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How Do You Say “Selfie” In Spanish?


How do you say the word “selfie” in Spanish? It’s a question that has no doubt kept you up at night. It definitely affected the sleep patterns of a young Columbia Spanish scholar named Mike Murphy. He realized that there is as yet no proper term for taking an annoying duck-faced picture of yourself with a smartphone. One could simply say the Egnlish word “selfie” with a Spanish accent, or “selfings” as my mom would say. But that’s not really Spanish. It’s not even Spanglish, it’s just saying the word wrong. Murphy considered autoretrato, which means “self portrait”. But, come on, you aren’t Diego Velasquez and that pic you took of yourself in front of Burger King isn’t Las Meninas, so it’s definitely not a self-portrait. So, Murphy came up with the diminutive and cute autofotito. It has a nice ring to it and is based on a Spanish word. Murphy and his Columbia Spanish professor are trying to get La Real Academia de España to recognize the word. Good luck.

The Spanish language is an interesting beast. It is one of the most flexible and adaptive languages around…though not officially. The stuffy old Spanish dudes at la Real Academia keep a pretty tight lock on what constitutes “official Spanish”. The last couple of decades have been a nightmare for them. First there was the word “Internet”, which they insist should be called “la red”. But what about newer bastardizations like “tweetiar”, “postiar”, and “Googliando”? The truth is that Spanish has always adapted to the needs of its speakers. In Mexico, Native-American and Nahuatl words mixed with the mother tongue the same way the language blended with African dialects in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Here in the United States, and more importantly in our digital age, there is no time to wait for La Real Academia to make up its slow ass mind. So, what do you think they should name the selfie?

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