To “terja”: time to introduce a new verb into English from the Swedish?

One result of the revelations of the fraudulent manipulation of images by Terje Hellesö – a former award winning photographer (with the award now retracted) by the on-line community on the Swedish Flashback forum has been the introduction of a whole new vocabulary in Swedish with variations of his first name to describe stolen and manipulated images.

A comment on my earlier post led me to look at

  1. English words which were of Swedish and Scandinavian origin, and
  2. English words dealing with manipulation of images.
The Viking legacy has left many place names which are Scandinavian in whole or in part. In modern times many English words have been assimilated into all the Scandinavian languages. I have the impression that there may be more words of Scandinavian origin perhaps in the Celtic languages. But I was a little surprised that the list of English words emanating from Swedish or the old Scandinavian languages was not very long.

List of English words of Swedish origin

List of English words of Scandinavian origin 

Coming then to the manipulation of images there are a number of words in English which refer to some specific type of image manipulation. Manipulation has been evident from the onset of photography. Initially these referred to multiple-exposures or various dark-room techniques such as retouching , splicing negatives, scratching or air-brushing. The advent of computers and digital technology has led to “photoshopping” now becoming an accepted word (v. to photoshop which is an example of a noun becoming a verb). Digital manipulation may include resizing, shadowing, duplicating, cropping, re-scaling, retouching, emphasising, enhancing, splicing, color balancing, painting or “editing” all or part of the images being manipulated.

But there does not seem to be a word which particularly describes the act of stealing an image and then manipulating and combining it with other images. It seems therefore that there is space in English for a new word to describe the specific type of manipulation that Hellesö has carried out. My perception is that this form of manipulation may be quite wide-spread. It is also probably high time that Swedish contributed a new word to come into English usage. From the proposed verb “terja” I have chosen to go to “terjading” in preference to “terjaing” as being less difficult to pronounce.

ter.ja (tair – yah)

verb – to terja

the manipulation of a digital image by stealing images available on the internet and creating a montage of  stolen and or manipulated images together with other images and the representation of such images as one’s own original work without attribution to the original image creator.

Related forms – terjad ¦ terjas ¦ terjading

Adjective – terjad

Origin(2011) after Terje Hellesö and his theft and manipulation of  wild-life images disclosed on an internet forum

Examples :

I terjad yesterday, I terja today , he terjas always, he will terja tomorrow.

To terja an image is as reprehensible as to plagiarise.

Terje terjad his images probably starting from when he acquired his first digital camera. 

While image manipulation may well be permissible, terjading is always unethical. The penalties for terjading  however are not enshrined in law except – incidentally – for any theft or intentional fraud that can be proven.

His terjad photographs won him an award.

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One Response to “To “terja”: time to introduce a new verb into English from the Swedish?”

  1. Språkrådets nyordslista: terja « TERJADE FOTON – FRÅN HELLESÖ TILL KUNGEN Says:

    […] Flashbackgrävarna avslöjar alltså inte endast bildfusk utan skapar också nya ord! Begreppets definition har vuxit fram, här är en av de tidiga definitionerna ”att digitalt manipulera en bild i oärligt syfte” (Cohiba, 2011-09-08), som för övrigt liknar Svenska Språkrådets definition. Under snart fyra månader har ordet använts vid cirka 170 tillfällen av Flashbackanvändare men också av Sveriges Television (Kulturnyheterna, 2011-12-20), i bloggosfären mm. Exempel: Terja i Luxikon, Det är lätt att ”Terja” bilder i Photoshop! (Bollnäs fotoklubb), To “terja”: time to introduce a new verb into English from the Swedish? […]

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