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Let's talk selfies

February 18, 2015

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One word that’s currently in the air everywhere is “selfie”. If people aren’t saying it, they’re doing it.

A Selfie of Two People

The dictionary meaning is: a self-portrait taken on a smartphone and, as Simon Kuper writes in his column in the Financial Times of 12/20/14, it is now penetrating languages worldwide.

Since Kuper has done such excellent research on this topic I am going to briefly recap the salient points he makes in his Opening Shot column. Let’s take a look.

How prevalent is this word? The Oxford Dictionary folks named it the English word of the year in 2013. Since then it has become popular in the Netherlands, France and Italy. It was also recently named Austria’s “youth word of the year”. And, it has also inspired a family of words, which includes “belfie” (a portrait of one’s own backside) and “shelfie” (portrait of a bookcase). Enough already.

Why is all this selfie news happening? Kuper notes this is the season when countries name their word of the year. And worldwide, social media and texting are taking over. In other words, a global tech-based language is coming up fast.

A Selfie of a Crowd

What is a “photobomb” and who did it? Apparently, this is when one inserts one’s self into someone else’s picture. Queen Elizabeth did this to two Australian hockey players at the Commonwealth Games, e.g., she totally photobombed their selfie. How naughty!

Queen Elizabeth and a selfie

What do LOL, IDC and YOLO mean? In order, they mean: Laugh Out Loud, I Don’t Care and You Only Live Once. Is your head going around?

Who started this new English? Credit goes to the Australians because they are more daring than other countries about inventing words. And those under 30 are coining words faster than ever.

What does the future hold? If you think there’s a decline in standards, then hold on tight: languages have begun to abandon alphabets altogether.

The shortest correspondence in history was always said to be Victor Hugo’s with his publisher about the sales of his book Les Misérables. Apparently, Hugo wrote “?”. And his publisher replied, “!” That exchange would now be standard.

How is this going to end? According to Kuper this phase of language is going to end when voice-recognition technology improves. We won’t have to write anymore. We’ll just speak into our devices. New tech will again create new language.

MAY WE SUGGEST…

Since we’re heading for one of the coldest months of the year don’t forget Adea’s layering approach to warm dressing. We offer a great assortment of colors, necklines and sleeve lengths that will zap up your wardrobe – and take you right into spring.

- Shaun



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