I would like to know if there is preexisting metalanguage or a term to describe the following types of abbreviations often present in textese or SMS language:

  1. see → c,
  2. you → u,
  3. are → r,
  4. your → ur, etc.

The abbreviation involves a letter of the alphabet representing a word that is one of its homophones, e.g., 'see' /siː/ → 'c'/siː/, etc.

The term that I’m looking for would be analogous to “initialism” for “for your information” → FYI.

I have already done a fair amount of research and cannot find an answer; e.g., I looked at the Leet Wikipedia page prior to posting this question and the information there does not provide a clear enough answer.

  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet Aug 29, 2018 at 12:53
  • I actually came across Origin and use of the abbreviation 'u' for ‘you’ recently. I'm not sure if it sufficiently addresses your own question—but it might help you add more clarification if it doesn't. (The question has less detail, but it is very specific in what it asks.) Sep 4, 2018 at 0:57
  • That is an interesting question on this website but what I am REALLY looking for is some sort of metalanguage to define this specific type of abbreviation e.g. FYI - "for your information" is an initialism.
    – Cesco
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:00
  • Doesn’t that lead onto swampy ground like FYI and MAD, USA and NASA all being initialisms but not all acronyms? Does anything stop solo “U” or any single character being an acronym? How would you handle the different forms “UR” and, eg, “ID”? Sep 16, 2018 at 18:07
  • An acronym, by definition, is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word. I don't think there would be any "swampy ground". If 'you' were to be abbreviated using this description, it would be y not u.
    – Cesco
    Sep 18, 2018 at 1:44


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