Home News Spanish National THE SPANISH WORD OF THE YEAR


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As language evolves and changes and new words creep into everyday use, the relevant dictionaries grow with new words, some which may be magical and descriptive, others that may be annoying and truncated, but this year in Spain, the word of the year is “selfi”.

Adapted into the Spanish language from the English version “selfie”, although either spelling seems acceptable, the word has become one of the most used through social network sites, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “A photographic self-portrait; esp. one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”

One of the strangest anomalies of the word is that many celebrities who post the so-called “selfies” seem to not realise the “self-portrait” element, posting pictures of themselves taken by others under the usual hashtag of being self-created.

We must not ignore the most famous selfie of them all, taken by Ellen DeGeneres during her role of presenting the Oscars, but under the true definition she is the only one who would technically fall under the “self-portrait” description.

In Spain, the BBVA foundation received around 300 recommendations throughout the year, of which 12 were shortlisted, including “dron”, again taken from the English word “drone”, and “nomofobia”, which comes form the 2010 coined English word “nomophobia” that describes the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, derived from the phrase no-mobile-phone phobia.

But “selfi” is the winning word of the year, and for those who wish to use it in their Spanish conversation may wish to note that the foundation say that the word is considered gender-ambiguous and can be either a feminine or masculine article, although it noted that the most common is to use the masculine. Furthermore, to make the plural, it would be more correct to write “selfis” instead of “selfies” which corresponds to the English spelling.

The foundation also recommend alternatives already available in the Spanish language which could be used, namely “autofoto” or “autorretrato”, for those who would rather not fall into the trend of the social network driven masses.

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