabulary, today’s post clearly falls within the realm of French culture: we’re about to cover everything you need to know about texting in French!
We’ll start off with a couple of sections to frame the topic, including some essential vocab for talking about text messages in French, and a note on autocorrect in French. Then we’ll get into some of the general rules of French texting lingo, many of which are similar to English. Once we’ve covered the basics we’ll break the French text language down into a few broad categories, providing a comprehensive list of French texting abbreviations for each one.
At the end we’ll give you a sample dialogue in French txt language so you can see how much you understand. You’re likely to LOL in French at some of the abbreviations!
Text messages in French: Some basics
Before we get into the rules on French text language itself, let’s make sure we know the regular French terms for talking about phones. Before we move on, it’s also worth considering whether we ought to even use text abbreviations at all!
French texting vocab
In this vocab section, we just introduce a few of the French terms for talking about phones and texting. For a deeper exploration on using your phone in France, check out our detailed post on how the French phone system works.
|un message texte||text message|
|un sms||text message|
|un texto||text message|
|un numéro de téléphone||phone number|
|un numéro de mobile||mobile number|
|une ligne fixe||landline|
|un mobile||mobile phone|
|un céllulaire||cell phone (Québec only)|
|un message vocale||voice mail|
|une boîte vocale||voice mailbox|
|raccrocher||to hang up|
Damn you French autocorrect?
Ok, so the main point of this post is to learn how to modify normal French words into abbreviated forms that are suitable for text messaging in French. However, let’s not forget the original premise of using a different texting language: to save time and space when typing on our phones…
Which leads us to the existential question: is typing correctly on our phones really that much of a hassle anymore?
Various forms of autocorrect are now pretty ubiquitous across so many languages, to the point that your phone will literally propose the correct word if you just start typing its first few letters. Just choose a French keyboard on your phone and you can access the whole French language! With this powerful tool allowing us to respect proper spelling and grammar, even on our phones, it’s worth asking ourselves if using this abbreviated text lingo is really even necessary.
Indeed, just like in English, the use of French texting abbreviations remains a choice for each person, with many people choosing to stick with full words and sentences. Here at LingoCulture we’re big fans of proper spelling and grammar!
Still, even if you don’t use text abbreviations yourself, it’s still important that you understand them when your friends text you with them! With this in mind, we’re happy to present you with the rest of this post to explain how to use French texting slang!
General rules for French texting
These first few French texting rules are very broad, and can apply to anything you type.
Skip the accents
This French texting rule surely comes as a relief to many native speakers, since even we aren’t always sure whether a word takes an accent or not. Rather than an excuse to hide our misspellings, however, we skip the accents in text messages simply because it saves time. We just type the base letter on our smartphone without holding it down and choosing the right accent!
Remember, however, that many French words have different meanings in their accented vs unaccented forms, so we still may include some accents to reduce ambiguity. In particular, we often include the final accent grave on past participles that end in é.
Still, we rarely ever bother with ç, ë, ï, ê, or è in French text messages!
like the previous rule about not bothering with accents, this one is also designed to save us time when we type our text messages. we just skip the shift key and get straight to the point!
Repeat the final letter for emphasis
This practice is actually popular in English as well as French text messages, though it’s certainly not designed to shorten their length. It’s just easy to press the final key a few more times to add emphasis to certain words by repeating their final letters.
- je me suis bien amuseeeee! merciiiii! – Je me suis bien amusée ! Merci ! – I had a lot of fun!!! Thank you!!!
The regular use of emojis in French text messages isn’t unique to our language, but it sure is popular! The thumbs up 👍, all the colors of hearts ❤️💙💜💚🧡, and of course the full variety of smileys 😁😜😭🙃 are extremely common, as are the same fruity innuendo emojis that transcend any language 🍑🍆💦.
We’ll just point out one specific French emoji which can be used to say something is great. The French name for a small owl is a chouette, while this same word also means great. The use of this emoji isn’t super common, but if you see it you’ll know that it means chouette: 🦉.
French texting abbreviations
Now that we’ve seen the general rules that can apply to any French text messages, we’re ready to look at specific abbreviations that are unique to French texting slang. These generally fall into a few big categories, so we’ll introduce each broad rule here and then present the list of French texting abbreviations that apply to each.
Keep in mind that some French text abbreviations are formed through a couple of different rules, so our categorization isn’t too strict. A few French words even have multiple abbreviations!
Drop as many letters as possible
This rule should come as no surprise to anyone who writes txt msgs in any language. This practice surely started with the original short messaging system (SMS) on early mobile phones, when individual text messages were limited to 160 characters. Brevity remains obligatory in many digital forums to this day, such as Twitter’s 280-character limit. What’s an easy solution? Drp as mny ltrs as pssbl!
Just like you do in abbreviations for messages in English, this frequently means dropping many vowels in French text messages. It’s also common to just drop the latter half of a word altogether.
This is a blanket rule that can apply to any words which are still easy to understand with some letters missing, so it’s impossible to really list all the possibilities. Use your judgment! Still, here’s our list of the most-common French text abbreviations which result from chopping a few letters off.
|att||à toute de suite||see you very soon|
|dcp||du coup||so, anyway|
|j’arv||j’arrive||I’m almost there|
|j’sais pas||je ne sais pas||I don’t know|
|lstomb||laisse tomber||drop it, never mind|
|mnt, mtnt, mtn||maintenant||now|
|nimp||n’importe-quoi||whatever, never mind|
|tjr, tjs, tjrs||toujours||always|
|tqt||t’inquiète||don’t worry, it’s ok|
One of the most beautiful characteristics of French pronunciation is the number of letters it takes to spell out each syllable. Whereas an English speaker might want to spell a beautiful French word like “beaucoup” as “boku,” the good news here is that this sort of abbreviation is acceptable in French text lingo!
So in contrast with our usual emphasis on proper French spelling here at LingoCulture, if you’re texting in French you can take some liberties and spell phonetically. Many people take this to extremes when using French texting slang, though, to the point that they don’t conjugate their verbs correctly, or that they interchange single letters for single letters (like an “s” for a “c”). Unfortunately, at this point the French texting phrases are built more on misspellings than on abbreviations!
We should warn you that this can be a slippery slope, causing many native French speakers to have difficulty with their spelling because of their tendency to spell phonetically. Please, don’t carry this habit back to any contexts where your writing needs to have any degree of formality, including emails!
- tu fé koi? va tu se soir? – Tu fais quoi ? Vas-tu ce soir ? – What are you doing? Are you going tonight?
Here’s our list of French texting abbreviations that are based primarily on their phonetic spellings.
|askip||à ce qu’il paraît||apparently|
|cho||chaud||hot, difficult, touchy|
|chu, chuis||je suis||I am|
|cki||c’est qui?||who is this?|
|com dab||comme d’habitude||as usual, as always|
|fo||il faut||it’s necessary to|
|jc, je sé||je sais||I know|
|jtm||je t’aime||I love you|
|jv, je vé||je vais||I’m going|
|keske||qu’est-ce que||what is…|
|kestufou||qu’est-ce que tu fous||what the hell are you doing|
|plz||s’il vous plaît||please|
|tt||t’étais, tu étais||you were|
|ya||il y a||there is, there are|
Replace whole syllables with letters, numbers, or symbols
Just like you do in English when you type “C U L8r” to mean “See you later,” we’re also often able to just hit one key to replace an entire syllable when texting in French. Sometimes we even omit the spaces between words where the pronunciation is still clear, like you do with “CU.”
- koi 2 9? – Quoi de neuf ? – What’s new?
- g 1 plan. c cool. – J’ai un plan. C’est cool. – I have a plan. It’s cool.
- 2rien. a+! – De rien. À plus ! – You’re welcome. See you soon!
- 12c4 – Un de ces quatres. – One of these days.
This list of French text abbreviations includes words and phrases which are symbolized using letters, numbers, and symbols to replace whole syllables.
|a+||à plus||see you later|
|ab1||à bientôt||see you soon|
|ac2n||assez de haine||enough hate, stop hatin’|
|cb1, cbi1||c’est bien||that’s good|
|entk||en tout cas||in any case|
|ght||j’ai achété||I bought|
|nptk||n’importe-quoi||whatever, never mind|
|o||au||at, at the|
|okp||occupé||I’m occupied, busy|
|p2k||pas de quoi||you’re welcome|
|p2pb||pas de problème||no problem|
|t||t’es, tes||you are, your|
|tok?||t’es ok?||are you ok?|
|x||[je] crois||[I] believe|
|12c4||un de ces quatres||one of these days|
|2ri1, 2rien||de rien||you’re welcome|
Abbreviate common phrases
Most of the rules we’ve seen so far can really apply to any text, since they’re mostly about shortening words and just making messages easier to type. For many common phrases, however, we have specific French texting abbreviations that are recognized by their string of first letters. This is equivalent to the English “idk” for “I don’t know,” or even “rofl” for “rolling on the floor laughing!”
So how do you say LOL in French? We just use the initials of mort de rire, which translates as dying laughing: mdr. Alternatively, most French people will understand if you just type LOL! The same goes for OMG, which doesn’t even have a French-only alternative.
Here’s our list of the most important French phrases with text abbreviations that you need to know.
|alp||à la prochaine||see you next time|
|ama||à mon avis||in my opinion (IMO)|
|amha||à mon humble avis||in my humble opinion (IMHO)|
|bg||beau gosse||handsome guy|
|cad||c’est à dire||that is to say, meaning|
|cc||coucou||hey (very informal)|
|cpg||ce [n’est] pas grave||it’s not a big deal|
|cv||ça va ?||how are you?|
|ddd||demande de discussion||we need to talk|
|dqp||dès que possible||as soon as possible (ASAP)|
|expdr||explosé de rire||exploding laughing|
|fds||fin de semaine||weekend|
|h24||24 heures||24 hours a day|
|htd||heureux tout de suite||happy right now|
|jpp||j’en peux plus||I can’t take it anymore, I’m tired|
|jsp||je [ne] sais pas||I don’t know|
|mdr||mort de rire||dying of laughter (LOL)|
|omg||oh my God||oh my God|
|pdpb||pas de problème||no problem|
|peh||pour être honnête||to be honest|
|ptdr||péter de rire||bursting out laughing (ROFL)|
|ras||rien à signaler||nothing to report|
|stp||s’il te plaît||please|
|svp||s’il vous plaît||please|
|tfq||tu fais quoi ?||what are you doing?|
|tlm||tout le monde||everybody|
Disguise French slang
Like any language, French has its fair share of slang terms that are used by a significant proportion of the population. And just like you do in English with abbreviations like WTF, we have abbreviations for some French slang terms that somehow make them appear less abrasive.
We include this list because many of these terms are quite common, but please keep in mind that you should definitely be comfortable with the original words before you consider using their abbreviations. A few of these are pretty neutral, but we include them here since they’re still within the realm of French slang dialect. Others are downright rude no matter how they’re stated. Use this French texting slang with caution!
|blc||[je m’en] bats les couilles||I don’t give a shit|
|ntm||nique ta mère||fuck your mom|
|raf||rien à faire||nothing to do, don’t care|
|raf||rien à foutre||don’t give a fuck|
|tg||ta gueule||shut up, shut your trap|
|wllh||Wallah||by God, I swear|
|wsh||wesh||yo, hey bro|
Conclusion: French texting abbreviations
Before we go, why don’t you see how well you interpret a short French text exchange? Don’t worry, we’ll write it out in words for you after our conclusion!
slt! koi 2 9 2 soir?
jsp, & toi?
tu vx aller boire 1 coup en ville?
oue, grave. qd?
d’ac. envois-moi 1 msg qd tu sors.
In this post, we provided an in-depth overview of everything you need to know about text messaging in French. We started with a discussion on whether it’s even necessary to use special text lingo on our phones these days, while admitting that it’s important to be able to understand a range of texting abbreviations in case our friends use it.
Then we got into the various rules of the French texting language. We started with general rules that can apply to any words and sentences, and then moved on to the specific rules that result in the most common text message abbreviations that you’re likely to encounter in French.
Through all these sections, we provided lists with over 150 French texting abbreviations so you’ll always know what your friends are trying to say! We recommend bookmarking this page if you communicate a lot with French text messages, or sharing it with your friends if they’re having trouble understanding your texts.
To close, we’ll just remind you again that text slang is dynamic in any language, so even though we’ve provided these clear lists of texting abbreviations in French, people will always find more ways to say the same thing. Just get creative, follow the pointers we’ve laid out here, and you’ll fit right in with your own French texting language!
Finally, how did you do with the text message exchange we provided above? Here it is using full words and sentences, along with its English equivalent. À+!
Salut! Quoi de neuf de soir?
Je ne sais pas, et toi?
Tu veux aller boire un coup en ville?
Oui, grave. Quand?
Dans une heure.
D’accord. Envois-moi un texto quand tu sors.
Ne t’inquiètes pas. À plus!
Hey! What’s up tonight?
I don’t know. And you?
Do you want to go have some drinks in town?
Yes, totally. When?
In one hour.
Ok. Send me a text message when you leave.
Don’t worry. See you soon!
See you soon!