IT'S THE WEEKEND: Teenage kicks by Cerys Whiting - The rise of the 'selfie'

2013 saw the birth of the 'selfie'.

A simple word that has gone from being used typically on social media sites like Instagram and Twitter to being used in typical everyday language.

The 'selfie' can actually be traced back to 2002 in Australia when a man who had taken a nasty fall while drunk, posted a photo of his injuries on a web forum with the comment 'sorry about the focus, it was a selfie'.

It wasn't until 2004 when '#selfie' started trending on Flickr, and it wasn't actually until 2012 that the word started being used across the world. It's popularity has risen by over 17,000 per cent according to researchers. And it may surprse you but the Phillipines is actually the country topping the charts in terms of the selfies, with Australia coming in at a close second.

But what exactly does it mean? Well it seems that 'selfies' have had such an impact on our lives that the word has even been added to the Oxford Dictionary. Defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website", the selfie has been voted the word of 2013.

Other shortlisted words included "twerk" - a raunchy dance move performed by Miley Cyrus - and "binge-watch" - meaning watching lots of TV.

And no it's not just teenagers at it, it seems that everyone is. Kim Kardashian, One Direction and Katy Perry to Michelle Obama and even the Pope. Even GTA V, another of 2013's accomplishments, features the ability for characters to take selfies. Many items of clothing such as t-shirts and beanie hats now feature words such as 'selfie' and 'swag'.

It appears that more and more weird and wonderful words are being added into our vocabulary everyday. You can't leave the house without hearing the word 'peng' or 'amazeballs'. If you had said something like that years ago, no doubt everybody would wonder what on earth you were on about. I can't often help but wonder where all of these words come from. Who decides what they mean and what context they are to be used in?

So is this where the future of the English language is heading? With more and more bizarre words such as 'selfie' 'twerk' and 'schmeat' (a form of meat synthetically produced from biological tissue, for those who were wondering) being added into everyday language.

Goodness knows what words the future may hold.

Comments (2)

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5:18pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Woodgnome says...

Are selfies crass celeb style narcism or just a bit of fun? Discuss
Are selfies crass celeb style narcism or just a bit of fun? Discuss Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

10:31am Mon 27 Jan 14

Javez says...

I see no issue with selfie, or for that matter, any of the other words listed above. Yes, the language is changing, but it's been doing that since humankind learnt to speak.

How many people today could pick up a Shakespeare play, and understand the entirety of it without reference materials? How many could read Angl-Saxon English from a few centuries before that? Even Dickens and Austen contain references which today might baffle the majority of users. Evoloution of the Language proves that the language is still alive, unlike (for example) Latin.
I see no issue with selfie, or for that matter, any of the other words listed above. Yes, the language is changing, but it's been doing that since humankind learnt to speak. How many people today could pick up a Shakespeare play, and understand the entirety of it without reference materials? How many could read Angl-Saxon English from a few centuries before that? Even Dickens and Austen contain references which today might baffle the majority of users. Evoloution of the Language proves that the language is still alive, unlike (for example) Latin. Javez
  • Score: 0

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