¿Cómo se dice “selfie” en español?
After an extensive web search and visits to his professors during their office hours, Columbia University student Mike Murphy came to the conclusion that there was no way to say the trending term in Spanish.
The "autorretrato" (self-portait) recommended by the prestigious Diccionario del Español Urgente simply will not fly.
Most technological terms over the past few decades have been coined in the United States and made their way unchanged into other parts of the globe. In the Hispanic world, the term “wi-fi” – pronounced “wee-fee” – is used the same as in the U.S. while “Internet” is used interchangeably with the Spanish “la red.”
Spanish terms for “selfie,” along with verbs like “to tweet” (twitear) and “to post” (postear), are still being floated around and most Spanish-language media outlets still prefer to use the English terms.
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Instead of just giving up on his hunt for the elusive Spanish word for “Selfie,” the Ivy League scholar decided he couldn’t just let the matter lay and he just invented the term.
After searching through a slew of dictionaries for variations of self-portrait, self-picture and similar terms, Murphy decided on the feminine noun, autofotito… or a “mini-self-portrait.”
“I started laughing when he said, ‘I made up the word,’ I loved that,” Juan Pablo Jiménez-Caicedo, Murphy’s Spanish professor told The New York Observer. “I encourage my students to be linguists. I call them linguists in the making.”
Murphy hopes that by creating the term “autofotito” he can give the Latino community its own term and help curb the incursion of English terms on the Spanish language. Also, he is working with his professor at Columbia to incorporate the new word into the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española so it can be officially used in the Spanish language.
“I think that it would be cool for a non-Hispanic Spanish student to have created a word,” Murphy said. “It shows my respect for the language, and my dedication to learning it, and my effort to contribute something to it.”