French text message lingo: 15 essential terms

Deciphering the curious shorthand of text messages can be tough even in your native tongue, but in French all manners of communication catastrophes are possible. Fortunately The Local has gathered up and deciphered some essential abbreviations used in French ‘textos’.

French text message lingo: 15 essential terms
French text messaging lingo can be hard to understand. Here's 15 essential phrases decoded. Photo: Shutterstock

Once you’ve become good enough to write a text message in French you may began to get ‘textos’ with a bewildering mix of shorthand and acronyms from your friends in France. This is French text message language, which like in English, operates on one simple rule: fewer characters is better.

Accordingly acronyms, abbreviations and letter/number shorthand are the norm here. Grammar, accents and most other rules pretty are pretty much suspended on the text universe. It's a nice break from the confines of official language, but can be totally confusing.

In order to decode the expressions The Local has collected 15 of the ones you are likely to see in a typical day of gallic phone messaging. Here we have defined and explained their use.

As always, help us build up this list for readers by adding your own favourite French 'texto' lingo in the comments section below or let us know on Twitter at @Thelocalfrance.

French text messaging lingo: 15 essential terms decoded


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French elections: What is ‘parrainage’ and how does it affect candidates?

If you follow French politics, it's about this time that you will start to see a lot of mentions of parrainage - here's what that means and how it affects the race for the presidency.

French elections: What is 'parrainage' and how does it affect candidates?

The French word parrainage means sponsorship or guardianship and it comes from parrain – godfather.

Just as in English, parrain can be used in its literal sense for a child’s godfather (godmother is marraine) or a more general sense for anyone who is a powerful figure – the classic mafia movie The Godfather is Le Parrain in France.

But in the context of presidential elections it has a more specific meaning, which is to do with how you get onto the ballot paper.

In order to be a candidate in a French election you have to be a French citizen aged 18 years or over. 

But you also need to collect at least 500 signatures (or parrainages) from elected officials to back your campaign.

These can be from anyone elected to public office from village mayors to MPs, MEPs and Senator but there are some rules – the officials must come from at least 30 different French départements or overseas French territories and no more than 50 signatures can come from one département or overseas territory.

This year, candidates have until March 4th to gain the signatures they need, if you’re on French social media you may recently have spotted lots of obscure politicians tweeting pictures of either a signed form or a letter being popped into the postbox – they’re making a public declaration of their parrainage.

You don’t need to be on Twitter though, the names of all the officials who have given their signatures will be published on March 8th, along with the list of candidates who have gained the required 500 and therefore their place on the ballot paper. 

Until that date, the question of who has the required numbers of parrainages is the subject of a lot of speculation and newspaper headlines, as well as charts like the one below, which are generally based on public declarations of support.

You can follow all the latest news and explanations of the 2022 presidential election campaign HERE.