When surfing the net and chatting with friends via messenger, Whatsapp, or even sms, you may sometimes come across Text Speak. This can include special abbreviations, acronyms, or slang that are commonly used only in mobile or online texting contexts. For non-native English speakers this Text Speak can be quite confusing.
Here are some examples of Text Speak, some of them are more common than others but they are good to know just in case.
In some cases the Text Speak are letters or numbers that sound like words or phrases when put together.
CU = See you
L8er = later
4eva = forever
How RU? = How are you?
ur = you're
Gr8 = great
thx = thanks
Other examples find their origins in acronyms.
yolo = you only live once
FYI = for your information
rofl = roll on the floor laughing
IDK = I don't know
asap = as soon as possible
LOL = laugh out loud
brb = be right back
OMG = Oh my god!
IMO = in my opinion
IMHO = in my humble opinon
nw = no worries
fomo = fear of missing out
Many cases of Text Speak have also entered spoken English. Don't be too surprised if you hear someone give you some new information after saying FYI. Or if someone yells WTF! or OMG! after hearing some bad news. Your friend might encourage you to take a risk and sau YOLO. And you might just jump on the bandwagon because of fomo.
You should be careful when using Text Speak as it is quite informal, so it is best to take the lead from you native English speaking friend if you are unsure. However, that is not to say that these are not real words. Examples of Text Speak have been officially entering English language dictionaries for years. Don't believe me? Check out the Oxford Dictionary's entry for the official noun fomo. Or see what Cambridge dictionary has to say about YOLO.
There have even been cases where Shakespeare has been adapted to include the creative wonders of Text Speak, not to mention emojis.
Text Speak can be found in context of online chat or sms, and sometimes they are even used in spoken English. These situations are generally informal so be aware of your context. For example, in general, emails should not contain Text Speak. If you'd like to learn more about Email structure in English, click here.
Do you know any Text Speak from other languages? Leave a comment below.