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RAE director emphasizes "gigantic" richness of Spanish in Americas

RAE director emphasizes "gigantic" richness of Spanish in Americas

Posted by Juan Gavasa on November 05, 2014

The Spanish language has a past, present and future and a "gigantic" richness in the Americas, a portion of which is collected in the 300th anniversary edition of the "Dictionary of the Spanish Language," the director of the Royal Spanish Academy, or RAE, Jose Manuel Blecua, who is in Colombia to present the work, told Efe.

The 300th edition of the dictionary, published by Espasa, with Grupo Planeta, and presented in Madrid on Oct. 17, gathers among its 93,111 entries a total of some 19,000 Americanisms, something that has been a "basic" task for the Association of Spanish Language Academies, or Asale, Blecua said.

He cited as an example of the lexicographical richness the entries concerning the mechanical world in the Americas, with words such as "cloche," which in Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico means an automobile's clutch.

"The wealth that there is in the Americas just dealing with the automobile is enormous, it's gigantic, and therefore all this has to be in the dictionary," said the RAE chief, who sees in the dictionary's wide offerings and colloquialisms from the Western Hemisphere the language's noteworthy diversity and dynamism.

In the case of Americanisms, he said, the new work expands upon the 2010 "Dictionary of Americanisms," which had 73,000 terms and took into account which of them were in use in at least three countries.

Blecua said he is convinced that the past, present and future of Spanish are in the Americas, given that Spain represents just 9 percent of the world's Spanish-speakers, a population that is calculation to total 500 million.

Regarding the criticism that the dictionary has received for including entries that are quite offensive to some communities such as Gypsies, who have complained because they are listed as a synonym of "trapacero" (cheat, swindler), Blecua said that the work is not about ethnic groups "but rather is about the use of the language."

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