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Community Project: Searching for New Photographic Loan Words

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This post is part of a series called Community Projects.

A big part of learning anything is making sense of all the language. Every specialty has it's own jargon: a special vocabulary that means a lot to people who are in the know but doesn't mean anything to people who aren't experienced.

We love words here at the Tuts+ Photo & Video section. We spend a lot of time thinking about just the right photography words for each tutorial. Photography has all kinds of wonderful words! Aperture, strobe, zoom, and flash: we have lots of colourful language to use.

Some of the best photography words are loan words. These are words that have been borrowed - adopted from other languages - by English speakers. Some great ones are studium and punctumscheimpflug, and, of course, bokeh.

But are these words still enough?

As photography grows, the photographic community grows too. As interest and access to photography has spread our community has expanded to include more people speaking more languages than ever before. Photography is growing technologically, too, maturing and developing new forms of visual language. Maybe it's time for English to borrow some new words!

Focus macro photograph in dictionary
photo by Chris Dlugosz

The Search for New Photo Words

In this community project we are looking for new words for photography. They can be in any language, about any aspect of photography. The only criteria is that they talk about photography or photographs in a way that English does not adequately express.

Non-standard English usage and slang words are also fair game. If you'd describe a photo as "dope," for example, and can make a case for dope as a unique and valuable way to talk about photography, and can define that value, let's hear it. There's more than one kind of English spoken in this world and we'd like to celebrate that.

Dictionary of the English Language
photo by liz west

How to Play

The search is open to anyone! If you have a word and think it's great, please share. Leave a comment below to make the case for your word. If you have a photo to contribute, that's even better. You can also share your word on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet. Easy, right?

If you don't have a word but you have noticed a photographic phenomenon and think it needs definition, that's helpful too. Describe the photographic situation or activity in the comments and we'll try and find a word.

For chosen reader submissions we'll interview the person who made the suggestion and write up the word with an article here in the Photo & Video section.

Happy word hunting!

The Words

Here are our words so far!

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