French Language Blog

Texting in French: Le Langage SMS Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Vocabulary

Slt sava ? (Hey sup?)

There’s a lot of English that goes beyond the scope of the common textbook, or even the common work of fiction. Many of us millennials grew up learning it, chatting and playing des jeux vidéos (video games) with friends. We would have contests of sorts to see just who could come up with the shortest way to say things. Not only was it convenient to save time, but it also made us feel cool.

In France, the very same thing happened, and similarly continues to happen to this day. Often referred to as le langage SMS (textspeak) there are a load of abréviations and otherwise hard to decipher symbols that will surprise a French learner when they receive their first text message in France.

As an example, “Bojour, ça va ?” (Hello, how are you?), can become “bjr sava?

To help you get started in understanding le langage SMS, here’s a small vocabulaire to help you with the basics:

lgtpslongtemps (Long time)

ttTout (All)

prPour (For)

sltSalut (Hi)

koi –  Quoi (What)

jamè –  Jamais (Never)

gravGrave (Serious)

eskeEst-ce que… (Is it…)

2m1Demain (Tomorrow)

bi1Bien (Well)

koi 2 9quoi de neuf ? (What’s new?)

gtJ’étais (I was)

mr6Merci (Thank you)

GJ’ai (I have)

CC’est (It is)

NRJÉnergie (Energy)


If you’ve run across any language SMS, feel free to laisser un commentaire (leave a comment) about it!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Paul:

    I’ve heard of MDR for LOL in France although not in Quebec.
    Also I’ve heard of texts being called textos

  2. Melina:

    I Confirm Paul we says textos which means the same as SMS for texts MDR is used as LOL but we use both in French .:-) we also say STP for “s´il the plait “=Please

  3. Mme gouket:

    Does a letter in caps or not matter?

    • John Bauer:

      @Mme gouket It’s pretty much like in English. It doesn’t much matter, some people will write “LOL” some people will write “lol”.

  4. Ana:

    Dude! This is the perfect approach! But what do you think will the whole situation change in a few years or will everything stay the same?

    • John Bauer:

      @Ana As far as the written language goes you mean? Language is constantly evolving if that’s what you’re asking!

  5. X Smith:

    I appreciated this article. What I find interesting is that, like in English, in some cases, even though some of the text-speak purports to be used to save time, in actuality, the efficiency gain is negligible. For example, “grav” is simply missing an “e.” Unless a person types -1.027 words per minute, it strikes me as silly to not write the whole word. This is not the case for most of the words you shared, though.

  6. Arun:

    One time while chatting with a French guy, he sent MDR and the noob that I am, I thought he was saying ‘merde’.. Long story short never talked to him again.. Knowing this then would’ve helped me avoid an awkward situation..