Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Just discovered a new Russian word for 'selfie' — sebyashka (себяшка).

It comes from the word себя — self. To take a photo of yourself — сделать фото себя, сфотографировать себя, снять себя. Себя also contracts to ся in the endings of reflexive verbs and participles.

Add diminutive suffix -shk- (-шк-) and feminine ending -a and you get a sebyashka. The coinage has a good chance of staying on as it comes out naturally and rings similarly to many other common words, eg. rubashka — shirt. It certainly will compete with the English borrowing селфи (selfie) and all but conquered another home-grown word for a selfie, samostrel (самострел — self-shoot).

Friends on Facebook say that it has been around for a few years, others agreed it's the first time they see. One mother said she'd heard it first from her children, and a language professor said that she had already had students analyze the word.

I made a contribution to further the sebyashka by suggesting a verbal form: себятить (imperfect aspect) and отсебятить (perfect aspect). The professor friend promised she'd give my new verb proper credit (to myself) when introducing her students to it.

Here is how I otsebyatil sebya (otsebyatilsya) — made a sebyashka selfie of myself.

Read also 'Selfie in Russian'

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