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Texting in Vietnamese: Common Abbreviations

Texting in VietnameseMaybe you want to use your đtdd (phone) to nhắn tin (send a message) a friend in Vietnamese. Or maybe you’re lazy to type out full words in a chat. Here’s a starter guide to Vietnamese SMS abbreviations.

Most phones don’t do accents, or they’re arduous to use so people don’t bother, so you’ll be reading Vietnamese without the tones. Vietnamese words are short anyway, so the list of common abbreviations isn’t as extensive as other languages.

ko = không
dc = được
a = anh
e = em
ng = người
wa = quá (this may be southern)

-ng → g
For example, nhug = nhưng. dag, xog and cug are also common (= đang, xong, cũng).

i → j
For example, dj = đi, bjet or bjt = biết. Some may write gì as ji or j.
hjhj is also common as showing laughter.

If you’re talking about a friend, you may shorten their name to their initial (eg. if you were talking about me you’d write T for Thảo).

And of course VN is Việt Nam!

These are the most common abbreviations for texting in Vietnamese that I’ve come across, though young people may use more than this!

FYI, I’m leaving

If you’re visiting a Vietnamese person’s house, when you leave you must tell you host this. Even if it’s obvious, it’s necessary to actually say “I’m leaving” – especially to those older than you.

It might be obvious but you should still tell your host you’re leaving.

Usually this is with the verb “về” (as in, I’m going home). For example:

Chị, em về.
Chú, con về.

But there are times when đi (to go) is used, for example if you’re heading to the bus station to leave town.

Bà, con đi.
Anh chị, em đi.

In my experience, Vietnamese people love it when you follow this custom. Next time you’re visiting someone’s house or leaving a party, try it and see.