When the news first leaked out earlier this week that Oxford Dictionaries would be selecting selfie as its Word of the Year, my first thought was that it was a reasonably safe pick, and unlikely to generate the firestorm of publicity that we saw during Twerkageddon. [...]
But beyond the usual hand-wringing over the fate of the language (and society in general), what made the selfie news especially juicy was Oxford's identification of the earliest known example of the word, in a 2002 science forum post on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. [...]
It makes sense, of course, that selfie would find early popularity in Australia, where the –ie suffix has long been a source for the formation of slangy nicknames known as hypocoristics (think barbie for barbecue, mozzie for mosquito, and Aussie for Australian). But that doesn’t mean our man Hopey singlehandedly came up with the term after a drunken night out with his Aussie pals.