The RAE presents its 'Book of style', designed for "digital writers" | Culture

The RAE presents its 'Book of style', designed for "digital writers" | Culture

Are we going to start writing "guasap" instead of "whatsapp", which is the original name? Will we opt for an intermediate option, such as wasap? New technologies "are changing the world and writing", he assured Víctor García de la Concha, honorary director of the Royal Spanish Academy, "what raises doubts and opens different probabilities" when it comes to deciding what words to use to communicate. Therefore, the RAE has presented this Monday its Book of style of the Spanish language, title with the tagline DE "according to the pan-Hispanic standard", because it is agreed among the 23 institutions that form the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language (Asale). Its secretary general, the Venezuelan Francisco Javier Pérez, stressed that "no country is the owner of this language" and that it is a work that "poses uses, does not impose or pontificate, but recommends and alerts inaccuracies, but without doing so dogmatically".

This volume, of 504 pages, flexible cover, a manageable format (15 by 23 centimeters), an initial print run of 10,000 copies and an affordable price (24.90 euros) is "designed for digital writers," Garcia stressed. Concha, coordinator of the work. However, for now, the book does not have a version on the Web, "although it will be," said Ana Rosa Semprún, director of Espasa, the publisher who, as in previous works of the RAE, has taken over the publication. Nor is there an agreement for it to be distributed in schools, universities or the Administration. "We will talk with the autonomous communities," said Garcia de la Concha.

In any case, whether you are a digital native or not, "there is a colloquial level of communication, networks, guasap or emails", which have its rules and one more academic and professional. For example, "in WhatsApp it is considered exceptionally admissible, although it is not recommended, to dispense with the opening signs, provided it is clear where the interrogation or exclamation begins". Or the abbreviations, like tqm (love you very much). "Many are of general knowledge and their use does not represent a problem", but they should not be extended "in any case to more formal registers". It is also "advisable" to put an asterisk next to a misspelled word, to rectify: "Shall we eat?" * Let's go. "And if you're very hungry and have written Let's go !!!, know that punctuation marks can be repeated to give more expressiveness, but it is suggested that they be the same at the beginning and at the end and that they do not exceed There are also mentions of emoticons, memes, and hyperlinks. "The combination of text and image on screens is changing the rules."

As can be seen, it is a Book of style "It has little to do" with those of identical title have published media, such as EL PAÍS. "They are works of internal use, to achieve a personality, set ethical principles and drafting standards," added Garcia de la Concha. While in this case it is about resolving "the doubts about the continuous changes of a language as lively as Spanish", which speaks about 570 million people in the world. The one who was director of the RAE between 1998 and 2010 pointed out that the Internet edition of the Dictionary of this institution "receives about 65 million monthly inquiries".

The idea of ​​this manual comes from far. He was born with this century. In 2001, at the II International Congress of the Spanish Language, in Salamanca, the idea was launched by the academic Francisco Rico. "But before it had to close large codes such as grammar, which took 11 years, the Panhispanic doubts, spelling and phonetics," he recalled.

Entering more content, it is not coincidental that the first chapter, Grammatical issues, open with the subject of grammar genres. "The masculine, because it is unmarked, can include the feminine in certain contexts, there is no reason to think that the masculine gender excludes women in such situations," the book begins, in a stage of feminist demands on the uses of language. García de la Concha recalled the influence of US universities in referring as gender (gender) to what in Spanish we call "sex", which "is an organic condition that has little to do with gender". "It's a very lively matter."

In line with this, Villanueva was asked about the report that the RAE has pending on whether to change the text of the Constitution to reflect greater equality between men and women. It was commissioned in July by the Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo. The four academics (two men and two women) appointed have prepared their presentation, which will be read by a committee delegated on Thursday. After, the report has to see the plenary session of the RAE (which meets on Thursdays) to debate and approve it. Villanueva has already stated that "the problem is confusing grammar with machismo". And this Monday he added that "there will be no great news". It is very possible that the hot potato falls to his successor, as Villanueva leaves office on December 13, the day that the academics meet to elect a new director.

So, maybe the last legacy of Villanueva is this Book of style, which includes as a novelty a section on orthotypography, "the uses by which the writing of typographical signs is governed, the non-manual one." Do literal quotations have to be in italics ... in a separate paragraph? example García de la Concha, who had his taunt, who do not puya, for the media to mention the section of the book Pronunciation and elocution. "In many presenters on television there is a lack of order in the intonation, the sentences start and separate subjects from predicates, nouns from their adjectives.

At the end, there is a glossary, of 150 pages, with recommendations like "yutubero", better than "youtuber"; or that if a friend tells you that he has purchased a flight for Funafati, he will go to Tuvalu, in Oceania, and several tables and lists, to know that Rf is the abbreviation for the chemical element rutherfordio.

"There is no division in the Academy to choose a director"

The presentation of Book of style of the Spanish language served to put on the table the impending vote in the RAE, on December 13, to elect the successor of Darío Villanueva in the direction. Garcia de la Concha, former director, denied that there is "division in the Academy" on this matter. "It does not correspond to reality at all." The statutes of the RAE allow any academic can be elected, with the obligation to accept the position, except if the designated is over 78 years.


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