First things first: texting styles vary greatly from person to person and, most importantly, from situation to situation. Unlike speaking and formal writing, texting is a whole new, miraculous world that is all about speed and comes with a myriad of acronyms, slang, and punctuation madness – which we’re about to dig into now. 

Common expressions

Abbreviations and acronyms are a big thing in texting. There are several ways to drop some letters in Russian, either by typing a word the way it may sound, shortening it to the first/last letters, or leaving in only some letters, typically consonants, from different parts of a word or phrase, so it could be easily decoded. Here is a cheat sheet of some words and phrases you might want to take a note of:

Case #1

  • Щас (also ща) – сейчас (now)
  • Низя – нельзя (it's forbidden)
  • Тыща (also …к, as in 1к) – тысяча (thousand)
  • Ваще –  вообще (at all)

Case #2

  • (З)драсьте – здравствуйте (hello)
  • Норм – нормально (fine, okay)
  • Скок – сколько (how much/many)
  • Пасиб (also спс, пасиб(о/а)) – спасибо (thank you)

Case #3

  • Пжлст (also пож) – пожалуйста (you’re welcome)
  • Мб – может быть (maybe)
  • Нзч – не за что (no biggie)
  • Пн – понедельник (Monday); вт – вторник (Tuesday); ср – среда (Wednesday); чт – четверг (Thursday);  пт – пятница (Friday); сб – суббота (Saturday); вс – воскресенье (Sunday)
  • Вк - ВКонтакте (VKontakte/VK), тг - Телеграм (Telegram) 
  • Ттт – тьфу-тьфу-тьфу (knock on wood)

Some offensive phrases

  • Хз (dismissive) – хрен знает (heck knows), may also be translated with the F word 

Some memes

What’s up with that “)))”

While one-word sentences or a lack of punctuation and capitalization (or, vice versa, all caps) may not be much of a surprise nowadays, there’s something about Russian texts that will indeed catch your eye when you get to the end of a sentence – and that’s not a full-stop (why would we be so serious?)

The thing is, Russians tend to use a single “)” for a happy smiley and  “(“ for a sad smiley – if it’s not an emoji, which are much more common nowadays. Whether because it’s easier to type or it looks more like a smile, we usually swap :) and :( for a parentheses-only smiley (and lots of them!). The number of parentheses used may vary, with one ) usually standing for a slight smile and ))) for something either too amusing or sarcastic; one ( for a sad smile and two or more – for something too sad, supposedly.

Among other features to know are messages with ? for when something is unclear, + to state that you’re in or agreed with what was said earlier, and * for when you want to correct your previous message because of a typo. 

Anglicisms, Russian-style

We like to make use of an anglicism, too. But while some spell them the usual way, others love them Cyrillic-style: there’s ок (also к) – OK, лол (also кек) – LOL (kek), омг – OMG, имхо – IMHO, втф – WTF, and изи – easy.

Student and ITMO slang

When in an academic environment, you can’t help but get exposed to a great deal of slang words students use in their everyday life. Apart from some common words and phrases, which you can find here, ITMO students have their own inner language, consisting of words such as Крон (also Крона or ГК) for ITMO’s campus on Kronverksky Pr. 49, Ломо for the campus on Lomonosova St. 9, and Вязьма for the university’s dorm on Vyazemsky Ln. 5-7. For more, check out our handy post on Telegram. 

As useful as learning from textbooks can be, you also need to expose yourself to authentic conversations, which you can do by talking to your Russian classmates, joining ITMO’s Russian Speaking Club, creating an account on VK (and following us there!), or checking out our Speak Like a Russian series on ITMO.NEWS.