Please answer in simplified Chinese characters

I recently met a Chinese person who was right in there with the acronyms, abbreviations and text-slang. Words like:

  • u

  • brb

  • gtg

  • imo

So as you can see, she was pretty knowledgeable about the text-slang we have in English. So, I was wandering if you had any text speak, slang or abbreviations that are used in Mandarin that are similar to the ones in English. For example, are there ones similar to the ones I listed above?

Obviously, not every English speaker uses these silly abbreviations over text or the internet, certainly not me, so I'm not saying that any Chinese person does this. But, is there any of this that exists in the Chinese language?

  • I suggest installing a TC-SC converter in your browser.
    – user-487
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:02

3 Answers 3


Short answer: yes. Skip to the last paragraph for a few examples.

Long answer: it depends.
Firstly, the Chinese language is:

  • isolating (low morpheme per word ratio)
  • written with characters

As you said, words used in English text speak are acronyms, i.e. made up from initial letters of some other words:

brb = be right back

In Chinese, characters are morphemes which are also words, therefore if text speak = acronyms (like imho, wrt), then there's very little room for it.

You do have sort of acronyms, or abbreviations, in Chinese. The most common occurrence is in lengthy names, for instance those of institutions, which comprise several two-character words. These are most of the times abbreviated using the most significant character from each distinct word. Example:

(食品)药品监督管理局 (food &) drug administration
becomes: 药监局

If text speak = word contraction, then yes, there are some forms commonly used in colloquial speech that eliminate bound morphemes:

什么 > 啥
怎么 > 咋

Finally you can find some slang words used in written language that resemble more closely those you are talking about. Not real acronyms for the reasons stated above, but roman letters used in place of characters with the same pronunciation, which we can construe as examples of slang text speak in Chinese:

  • p了 (bullshit!) -> letter p instead of 屁 (pi4)
  • sb (idiot) -> first pinyin letters of 傻逼 sha bi
  • wp (outsider) -> first pinyin letters of 外屁 wai pi, a distortion of 外地(人) used as a slur for non Shanghainese people in Shanghai.
  • ooxx (having sex) -> letters o (read oh) and x (read cha as 叉 cross, same pronunciation as 插, insert/stick)
  • (食品) 药品监督管理局 (food &) drug administration abbreviated to 药监局 is a good idea. However, abbreviating an already short title is quite annoying to me. For example, calling '習總理' as '習總', '任隊長' as '任隊' or '郎教練' as '郎教' . More than once, I heard people making fun of these terms-- '習總', sounded like '雜種' in Cantonese. Also in Cantonese, '任隊' could mean 'welcome to be stabbed at will'. I also questioned about the unfairness of only 隊長's title get shortened. How about 隊員? Do we refer 'X隊員' as 'X員'?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:58
  • Just an additional example: LZ -> 楼主 which means the original poster which you'll often see in forums.
    – Sweeper
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 10:14

Yes. For example:

造 = 知道

酱 = 这样

喜大普奔 = 喜闻乐见、大快人心、普天同庆、奔走相告


Yes, texting is written spoken language, so there is inevitably what you call text-speak. I'm guessing there are fb (facebook), app (mobile app), 3q (thank you).

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