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  1. Abbreviation
  2. Bezenshek Shorthand
  3. Boyd's Syllabic Shorthand
  4. Closed captioning
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  21. Short message service
  22. SMS language
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  25. Stenograph
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  28. Teeline Shorthand
  29. Thomas Natural Shorthand
  30. Tironian notes
  31. Transcript



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SMS language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"txt" redirects here. For the filename extension, see .txt. Also, for the messaging standard see Short Message Service.
Look up txt in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

SMS language (also known as chatspeak, txt, txtspk, texting language or txt talk) is the English language slang used in mobile phone SMS. It is an abbreviated form of English known as a rebus. It is similar to leet and AOL speak. With predictive text input increasingly being used, it is becoming less common.

It echatrooms to accommodate the small number of characters allowed (early SMS permitted only 160 characters), and as a convenient language for the small keyboards on mobile phones. Without practice, sending SMS messages can be time consuming.

The objective of txt is to use the least the number of characters needed to put across a comprehensible message. Hence, punctuation and grammar are largely ignored.

txt devices

Single letters can replace words. Examples:

  • be becomes b
  • see becomes c
  • are becomes r
  • you becomes u
  • why becomes y

Single digits can replace words. Examples:

  • ate becomes 8
  • for becomes 4
  • to or too becomes 2

A single letter or digit can replace a syllable. Examples:

  • ate becomes 8, so:
    • activate becomes activ8
    • great becomes gr8
    • mate becomes m8
    • later becomes l8r
    • plates becomes pl8s
    • skater becomes sk8r
  • for or Fore becomes 4, so:
    • before becomes (combining both of the above) b4
    • therefore becomes der4

There are miscellaneous adaptations of characters. Examples:

  • ss becomes $
  • oo becomes %
  • '-orr-' becomes '-oz'
    • For example, Sorry becomes Soz, and Tomorrow becomes Tomoz (further abbreviated to 2moz.)

Combinations of the above can shorten a single or multiple words. Example:

  • your and you are both become ur

Characters and punctuation are removed to shorten messages:

  • Vowels are removed such that the sequence of consonants remain and the word is still recognisable.
    • For example, between becomes btwn.
  • Whole words may be omitted, especially articles.
  • Punctuation may be removed; only period and exclamation marks are generally used. The space and capital letter is often omitted after a period.

"/" signifies abbreviation, such as "w/" for "with" and "s/t" for "something".

Other transcriptions of slang or dialect terms can be used if shorter than the original words, as in cos (with fewer letters than because.)


See List of SMS abbreviations

There are a number of commonly recognised txt abbreviations which can be found in the list below, or at transl8it!, which allows for translations to and from English.


Combining the above "techniques" can shorten whole sentences. Examples are as follows:

Are you going to the pub tonight?

  • ru goin pub 2nyt

Hi mate. Are you okay? I am sorry that I forgot to call you last night. Why don't we go and see a film tomorrow? (120 characters)

  • hi m8 u k?-sry i 4gt 2 cal u lst nyt-y dnt we go c film 2moz (60 characters)

The Use of txt in School Exams

There have been some reports in the media of children using SMS language for essays in school:

  • (August 16, 2002). "Examiner's warning over exams culture". BBC.
  • (March 4, 2003). "Is txt mightier than the word?". BBC.
  • (November 9, 2006). "Txt speak approved for exams"

See also

  • Internet slang
  • Emoticons

External links

  • ortograf French alternate spelling
  • SMS glossary
  • netlingo
  • transl8it SMS and chat lingo translator
  • SMS/CHAT/IM Abbreviations
  • TxtBuff SMS Quotes Collection using txtspeak
  • A1R Mobile .mobi compliant SMS reference formatted for mobile phones


  • Rai, Himanshu (October 30, 2005). "Thumbs Up!". New Straits Times, p. F14.
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