LINGUIST List 7.1532

Wed Oct 30 1996

Sum: Salu2 - words written with numbers

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Trey Jones, Sum:Salu2 - words written with numbers

Message 1: Sum:Salu2 - words written with numbers

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 01:46:00 EST
From: Trey Jones <>
Subject: Sum:Salu2 - words written with numbers
A while back I posted this query:
I've recently started reading a Spanish-language mailing list, where I
came across an interesting thing. At least one of the participants
signs off with "Salu2". 2 is, of course, "dos" in Spanish, so "Salu2"
is "Saludos" ("Greetings" in English).

I've seen this before in English, with R=are, U=you, 4=for, 2=to,too.
This is on the border of linguistics, but I've always had a thing for
language games, which this clearly is. I was wondering: Are there any
examples from other languages? If so, please send them to me and I'll
summarize for the list.
Here are the examples people sent me:

suc6 - succes (good luck)
4us - virus (eng:virus - see below)
1d - eend (duck)
3st - driest (impudent)
n8 - nacht (night)
10er - tiener (teenager).

b = be
c = see
m = am
r = are
s = yes
t = tea
u = you
v = we
x = cross
y = why
cu = see you
ic = i see
1 = won
2 = to, too
4 = for
1derful = wonderful
2day = today
2morro = tomorrow
2gether = together
2sum = twosome
10derly = tenderly
str8 (for "straight", i.e. heterosexual).
sl8 - Sleight (first part of an e-mail address for a guy whose last
 name is Sleight, rhymes with eight)
10s - tennis
ne1 - anyone
b4 - before
B4UQ4AQ, Q4ADD - advert for Double Diamond lager (DD)
B4UQ4AP, Q4ADD - advert for Double Diamond lager (DD)
 [those two are clearly British English - and I
 can't untangle the Q/cue/queues properly.. - Trey]
Pot8oes - Potatoes (see below)
"Two Ronnies" TV comedy sketch - Swedish restaurant
 LO - hello
 RUBC - are you busy
 SVRBC - yes, we are
 FUNEX - have you any eggs
 MNXNT41 - ham and eggs and tea for one
 VFN10EM - we haven't any ham
 R - ah
Any 2 5 11is? [but without a translation :( ]
I <heart>RMONT - I LOVERMONT (I love Vermont)
U R 2 /a little picture |\______/|) 2 B 4 GOT 10
 | |
 That means "You are too sweet to be forgotten"

English/Tok Pisin:
K92 - the provincial town Kainantu (Papua New Guinea)

English/Geek Speak (computer programming):
2 for "to" in many function names, like "int2print" and
 "fig2ps" converst fig files into ps files
Other function names:
 "1b4" which finds the previous something
 "bay6" which performs basic operations

K7 (ka + sept) "cassette" (Apparently, this is also used for "cassette"
 in Germany, even though it doesn't work in German.
R - Grantaire - The source for this one is Victor Hugo's _Les
 Grantaire is one of a group of students that are friends of Marius,
 one of the main characters. This guy amused himself by signing his
 name simply "R", since Grantaire is pronounced the same as "grand
 French for "capital R".
3 chic - tre chic "very elegant"
4L - "quatr' el," are pronounced as _quatrelle_, the popular name of the
 Renault R 4
NRJ - the names of the letters, "en' er ji," have (almost) the same
 pronunciation as the word _e'nergie_ ("energy"), and this is the
 name of a radio station in Paris
LNA - Elena (Helen)

8ung!, "acht" (eight)+"ung" - ACHTUNG ("Caution")

o b b g =3D o bi:bi:ji: 'oh! madam'
t p o g =3D Ti: pi:yo:ji: 'have some tea'
p k i g =3D pi:ke: a:yi:ji: 'i had and came'

6 =3D sei (you are)
 6 donna - sei donna "you are a woman"
bar Br1 - bar Bruno "Bruno coffee shop" (Bruno is a male proper name)
+ = piu' (more) normally written as two words in comparison, e.g.
 +bello =3D piu' bello (more beautiful)
 +ttosto =3D piuttosto (rather)
x = per (for) a preposition and a morpheme:
 xche' =3D perche' (why, because)
 xmanente =3D permanente (permanent)
 xfetto =3D perfetto (perfect)

10bun - juubun (enough) ten-part

1berto - Umberto (1 (one) is [um]).

Me 109cito - Me siento nuevecito (I feel like new)
pen6 - penseis ("you think")

I also got one actual reference from Geoff Smith, who wrote:
 In Papua New Guinea, using numerals as shortcuts is very popular,
both in the PNG variety of ENglish and in Tok Pisin, the ENglish
lexifier pidgin widely spoken. For example, the provincial town
Kainantu is often shortened to K92.

 This is particularly popular in press advertisements for birthdays,
weddings, etc, and Sue Holzknecht wrote a paper on it called Hepi
b/day 2u (Happy birthday to you). It was subsequently published as:

 Holzknecht, Susanne. (1989). Sociolinguistic analysis of a register:
 birthday notices in PNG Post-Courier, World Englishes, 8(2):179-192.
Gordon Owen had this interesting bit to share:
 Not exactly on point, but German slang includes referring to the
number of the penal code to identify someone as having broken that
particular law. A 265er is someone guilty of breaking statute 265.
Most often used for illegal sexual behavior.
Lisanne Teunissen, who contributed the Dutch suc6 example also wrote:
 I don't think many people use this, but at least some of my friends
do. I even know somebody who used to say "suc-zeven" (zeven = 7) :-).
Valery Belyanin also sent this bit about Russian calculator games:
 In Russian someone may ask You to type on a calculator "45145" and
if You turn it upside down (or You are the spectator) You will see
that it corresponds with English written letters that compile "ShISh"
which in Russian ponounciation is for "a mere nothing; You will get
nothing; a kind of "shit". There is also another kind of the
abovementioned trick with calculator with the usage of "1041505"
figures You turn it upside down You will see "sosihoi" with the
Russian meaning smth like "suck prock" (not "huy" which for pr*ck" but
"hoy" which may be translated as "prock"). There are certainly more,
but i have 4got10.
Alex (alexCompApp.DCU.IE) notes:
 numbers at the beginning of words seem to be quite rare; 4nication
isn't very felicitous, although there was a Channel 4 drama series
called 4 Play and a terrible pop group called "The 4 Skins"
Gavin O Se writes concerning Irish pronunciation:
 the use of 4=four has always not quite worked with me or with many
Irish people who have to strain the relationship a bit to make it
work, although I can imagine it would (and of couse does) work in
other parts of the english speaking world (for us, 4 and fore are
homophones, with for just about the same as fur)

 as a young lad, just getting into writing, and, as for most people
where I come from 3 and tree are homophonous or very nearly, so for
laughs we used to write things like 'and then we climbed up the 3'.
in fact learning the difference in lettering between them was quite a
task for me! : but of course this one would necessitate a strain for
other varieties of english
Markus Hiller writes about the Japanese example 10bun:
 the "correct" spelling uses a different character for juu than that
for "10", but it is rather complicated. in japanese writing, there is
no clearcut border between a pun and a spelling error (so-called atezi
), but i have seen the spelling ``ten-part'' for juubun even in
serious texts.
Paul Foulkes writes, concerning Pot8oes:
 In the C19 there was a very promising young racehorse in England,
which his owners decided to call 'Potatoes'. They instructed the
horse's groom to write the name on the stable door, but the poor man
was barely literate. When he appeared bemused by the instruction the
owners spelt the name out in a way they thought was clear:
"pot-ate-oes". The groom then inscribed "POTOOOOOOOO". This became
the horse's official name, though it was usually abridged to
Edith Kaan has an interesting cross-language example:
 Several years ago, a Dutch popgroup, Doe Maar, brought out an album
called 4us (4=3Dvier in Dutch): 4us - virus (eng:virus).
Ewald Lang has this interesting example from Chinese:
 The Mandarin term for the Red Cross Association is "hong" (red)
"shi" (ten) "zi" (character, sign)"hui" (association), lit. =
association of = the red "+ " sign. "shi" has been chosen because the
Chinese character for the number ten is shaped like a cross. So this
is one of the rare examples where a number word ("shi") and its
written form (the character "+")are embodied in a lexical expression
not due to its phonic value (as in [8ung]) but due to to its graphic
shape. The reason for this is that in contradistinction to western
christianized cultures the cross as a symbol was unknown in Chinese
culture. The solution as found by the Chinese translators in coining
[this term] presents an example of iconographic use of number symbols.
Thanks to all those who responded (in chronological order):
Gregory Ward
Melanie Misanchuk
Mark Mandel
Deborah Milam Berkley
Mark Leisher
Mel Resnick
Geoff Smith
Charlie Belair
Gordon Owen
Lisanne Teunissen
Valery Belyanin
Alex (alexCompApp.DCU.IE)
Gavin O Se
Markus Hiller
Paul Foulkes
Ms. Radhika Mamidi
Diana Maynard
Marianna Pool
Georges (
Edith Kaan
Elena Bertoncini
J=E9r=F4me Richalot
Ricardo Lima
Federica Casadei
Ewald Lang
Marco Ruehl
Stephen Helmreich
Wolfgang Settekorn
 --gracias a todos--

Finally, a number of people asked about the Spanish language mailing
list I was reading. You can get info on a bazillion mailing lists from
the List of Language Lists, available on the web at:

For those who do not have web access, here is the info for the Spanish
langauge lists. I subscribe to the first one, but have not looked at
the second one. _________________________ Spanish; PC4001-PC4977

Spanish (ESPANA-L) General discussion and exchange of
information regarding Spain and Spanish culture.
For questions, contact: (Rita Goldberg) (Borja Toron Antons)
Latin American languages; PM5001-PM7356

Latin American Linguistics and Languages Discussion List (LATAMLIN)
Discussion and a means of communication for anyone working on or
interested in the study of Linguistics and Languages in Latin America;
languages of communication are English, Spanish and Portuguese.
For questions, contact: (Cristina S. Banfi) (Maria Mercedes Pinango) (Luciana Storto)

There are also *lots* of Spanish-language usenet groups if you look
for them.

Thanks again everybody!
Salu2 a todos..
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