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The Art of Spanish Texting Slang: Learn How To Text Like a Native Speaker

May 10, 2022
Renán L. CuervoRenán L. Cuervo

Ola komo stas? (¿hola cómo estás?) If your Spanish-learning brain just suffered a short circuit, fret not! We’ll show you how to navigate the world of Spanish text slang. Ready?

Why should you learn Spanish text slang?

You’re texting your Mexican friend, feeling confident and proud of your Spanish, and suddenly they say goodbye like this: grax! K stes bn! Is this code? Is it even Spanish? A new phrase to add and learn in your Fluent Forever app, perhaps?

You’ve been exposed to your first Spanish text slang.

Native Spanish speakers will often text close friends in slang for several reasons: to shorten messages, take less time to say something, and lastly, because of mere habit. From a language learner’s perspective, incorporating Spanish texting slang into your journey will enable you to:

  • Relate better to native speakers
  • Have fun deciphering symbols and abbreviations to discover words you know
  • Understand a deeper layer of the language
  • Keep up with the current cultural trends in Spanish

But, how do you text in Spanish slang? To help you with this, we’ve compiled a list of popular Spanish text slang along with the original phrases they refer to. You can use these phrases in any form of digital communication, including when writing an SMS or to chat on social media. Needless to say, you should reserve these phrases for informal situations and never to, say, text your boss!

Spanish texting slang can be split into five groups: acronyms, using letters as words, abbreviations, removing parts of words, and replacing parts of words with symbols. Let’s take a look at each of these. 

Remember that you can boost your Spanish language learning journey by working with your very own Spanish tutor in our Live Coaching program. And don’t forget to check out our How To Learn Spanish guide for everything Spanish. 

Hint: We added the IPA transcription (International Phonetic Alphabet) next to each word and phrase. If there are two, the first will belong to the Latin American pronunciation, and the second to the Castilian pronunciation.

A person holds a smartphone with one hand, either scrolling or clicking on something on the screen with his thumb.
Lol k bye!
Image by DrMedYourRasenn from Pixabay

Acronyms

What does NTP mean in text? And what does GPI stand for in Spanish texting? You’ll find out in this first part.

This set of Spanish text slang relies on acronyms. Entire sentences can be summarized by taking the first letter of each word in popular phrases and grouping them into neat, handy acronyms. 

No te preocupes, meaning “Don’t worry” or “Don’t worry about it,” can be abridged with ntp. A text about sending your friend some money after they paid for yesterday’s lunch might look like this:

  • Gracias por la comida ayer. [ˈɡɾasjas poɾ la ĩ̯mbitaˈθjõn] or [ˈɡɾaθjas poɾ la ĩ̯mbitaˈθjõn] (Thanks for the food yesterday.)
  • ¡De nada! [de ˈnaða] (You’re welcome!)
  • ¿Te puedo pagar de regreso? [te ˈpweðo paˈɣaɾ ðe reˈɣɾeso] (Can I pay you back?)
  • ntp! (Don’t worry about it!)

Note that the last ntp is marked with only one exclamation mark, as opposed to the usual two. In Spanish text slang, it’s not entirely necessary to follow the interrogation and exclamation marking rules of the language. 

Here’s some more text slang from the acronyms group:

  • Gpi – Gracias por la invitación [ˈɡɾaθjas poɾ la ĩ̯mbitaˈsjõn] or [ˈɡɾaθjas poɾ la ĩ̯mbitaˈθjõn] (Thanks for the invitation) 
  • Ntp – No te preocupes [ˈno te pɾeoˈkupes] (Don’t worry about it) or (Don’t worry)
  • Ntc – No te creas [ˈno te ˈkɾeas] (Just kidding)
  • Tlj – Te lo juro [te lo ˈxuɾo] (I swear)
  • Npn – No pasa nada [ˈno ˈpasa ˈnaða] (Don’t worry about it) or (No harm done)
  • Pti – Para tu información [ˈpaɾa tw ĩmfoɾmaˈsjõn] or [ˈpaɾa tw ĩmfoɾmaˈθjõn] (For your information)
  • Dtb – Dios te bendiga [ˈdjos te βɛ̃nˈdiɣa] (God bless you)
  • Mdi – Me da igual [me ˈða i̯ˈɣwal] (Whatever) or (It’s all the same to me)
  • Pq? – ¿Por qué? [poɾ ‘ke] (Why?)
  • Tqm – Te quiero mucho [te ˈkjɛɾo ˈmuʧo] (I love you very much)

Letters that can be used as words

What does Q mean in Spanish texting? This is a common question Spanish learners ask after coming face to face with a text message chock-full of Spanish text slang. Therefore, when texting, single letters can be used to replace short words or other letters. The common culprits are T, M, Q, and K.

In the case of T, M, and Q, these letters take the place of te, me, and que. For instance, instead of que, as in “what,” people may simply text Q.

  • q haces? – ¿Qué haces? [ˈke ˈases] [ˈke ˈaθes] (What are you doing?)
  • A q hora? – ¿A qué hora? [a ˈke ˈoɾa] (At what time?)

This is how it looks for the other two letters:

  • t veo pronto – Te veo pronto [te ˈβeo pronto] (I’ll see you)
  • T ves bien! – Te ves bien [te ˈβes̬ ˈβjɛ̃n] (You look good)
  • m dá igual – Me dá igual [me ˈða i̯ˈɣwal] (Whatever)
  • M parece bien – Me parece bien [me paˈɾeθe ˈβjɛ̃n] (It looks good to me)

On the other hand, K can take the place of C and Q in certain words. For example, Como and Cual, for example, can become Komo and Kual. Similarly, K can replace the Q in words where it precedes a U. For instance, Quiero and Aquí can be texted as Kiero and Aki. Note that the K replaces the U, as well:

  • Komo – Cómo [‘komo] (How)
  • Kual – Cuál [ˈkwal] (Which)
  • Kasa – Casa [ˈkasa] (House)
  • Te kiero – Te quiero [te ˈkjɛɾo] (I love you)
  • Aki – Aquí [aˈki] (Here)
  • Kien – Quién [ˈkjɛ̃n] (Who)
  • Ke – Qué [‘ke] (What)

Similar to the exclamation and interrogation rule, words that usually have an acute accent don’t get one in their text slang variation. 

Hint: An acute accent is a type of diacritical mark in the shape of a small, diagonal line that goes over the vowel of a strong syllable in some Spanish words (such as in aquí, canción, and lámpara).

Removing parts of words

Another way Spanish texting slang works is by removing parts or letters of words to shorten them. For example, Estoy from the verb estar, for example, can be texted as toy. Here are some popular words that get this treatment:

  • Pa – Para [ˈpaɾa] (For)
  • Toy – Estoy [ɛsˈtoi̯] (I am)
  • Tons/Tonses – Entonces [ɛ̃nˈtõnses] or [ɛ̃nˈtõnθes] (So/And then)
  • Tas – Estás [ɛsˈtas] (You are)
  • Onde – Dónde [ˈdõnde] (Where)
  • Ola – Hola [‘ola] (Hello)
  • Pera – Espera [ɛsˈpɛɾa] (Wait)
  • Perame – Espérame [ɛsˈpɛɾame] (Wait for me)

Abbreviations

Similar to acronyms, abbreviating words is also a popular way of writing in Spanish text slang. For example, tmb means también, vdd means verdad, and cdt means cuídate.

In that sense, abbreviations are usually used to send quick, shortened messages when you need to save time or want to watch your character limits. A romantic exchange between two people like this one:

  • ¡Te quiero mucho! [te ˈkjɛɾo ˈmuʧo] (I love you very much!)
  • Yo también, bebé. [ˈɟʝo tãmˈbjɛ̃n beˈβe] (Me too, baby.)
  • Besos, cuídate. [‘besos ˈkwiðate] (Kisses, take care.)

can be shortened to this:

  • Tqm!
  • Yo tmb, bb!
  • bs!

Here’s a rundown of some popular Spanish abbreviations for texting: 

  • Tmb – También [tãmˈbjɛ̃n] (Also)
  • Msj – Mensaje [mɛ̃nˈsaxe] (Message)
  • Vdd – Verdad [bɛɾˈðað] (Truth) or (Right?)
  • Cdt – Cuidate [ˈkwiðate] (Take care)
  • Kn – Con [kõn] (With)
  • Gnl – Genial [xeˈnjal] (Great)
  • Bs – Besos [ˈbesos] (Kisses)
  • Bb – Bebé [beˈβe] (Baby)
  • Dnd – De nada [de ˈnaða] (You’re welcome)
  • Maso – Más o menos [ˈmas ‘o ‘menos] (More or less)

Replacing parts of words with symbols

Parts and letters of words can also be replaced by symbols that either look like said parts or letters, or sound like them. For instance, the Spanish word for “greetings” can be texted as Salu2 in Spanish text slang. In this case, number 2’s pronunciation in Spanish is dos [ˈdos], which sounds exactly like the last syllable of Saludos – the regular way of writing this word.

An interesting symbol is the letter X, which is used as the multiplication sign and pronounced as Por in Spanish, as in Dos por dos es igual a cuatro, or “Two times two equals four.” In Spanish text slang, the X replaces the word Por in words and phrases like porque and por favor.

  • Chic@s – Chicos and Chicas [ˈʧikos and ˈʧikas] (Boys and Girls)
  • Salu2 – Saludos [saˈluðos] (Greetings)
  • 100nto – Siento [ˈsjɛ̃nto] (To feel)
  • x favor – Por favor [por faˈβoɾ] (Please)
  • xq – Porque [por ‘ke] (Why)
  • Gra8 or Grax – Gracias [‘grasjas] or [ˈɡɾaθjas] (Thank you)

Hint: Chic@s is used to convey both Chicos and Chicas, covering both genders of the noun at the same time. Neat, huh?

And there you have it! Now you’re ready to text back and impress your Spanish-speaking friends with some Spanish texting slang.

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