Reading certain French communications or posts on social media can sometimes be a brain killer. As if the language of Molière was not hard enough, when writing, natives like to use abbreviations.
With most of the vowels being eradicated from the words, French easily transforms into a coded language when several of these are used in the same sentence. Sometimes it is even combined with verlan and it becomes almost impossible for a non-native to understand the meaning of what he is reading.
While limited character counts make these common on Twitter, it’s worth noting that you are likely to be confronted to these not only on social media but also while texting with a French person (even sometimes your boss), so be prepared!
To start with, the laughing abbreviations are a basic because you encounter them very often. There are three main that express different levels of laughter. And know they can be used in an ironic way, especially on social media:
- Mdr (mort de rire) : dead with laughter, the equivalent of LOL
- Ptdr (pété de rire) : broken with laughter
- Xptdr (explosé de rire) : exploded with laughter
french speaking moots what does mdr and ptdr mean?? my french is still too weak to properly understand these abbreviations ??
— izzy⁷ ? (@dionysusmcn) August 31, 2020
But in French, you can also abbreviate and be polite! The following are not unusual to see in professional emails, but if you're emailing someone you don't know then it's best to stick to the longer forms.
- Cdlt (cordialement) : sincerely
- Svp/stp (s’il vous plait or s’il te plait) : please, but the first one is used when you say vous to the person and the other when you say tu
- Bjr (bonjour) : good morning
- Slt (salut) : hi
- Cv (ça va?) : how are you?
- Dsl (désolé) : sorry
Then there are those of every-day use that we don’t really know why they are shortened but they are. In French universities, it’s very common that teachers use them in the copies recapitulating the main points of their lessons.
i thought English shorthand was bad but French shorthand ?
— arab money? (@arabs___) November 27, 2018
- Bcp (beaucuoup) : a lot
- Tqt/tkt (t’inquiète) : don’t worry
- Pk (pourquoi) : why
- Msg (message) : message/text
- Qq1/qqn (quelqu’un) : someone
- Qqch (quelque chose) : something
- Pb (problème) : problem
- Qd (quand) : when
- Gd (grand) : grand
- Ojd (aujourd’hui) : today
- Rdv (rendez-vous) : meeting
These are the basics that should come to your rescue when scrolling through your Twitter timeline but know that many others exist and that people have a tendency to create their own.
By Gwendoline Gaudicheau