[Chinese] Selfies - 'Chak!'


Chak - Selfie character

Apparently there’s a new Chinese character for ‘selfie’ floating about, though I’m unsure if this is true as I can’t find any mention of it on the internet. This could possibly be a result of it not being supported by any current character sets (the above I hacked together from two different characters), or it is simply still too new to have propagated through the internet yet.

The character above demonstrates using one’s hand to take a picture, as you can imagine. I’m not sure where the other half of the character comes from, but I hypothesise it could have something to do with 「相」 which is slang-y for ‘a photograph’, as it can also be written 「相片」 in full.

This new character is pronounced ‘chak’ - the sound that your phone will usually make when you take a picture if you have that sound effect enabled. Which in itself sounds like the shutter on ‘proper’ camera.

Interestingly, the hanzi that seem to be in general and accepted use for ‘selfie’ at the moment is 「自拍」 or 「自拍照」 which basically translates to taking a picture of/capturing yourself - encompassing the reality of what taking a selfie is about.

Just like the word ‘selfie’ though, which I first heard of as ‘selcas’ from Korean culture, if this new character exists it seems we have simply created another slang word that could potentially worm into general use. There’s no better reminder than this that all languages are ever evolving.