Who’s not happy with “selfie” as Word of the Year?

What do you think of the Oxford English Dictionary’s choice of “selfie” as Word of the Year for 2013?

I’m not mad about the word itself, although that’s probably an age/generational thing. In my young day (indeed, in most people’s young day) the technology for selfies wasn’t available: you took a photo of yourself, alone or with our friends, in a photo booth. And that was that. You couldn’t post the photo online or publicise it.

TARDIS onesieWe should be grateful, I suppose, for small mercies: they could have chosen “onesie”. Or, even worse, “selfie-in-a-onesie”.

Here’s my choice of word of the year, in honour of 50 years of Dr. Who: TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), used as a term to describe a building that looks small on the outside but is, or looks, much bigger once you’re inside. Again, this might be a generational thing: I was a big Dr Who fan during the 1960s (and  had nightmares about the Daleks). So now it comes naturally to me to use TARDIS in that way.

Maggie's Centre, Western Infirmary, Glasgow

One TARDIS-like building that comes to mind is the Maggie’s Centre at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary, by Page/Park architects. Quite an amazing building, I think.

What do you think of the OED’s choice of “selfie”? What would you have chosen?

PS: If you really want to know, the TARDIS onesie is available from RED5.

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By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. One of the terms that has really struck me this year is “3D printer”. Since January 2013 I’ve gone from not knowing what it was, to learning about all the wonderful things it can print, to finding out it can create some terrible objects (fake arms for example). Hopefully in the long run good uses will outweigh the bad.

    1. I still find radio, telephones and TV mind-boggling so yes, 3D printers are pretty amazing. And yes, let’s hope the good uses will outweigh the bad – I was so shocked (but shouldn’t really have been) when I saw someone on TV demonstrating how to make a gun with one.

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