One of the first activities I participated in with my USAC cohort when I got to Italy was taking a mini field trip to the post office to get my hands on a PosteMobile cell phone.
At the time I thought it was pointless to have a cell phone, because I pessimistically believed that I wouldn’t make any friends while I studied abroad and therefore would never have anyone to call or text. I planned to use my iPhone in places with WiFi to connect with the people at home. But I figured it would be good to have an Italian cellphone for any Italian emergencies.
Buying the PosteMobile was like stepping back into 2002. It was a simple bar phone, smaller than my hand, with a regular key pad and the capabilities to make calls, send texts and… that was pretty much it.
Oh, it had a number game on it too, kind of like Sudoku.
Having used a touch screen phone for a few years and phones with full QWERTY keyboards for years before that, I forgot what it was like to have to press 7 FIVE times to get ONE ‘s.’ It took a long time to send any kind of text, so I adapted to making phone calls to contact my friends.
(I did end up actually making friends, despite what I believed when I arrived.)
I didn’t learn the hip text slang until I came back to the U.S., but it sure would have come in handy when I was using my PosteMobile.
Now, it just helps me understand what the heck my Italian Facebook friends are saying when they type things like “xché” or “mmt+.”
To help you out when it comes to keeping in touch with your Italian friends – both for shortening the time it takes to send a message and understanding what someone said, I put together a list of some common Italian text abbreviations.
CPF: Also, Italians usually refer to a ‘text’ as an ‘SMS.’
SMS Abbreviazioni Italiani (Italian Text Abbreviations)
Italians use ‘x’ to mean ‘per.’
– xché = perché – why
– xò = però – but
– xciò = perciò – therefore
– xsona = persona – person
‘X’ can also mean a kiss, like in American English ‘XOXO.’
– XXX = tanti baci – many kisses
The coolest abbreviation in my humble opinion is using the number ‘6’ to mean “sei” as in ‘you are.’
– Dove 6? = Dove sei? = Where are you?
The number is spelled the same as the verb, just like how the English 2 corresponds to to, two or too.
The letter ‘k’ frequently replaces the ‘ch’ of any word that has ‘ch’ in it.
– ke = che – what
– ki = chi – who
– anke = anche – also
In fact, the letter ‘k’ can also just replace the ‘c’ of almost any word.
– km = come – how
– ks = cosa – what/thing
– qlks = qualcosa – something
– qlk1 = qualcuno – someone
Frequently, vowels are just removed altogether to shorten words.
– dp = dopo – later
– dm = domani – tomorrow
– nn = non – not
– qnd = quando – when
– smpr = sempre – always
– t = ti – you
– cm = come– how
And, to tell someone you love them or you miss them, much like the American English text abbreviations “ILY” or “IMY,” Italian has its own.
– tvb = ti voglio bene – I love you
– tvtb = ti voglio tanto bene – I love you a lot
– mmt+ = mi manchi tantissimo – I miss you a lot
Practice your SMS abbreviations below in the comments!