Phubbing
    2013-09-09 11:16:26     CRIENGLISH.com       Web Editor: Liu Yan


 


Welcome to The World According to Words, a program brought to you by China Radio International. I'm your host Liu Yan.

 

The word I'm going to introduce to you today is -- phubbing. Its definition goes like this:

 

(clip, phubbing)

 

Phubbing       noun

 

The act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your cell phone instead of paying attention.

 

As you can probably guess, phubbing is a blend of phone and snubbing. The term was coined by a 23-year-old Melbourne resident Alex Haigh. Apparently, he got fed up with how people are always checking Facebook or Twitter on their phones when they are supposed to be interacting with someone face to face. He wanted to put an end to this social phenomenon, therefore he came up with this catchy term.

 

And catch on it did. The word's earliest media citation dates back to June 2012, and in a little over a year's time, phubbing has already been picked up by almost all the mainstream media outlets one can think of.

 

Here is a typical example from the British newspaper The Independent. In the article titled The rise of phubbing -- aka phone snubbing, which was published on August 5, 2013, Tom Chatfield writes,

 

(clip, Tom Chatfield)

 

There's an uncomfortable truth at the heart of phubbing: other people are easier to handle when encountered on screen. They're less likely to demand unreasonable exertions such as undivided attention or clean shirts.

 

While the term phubbing has undoubtedly taken off, some people question why it is called phubbing instead of phnubbing. Alex Haigh has not personally addressed the issue, but word has it that phubbing sounds more crispy and thus easier to remember.

 

And if you ask me, phubbing is also a lot more fun and just begs for wordplay because of its similarity to the notorious F-word. Imagine saying this. Phub off, you phubber. It's phubbing annoying. Doesn't that just roll off the tongue?

 

Joking aside, phubbing is indeed a universal problem that can no longer be ignored. So why do people keep phubbing each other if they know it's rude? Is there anything we can do to stop it? Or maybe we should just be more tolerant, because sometimes there are legit reasons to phub? Two guests are joining me today in the studio for a bit more discussion, Ding Lulu and Mark Griffiths.

 

 

(Studio Discussion) *Note: The discussion part of the show has always been spontaneous, therefore no script is available. Thanks for your understanding.

 

 

Thank you very much, guys. But I have to respectfully disagree. I think there is plenty we can do to try and stop phubbing in its tracks.

 

For starters, we can join Alex Haigh in his Stop Phubbing campaign. Remind our friends and family that phubbing is not appreciated. If necessary, stage a phubbing intervention. We can also make or download some anti-phubbing posters to spread the word in public places. And don't forget that some phubbers simply do not realize the devastating effect their behavior has on others, so be brave enough to confront them, even if you are a total stranger.

 

And with that, we conclude this edition of The World According to Words. Any comments or suggestions are welcome. You can reach me on Weibo. Just go to weibo.com/criliuyan and leave me a message. You can also get in touch by email. The address is words at cri dot com dot cn. I'm your host and program producer Liu Yan. Until next time, good-bye.

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