When texting in Latin America, sometimes you'll find certain messages to be confusing.
At first, it might be because your Spanish is still weak and you simply don't understand some of the words you are reading.
Second, it could be that your Spanish is fine but the Latin American in question has shit writing skills.
I remember an interesting 2009 article that covers that with an example of it here.
"q t pasa, komo va tu vida todo trankilo masomenos? Ojala jajaja"
Of course, shit writing skills can be seen in people of any country.
The difference though is that I'd never have any problem understanding what someone said in English because it's my native language and so it's never hard to put together the pieces on what someone said.
In Spanish though?
I can usually put together the pieces on most occasions but, once in a blue moon, I find be scrolling through a Facebook group for Latin Americans (Mexicans, Bolivians, etc).
And, in that moment, find a comment written by some "barely finished high school" woman.
And you stare at that comment scratching your head and thinking "what the fuck is this?"
Almost like it's a Spanish test.
If you can put together the pieces, your Spanish is top notch.
Similar to how if you can understand a Dominican, then you can understand any Spanish speaker.
Third, sometimes Latin Americans from specific countries have their own way of abbreviating words that are not as common in other countries.
For example, when I did visit the Dominican Republic, I remember "tambien" became "tb."
They had other abbreviations also.
It was when I came to Mexico soon after where I repeatedly found myself explaining to women here what "tb" means as they never understood it.
So I soon dropped the habit of writing tb.
Though Mexicans -- and other Latin Americans -- have their own abbreviations that are either common among all of them or just local.
Such as Mexicans just writing the letter "q" or "k" instead of que.
So on and so on.
Finally, we have a new challenge that you might have to encounter when texting Latin Americans.
The final boss.
It's a challenge that comes with not just texting Latin Americans but perhaps even the people of your own country.
Texting Gen Z Latin Americans.
Just the other day, I came across an example online that reminded me of this peculiar little detail that comes with texting the locals down here.
It's a detail I only notice whenever I'm on Tinder and I get the occasional gal who is something like 20 years old.
Here is the example I mean.
The image came from this bit here.
Basically, the dude is texting his girl saying he doesn't have the money to go to one of the spots she wants to visit.
Interesting enough, she responded with a "Uwun't?"
Which I found confusing.
I've never seen that before but apparently the guy understands it as he responds with a "chi" or si.'
What the hell does Uwun't mean?
At first, I thought it was some weird way of typing "you won't?"
Because you do see cases of Spanglish down here once in a while.
Out of curiosity, I dug into the comment section under that photo and began checking if anyone was equally confused as I was.
I found this bit here.
Here I translated the important bits:
"What is Uwun't?"
It is the negation of the Uwu. With the question mark, she is asking him if he is denying the Uwu."
"What is uwu?"
"It's a face, it's the evolution of what was :3 it is a cute cat face, uwu is basically this."
I'm left even more confused.
Then I found this bit here.
So, from what I can gather, uwu is something positive. It's supposed to represent a cat's happy face but uwun't is supposed to be the opposite of that.
Just to make sure I understood the uwun't properly, I looked it up to see if I could find anything else.
I found this bit here:
''uwun't'' es lo contrario de ''uwu'' desde que se utiliza la acortación ''n't'' que básicamente es un término en negativo, como ''would'' es algo así como ''haría'', ''wouldn't'' sería algo así como ''no lo haría''.
En este caso específico denota lo contrario de ''uwu'', algo así como ''unu''
Basically, uwun't is the opposite of uwu and is a negative thing.
Did I get that right, Mexican Zoomers? Grandpa Matt is asking.
For more on uwo, we have this here also.
To make things more complicated, we now have the "obo."
What is the difference between the uwu and the obo?
The uwu is closing its eyes and supposed to be something good but the obo looks like a surprised face.
At any rate, I now feel gay for looking all of this up.
Brb -- I need to go lift weights, take a cold shower, eat raw eggs and kick someone's ass at a bar.
While I'm not sure what age zoomers start at, I think I'm technically one depending on how you define it.
I was born in 1994 so I'm right at the line for where zoomer and millennial is.
While living in Mexico, I notice Gen Z speak from two sources: memes posted on Facebook groups I am part of or when talking to women from Tinder.
When it comes to memes, I have noticed some Latin Americans have adopted terms or at least use some of the same terms that Gen Zers do in the US.
Especially with the word "based" or, as they put it in Spanish, "basado."
"quiero una novia basada"
When it comes to texting random chicks from Tinder, clearly any woman even a year or two younger than me is technically a zoomer, I suppose.
Though I never really feel any generational difference or maturity difference with a 26 year old for example.
Whenever I match with a chick on Tinder though who is in the 18 to 19 year old category is when I encounter someone who seems to have some noticeable difference.
Though I chalk that up mostly to maturity instead of just generational.
Still, on an occasion where I have gone out with an 18 or 19 year old in Mexico, I have noticed that odd texting shit that they do like you see in the example above.
I haven't gone out with an 19 year old though in quite a while though.
So I don't remember all the other odd shit they sometimes text but they are my only experience actually when texting someone as young as 18 or 19 down here.
Whenever I match with someone in that age range on Tinder.
I imagine that, for other gringos dating down here, they might notice these odd texting patterns also from that same crowd once in a blue moon.
Though I also feel it depends on two things:
For one, how long have they been down here? If the gringo is fresh off the plane, then he probably wouldn't chalk it up to Gen Z speak of Latin Americans and instead "just some weird Spanish." I feel only those who have been here long enough would make that observation.
Second, if the Latin American thinks your Spanish is not so good, I imagine they'd limit the Gen Z speak in the same way that some Latin Americans will do you one by speaking more formally than they would with locals. If your Spanish is good though, you'll start to get that treatment where they speak and text to you more and more like they would with a local.
Finally, it should be remembered that I am only 28 years old as I write this in 2022.
I imagine that, as I get older while continuing to live down here, that I might encounter more of this odd texting patterns from some of the locals.
I can see it now already.
It was the Year 2050
Bachelor Matt at the age of 53 is in Caracas, Venezuela
Texting a young 24 year old woman named Rosa
Never a year older because Bachelor Matt learned from the best: Leonardo Dicaprio
"Oye chica, ven a mi casa. Quiero coger tu culo" dice Matt
"ola kiki tao ra no pa sho ti, va k va, si?" ella responde
Bachelor Matt looks up at the sky: "What the fuck did I just read?"
Final Examples of Latin American Gen Z Speak
As I'm not an expert on what the latest slang of the Latin American Gen Z's or even the Gen Z's of my own country, I think it's best I leave you with some online examples from those more familiar with the topic.
If you want to see more examples, check out some of the videos I included below here of some Spanish language Gen Z stuff (be it from Latin America, Spain or wherever).
Anything to Add?
There isn't too much left to say.
Above all, it's simply something you'll likely confront when interacting with the locals down here.
That being the type of generational texting difference that would be confusing to anyone even if it was in your own native language.
Even more so in another language you were not born speaking.
As I said, it'll be interesting I suppose to see it evolve even more as I get older while living down here.
I remember very clearly the :3 that some Latinas used years ago.
Apparently that's old school now.
Makes me feel like Brooks from The Shashank Redemption.
"I saw a Gen Zer once. Now they're everywhere."
Anyway, if you got anything to add, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.