For the second year straight, the Fundación del Español Urgente (“Foundation of Urgent Spanish” – Fundéu BBVA) chose its Word of the Year, which, as indicated by the Foundation, represents the word that had the greatest penetration in the media and in common language. In 2014 the word chosen was… “selfi”! It is the Spanish adaptation of the English word selfie, which had already been chosen as the English word of the year in 2013 by the Oxford English Dictionary. Defined as a photo a person takes of oneself, usually with a mobile device, to later share it via a social network, a selfie is a phenomenon that came about with the advent of smartphones, but which only this past year became so popular as to have a song and a TV series with its name.
The word “selfi,” according to Fundéu BBVA, does not replace the Spanish words “autofoto” and “autorretrato” (“self-photo” and “self-portrait”), which are more correct and remain the preferred options so as not to abuse the English version. The correct plural form in Spanish is “selfis,” and its gender is ambiguous: it can be referred to as “el selfi” or “la selfi.” “The evidence of the overwhelming use of the Anglicism selfie led us to think that, without renouncing our previous suggestion to use the word “autofoto,” it would be good to propose an adaptation, which furthermore in this case presented no problems in terms of pronunciation nor regarding its graphic representation,” said Joaquín Muller, director of the Foundation.
A few days prior, the Foundation had announced another nine candidates for Word of the Year, including “dron” (adaptation of the English word drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle), “ébola,” “amigovio” (a term used in certain Latin American countries to characterize a relationship with a lower level of commitment than being boyfriend and girlfriend), “ucraniano” (“Ukrainian”), “superluna” (“supermoon”), “nomofobia” (the irrational fear of not having a cell phone at hand), “postureo” (“posturing”), “arbitra” (correct feminine form of “arbitro,” a referee), “impago” (preferred to be used rather than the English default), “abdicar” (“abdicate”) and “apli” (to replace the English term app).
And to our readership we ask: Which should have been the word of 2014 and why?