Argentina Toasts to Spanish’s ‘Good Health’

Friends celebrating new years eve

At the end of March, the VIII International Congress of the Spanish Language (VIII Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española) was held in Córdoba, Argentina, during which many aspects of the Spanish language were analyzed, including its current boom and what its future may look like.  

A total of 250 speakers from 32 countries (21 of them Spanish-speaking)debated in plenary sessions, papers, and panels a wide range of topics, including unity and diversity of Spanish, the role of academies, inclusive language, linguistic mixing, pre-Columbian languages ​​of America, translation, literature, history, education, political correctness, exile, journalism, Judeo-Spanish, and economic value of the language. 

Also up for debate were digital society, artificial intelligence, science in Spanish, innovation, and entrepreneurship—all 21st-century topics that raise more questions than answers.

The president of the Academia Argentina de Letras highlighted the “enviable health” of Spanish, about which “no dangers are looming.” For José Luis Moure, respect for the varieties of Spanish has been achieved thanks to panhispanismo.

The academic director of the Cervantes Institute, Richard Bueno, explained the long journey that led to the choice of the motto “America and the future of Spanish: Culture and Education, Technology and Entrepreneurship” and took stock of the topics discussed, which were structured around five thematic axes.

The secretary general of the ASALE (Association of Academies of the Spanish Language) argued that the organization, not widely recognized, defends the polycentrism of Spanish and a panhispanismo “that leaves behind the old hegemonies and methods of domination through the language.” For Francisco Javier Pérez, the language is and must be “multinational.”

Before the closing ceremony, the last special plenary session was presented by Luis García Montero, director of the Cervantes Institute, and featured María Teresa Andruetto, the acclaimed Cordovan writer, who came out strongly against what she called the “argument for uniformity” of language. “Monolanguage invites predators,” she said. “We are cultural mestizos.”

In a soft voice, Andruetto read a long speech in which she argued for diversity and dissent, resistance to those who seek “idiomatic purism,” and opposition to the use of a neutral Latin American Spanish in film dubbing and book translations.

García Montero responded that the new Spanish grammar and other rules (spelling and so on) were the result of an agreement between the national academies and not an imposition by the Real Academia Española. He claimed that the Cervantes Institute does not impose the Spanish of Spain and that its SIELE exam is managed by the Institute and three universities, two of them American (Buenos Aires and UNAM from Mexico).

He concluded that Spanish belongs to everyone and that the time is long past when Spain (where only 9% of Spanish speakers live) decided how to speak it correctly.

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