Language is arbitrary in nature. It changes depending on a variety of factors. It’s so common nowadays that we get to encounter peculiar words that we never have heard of nor used in the past. As it turns out, words just come out of nowhere. For as long as a word achieves global fame known with a unanimous definition, expect that it’s going to become a legitimate word in the dictionary in no time.
And yes, this digital age has become a catalyst to this trend. In text messaging for example, instead of taxing yourself in typing “talk to you later,” you can just say TTYL, and the person on the other line will definitely get what you’re talking about. And not to mention neologisms; they are like mushrooms sprouting out of every nook and cranny of all corners of the world. Surprisingly, their meaning can get to people of every race and creed faster than a speeding bullet. Well, with the internet used in a widespread extent, this should never be a surprise.
And as we talk about new words and whatnot, may I introduce to you Oxford’s word of the year for 2013. And the winner goes to ...Selfie! *claps* The credit goes to all the narcissistic duck-faces who incessantly raise their app-enhanced camera phone up in the air to snap a picture of their faces and nothing else. Just scan your favorite social media site like Instagram, and you’ll see what I’m talking about—the many faces of a single person. I bet you’re guilty on being one of them; well, we all are.
The selfie movement was immortalized in the blog of Oxford Dictionaries. The verdict, according to the blog, was unanimous. The word selfie was a part of Oxford’s “Words on the Radar” feature in 2012, and just earlier this year, it has been officially added to the extensive roster of words in the English language. The word of the year is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Although its usage has been made popular by smartphone addicts across the globe, Oxford notes that the term can be traced back to an Australian message board post in 2002, where a writer said, “And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”
According to Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, “Social media sites helped to popularize the term, with the hashtag selfie appearing on the photo-sharing website Flickr as early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when selfie was being commonly in mainstream media sources.” In fact, the usage of the word has increased a whopping 17,000 percent over the past 12 months, said Oxford Dictionaries. So, if you want your gibberish to be officially legit, then now is the time to spread the word. Best of luck to you!