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Named: Spanish word of the year for 2014

George Mills · 30 Dec 2014, 13:30

Published: 30 Dec 2014 13:30 GMT+01:00

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'Selfi' has been named the Spanish word of the year by the Fundéu BBVA, a a non-profit group that promotes the proper use of the Spanish language by the country's media. 

The foundation chose the noun from a list of possible contenders which included the neologisms 'dron' (drone), 'postureo' (posturing) and 'nomofobia', or the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. 

"We aren't looking for the most beautiful word, or even the most original or novel," Fundéu BBVA director Joaquín Muller said of the choice of 'selfi' for 2014.

"What we want with our word of the year — apart from being current and therefore used frequently in the media — is that (the word) has a certain linguistic interest, whether it's because of its formation of because of the way it has been become part of everyday language," Muller said. 

The ubiquitous "selfie", widely considered to have been coined by a drunken Australian in 2002, was named the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year in 2013 after usage exploded by 17,000 percent in 12 months.

That is likely to surge again after the recent craze for mass-produced selfie sticks, designed to make taking the photographs easier.

Making its decision, the Fundéu BBVA noted there are actually two Spanish equivalents for selfie in the form of 'autofoto' and 'autoretrato', and that both were acceptable ways to avoid resorting to an Anglicism.

But the foundation's director said "the evidence of the overwhelming use" of 'selfi' meant their previous advice to stick to the term 'autofoto' could be adapted to reflect the popularity of the term. 

Story continues below…

Spain is full of examples where two words are used for the same thing, with 'fútbol' and 'balompíe' both being used for the football.

The Fundéu BBVA originally came up with a short list of 12 words before making its final selection for 2014. Other words on the list included 'apli', an alternative to app, and 'árbitra', the female form of the noun 'arbitro', meaning referee.

Also on the list was 'amigovio', a blend of the words 'amigo' (friend) and novio (fiancé), used to refer to a serious long-term partner to whom one is not actually officially engaged.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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